Robert Herrick biography :
17th Century English poet, Robert Herrick was born
in August 1591. His father Nicholas, was a prosperous goldsmith from
London, and his mother was called Julian Stone. He was their seventh
child and fourth son.
When he was 16, Herrick worked as an apprentice to his uncle, Sir
William Herrick, a goldsmith and jeweler to the King. After six years,
Herrick ended the apprenticeship and entered Saint John’s College in
Cambridge where he graduated in 1617.
He became familiar with the works of Ben Jonson and was a member of a
group called “Sons of Ben”, a group of Cavalier poets who admired the
works of the said bard. Herrick composed five poems all dedicated to
By 1627, Herrick took holy orders and was made chaplain to the duke of
Buckingham. Two years later, he became the vicar of the Dean Prior
Parish at Devon. He held this position for thirty-one years, and it
was during this time that he composed some of his best known
masterpieces, such as Hesperides, a compilation of lyric poetry, and
Noble Numbers, a collection of more than 1200 short poems and
spiritual works. These were published in 1648.
When he refused to pledge to the Solemn League and Covenant, his
position as vicar was revoked and he moved to London. His vicarship,
however, was returned during the Restoration of Charles II. In 1662,
he went back to Devon, and remained there for the rest of his days.
Robert Herrick died on October 1674.
Herrick’s writing style was influenced by classical Roman poetry and
often focused on English country life and village customs. Although he
is well-known for bawdy poems with much reference to lovemaking and
the female body, Robert Herrick died a bachelor.
His famous poem, which reminds women of how fleeting beauty is, is
entitled “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time”.