Biography (Critical Survey of Poetry: British, Irish, & Commonwealth Poets)
What is actually known and documented of Robert Herrick’s life forms a rather skeletal outline and can be readily summarized. Christened in London on August 24, 1591, Herrick appears to have been the seventh child of Nicholas and Julian Herrick. Nicholas, a goldsmith, fell to his death from an upper story of his house on Goldsmith’s Row on November 9, 1592, just two days after he had recorded his will. Obvious questions were raised concerning the possibility that Herrick’s father had committed suicide, and they appear never to have been resolved. The nature of Herrick’s boyhood education is not known, but in 1607, he was apprenticed for ten years to his uncle, Sir William Herrick, a wealthy goldsmith and merchant. The venture, however, was aborted, when, in 1613, at the relatively old age of twenty-two, Herrick was enrolled with his uncle’s consent in St. John’s College, Cambridge. It was during his years at Cambridge that Herrick wrote a series of letters to his uncle, all of which are variations on the timeless theme rehearsed by innumerable students: Send more money. Herrick received his A.B. degree in 1617, his A.M. in 1620, and in 1623, he was ordained an Anglican priest, serving in 1625 as chaplain in the duke of Buckingham’s abortive military expedition to the Isle of Rhe. In 1630, Herrick left London and its cultural life to assume the vicarage of Dean Prior in rustic Devon, a position he held until 1647, when, because of his loyalties to the...
(The entire section is 991 words.)
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Biography (Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition)
Robert Herrick, a poet who found his poetic inspiration in the pagan poets, especially Anacreon, Horace, Catullus, and Martial and who was in his youth associated with Ben Jonson and his witty followers, would hardly seem to have been suited for a career in the Church and even less so for a rural parish. Indeed, Herrick was deeply dissatisfied with his ignorant country congregation and regarded his Devonshire residence as a punishment. He found some consolation, nevertheless, in the pagan qualities of the local songs and dances, and he loved his pet menagerie, particularly the pig he taught to drink.
Herrick was born in London in 1591, about the time William Shakespeare began to write for the stage, and he died in the same year as John Milton. Herrick’s father, a prosperous goldsmith, died when Herrick was an infant, but he was aided by a rich uncle, Sir William Herrick, who was jeweler to the king. He was apprenticed to his uncle, but his academic talents made it advisable to send him to St. John’s, Cambridge, at the age of twenty-two. He took his bachelor’s degree in 1617 and his master’s degree in 1620. Little is known of the next nine years of his life, but he probably spent them in London.
In 1629 Herrick became vicar at Dean Prior, Devonshire, where, despite feeling exiled, he began to write poetry that exalted the charms of rusticity. He stayed in this rural setting until 1647, when he was removed from his position because he...
(The entire section is 405 words.)
Herrick was born in the Cheapside district of London in August of 1591. He was the seventh child and fourth son of Julia Stone Herrick and Nicholas Herrick, a goldsmith who died when his son was only a year old. In 1607, Herrick became an apprentice to his uncle, also a goldsmith. He entered Cambridge University in 1613, graduating in 1620 with a master of arts degree. Herrick was ordained a minister in 1623 and four years later served as a chaplain in the Duke of Buckingham’s Isle of Rhe expedition, a failed attempt to come to the aid of Protestants in predominantly Catholic France. It is believed he spent much of his time during the next several years among the social and literary circles of London, earning a reputation as a fashionable poet. He became known as one of the Sons of Ben, a group of poets greatly influenced by the work of Ben Jonson. In 1629 King Charles I appointed Herrick the vicar of Dean Prior in Devonshire. During the English Civil War, Herrick was a supporter of the monarchy, and in 1647 the Puritans, who had come to power, expelled him from his vicarage. He returned to London in 1660, the year the monarchy was restored. At that time Charles II sent him back to Dean Prior, where he remained until his death in October of 1674.
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