5 Poems by Robert Herrick



To the Virgins: to Make Much of Time

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old time is still a-flying; And the 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 for ever tarry.
A sweet disorder in the dress Kindles in clothes a wantonness: A lawn about the shoulders thrown Into a fine distraction; An erring lace, which here and there Enthrals the crimson stomacher; A cuff neglectful, and thereby Ribbons to flow confusedly; A winning wave, deserving note, In the tempestuous petticoat; A careless shoe-string, in whose tie I see a wild civility; Do more bewitch me than when art Is too precise in every part.

Night Piece to Julia

Her eyes the glow-worm lend thee, The shooting stars attend thee: And the elves also, Whose little eyes glow, Like the sparks of fire, befriend thee. No Will-o'-the-wisp mislight thee, No, snake or slow-worm bite thee; But on, on thy way, Not making a stay, Since ghost there's none to affright thee. Let not the dark thee cumber; What though the moon does slumber? The stars of the night Will lend thee their light, Like tapers clear, without number. Then, Julia, let me woo thee, Thus, thus to come unto me; And when I shall meet Thy silv'ry feet, My soul I'll poure into thee.

Upon Julia's Clothes

Whenas in silks my Julia goes, Then, then, methinks, how sweetly flows That liquefaction of her clothes. Next, when I cast mine eyes, and see That brave vibration each way free, Oh, how that glittering taketh me!

His Winding Sheet

Come thou, who art the wine and wit Of all I've writ: The grace, the glory, and the best Piece of the rest. Thou art of what I did intend The all and end; And what was made, was made to meet Thee, thee, my sheet. Come then and be to my chaste side Both bed and bride: We two, as reliques left, will have One rest, one grave: And hugging close, we will not fear Lust entering here: Where all desires are dead and cold As is the mould; And all affections are forgot, Or trouble not. Here, here, the slaves and prisoners be From shackles free: And weeping widows long oppress'd Do here find rest. The wronged client ends his laws Here, and his cause. Here those long suits of Chancery lie Quiet, or die: And all Star-Chamber bills do cease Or hold their peace. Here needs no Court for our Request Where all are best, All wise, all equal, and all just Alike i' th' dust. Nor need we here to fear the frown Of court or crown: Where fortune bears no sway o'er things, There all are kings. In this securer place we'll keep As lull'd asleep; Or for a little time we'll lie As robes laid by; To be another day re-wom, Turn'd, but not torn: Or like old testaments engross'd, Lock'd up, not lost. And for a while lie here conceal'd, To be reveal'd Next at the great Platonick year, And then meet here.
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