Tag Archives: Robert Herrick

To Dianeme

Portrait of a Woman (La Bella). Palma il Vecchio.


To Dianeme

Robert Herrick


Sweet, be not proud of those two eyes

Which starlike sparkle in their skies;

Nor be you proud, that you can see

All hearts your captives; yours yet free:

Be you not proud of that rich hair

Which wantons with the lovesick air;

Whenas thatruby which you wear,

Sunk from the tip of your soft ear,

Will last to be a precious stone

When all your world’s of beauty gone.

Graces for Children

The Prayer Before Meal. Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin. 1740.


Graces for Children

Robert Herrick


What God gives, and what we take,

‘Tis a gift for Christ, His sake:

Be the meal of beans and peas,

God be thanked for those and these:

Have we flesh, or have we fish,

All are fragments from His dish.

He His Church save, and the king;

And our peace here, like a spring,

Make it ever flourishing.

A Ring Presented to Julia

St. Eligius as a Goldsmith Showing a Ring to the Engaged Couple. Petrus Christus. 1449.


A Ring Presented to Julia

Robert Herrick


Julia, I bring

To thee this ring,

Made for thy finger fit;

To show by this

That our love is

(Or should be) like to it.


Close though it be,

The joint is free;

So when Love’s yoke is on,

It must not gall,

Or fret at all

With hard oppression.


But it must play

Still either way,

And be, too, such a yoke

As not too wide

To overslide,

Or be so strait to choke.


So we who bear

This beam must rear

Ourselves to such a height

As that the stay

Of either may

Create the burden light.


And as this round

Is nowhere found

To flaw, or else to sever;

So let our love

As endless prove,

And pure as gold for ever.

To His Dear God

The Potato Eaters. Vincent van Gogh. 1885.


To His Dear God

Robert Herrick


I’ll hope no more

For things that will not come;

And if they do, they prove but cumbersome.

Wealth brings much woe;

And, since it fortunes so,

‘Tis better to be poor

Than so t’ abound

As to be drown’d

Or overwhelm’d with store.


Pale care, avaunt!

I’ll learn to be content

With that small stock Thy bounty gave or lent.

What may conduce

To my most healthful use,

Almighty God, me grant;

But that, or this,

That hurtful is,

Deny Thy suppliant.

His Content in the Country

Meal. Jane Steen. 1650.


His Content in the Country

Robert Herrick


Here, here I live with what my board

Can with the smallest cost afford;

Though ne’er so mean the viands be,

They well content my Prue and me:

Or pea or bean, or wort or beet,

Whatever comes, Content makes sweet.

Here we rejoice, because no rent

We pay for our poor tenement;

Wherein we rest, and never fear

The landlord or the usurer.

The quarter-day does ne’er affright

Our peaceful slumbers in the night:

We eat our own, and batten more,

Because we feed on no man’s score;

But pity those whose flanks grow great,

Swell’d with the lard of other’s meat.

We bless our fortunes, when we see

Our own beloved privacy;

And like our living, where we’re known

To very few, or else to none.


Prew was Herrick’s housemaid Prewdence Baldwin.

‘Viands’ is food. A ‘usurer’ is one who lends money at an unreasonable rate of interest. The ‘quarter-day’ was one of four days of the year regarded as the beginning of a new season or quarter; quarterly payments were due then. A ‘score’ is a running account. ‘Lard’ is ‘fat,’ specifically of pork.


The Poor Poet. Carl Spitzweg. 1837.



Robert Herrick


Wantons we are; and though our words be such,

Our lives do differ from our lines by much.


Herrick closed one volume of poetry (Hebrides) with another couplet, apologizing for his bawdier verses: “To his book’s end this line he’d have placed:/ Jocund his muse was, but his life was chaste.”

To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May. John William Waterhouse. 1909.


To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

Robert Herrick, 1648


Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,

Old time is still a-flying:

And this same flower that smiles today,

Tomorrow will be dying.


The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,

The higher he’s a-getting,

The sooner will his race be run,

And nearer he’s to setting.


That age is best which is the first,

When youth and blood are warmer;

But being spent, the worse, and worst

Times still succeed the former.


Then be not coy, but use your time,

And while ye may, go marry:

For having lost but once your prime,

You may forever tarry.