In this series, a contemporary poet selects and introduces a poet of the past. By their choice of poems and by the personal and critical reactions they express in their prefaces, the editors offer insights into their own work as well as providing an accessible and passionate introduction to some of the greatest poets of our literature.
Robert Herrick was born in London, in 1591, the seventh child of a prosperous goldsmith. He graduated from St. John’s College, Cambridge in 1617, and became a Cavalier poet in the mould of Ben Jonson, mixing in literary circles in London. He was ordained in 1623 and subsequently appointed by Charles I to the living of Dean Prior in Devon, where he lived in the reluctant seclusion of country life and wrote some of his best work. In 1647, under the Commonwealth, Herrick was expelled from the priory and returned to London, where he published his major work, Hesperides, the following year. With the restoration of Charles II in 1660 he was returned to Devon and died a bachelor in 1674.