Author Analysis: Robert Herrick

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Despite life altering events that occurred in Robert Herrick’s early life, he relied mainly on his surroundings to portray his poetry. With the use of family, friends, and experience, Herrick found simple yet effective ways to convey his philosophies through his writings. While not much may be known about Herrick, through his work it is easy to see that he followed a straightforward lifestyle.

Much like other writers and poets, one would think that the tragic events of Herrick’s life would mold the writing style he eventually adapted. However, even though Herrick’s life started out rough, the tragedies in his life did not necessarily affect his poetry. When Herrick was fourteen months old his oldest brother died (answers). At fifteen months his father devised a will splitting the estate between his family, only to “fall” to his death two days later. The family was charged a fee by the High Almoner because the death appeared to be self-inflicted (Lunimarium).

Despite Herrick’s young age, events like this tend to effect the family as a whole, but nothing concerning Herrick’s grief is reflected in his writings.

Robert Herrick did not discover his talent as a writer until later in his life. At the age of sixteen years old he left his home to become an apprentice for his uncle, eventually becoming a goldsmith like his father (geometry). Herrick did his work but failed to prevail like his ancestors, ultimately realizing that the profession was not for him. As time progressed and Herrick’s work did not, he realized that his true passion was for words and conveying his thoughts and ideas through writing (Luminarium). His enthusiasm for language was not the only thing that distracted Herrick from his work, but he later discovers that he is extremely shortsighted. Evidence of this can be found in his writing, for Herrick is known for his emphasis on the smaller, close up things such as flowers (Answers). When Herrick turned twenty one, he inherited the money from his father’s estate, and chose to leave his apprenticeship and pursue a career in writing (bookrags).

Before Herrick’s departure from his uncle, it is believed that he had very little schooling at all despite some Latin studies. But Herrick used already published poems as guidelines like the works of Horace and Ben Jonson, and didn’t let his lack of education hinder his poetry (answers). As his writings progressed, Herrick continued wrote short poems like “A Country Life”, mostly incorporating family friends and even imaginary characters. His adamant pursuit to become a writer ultimately led to his enrollment into St. John’s College at Cambridge (bookrags). Since Herrick was a twenty-two year old commoner when he started, he was six years older than most of the undergraduates and forced to pay double the fees (answers). Regardless of the roadblocks he faced, Herrick continued on his journey to become an accomplished writer.

Due to the expenses at Cambridge, Herrick decided to change schools and attend Trinity Hall. Some sources suggest that Herrick also decided to study law for a short time, or even divinity. On April 24th, 1623, Herrick was ordained a deacon and the eventually a priest in the Church of England. During this period in Herrick’s life, he was lead to write songs and carols for the court musicians (bookrags). As a priest, Herrick began to appreciate what God had given him, and he began to focus more on actual life events, both joyous and sad. As his writing matured, Herrick wrote about marriages, baptisms, and funerals as he conducted these events and started expressing Protestantism based on scripture and commonsense (answers).

Later in Herrick’s life his work was the only thing that kept him from being kicked out of the town of Devonshire. In 1642 the civil war brought Puritans into Devonshire on their quest to conquer. Thanks to Herrick’s poetry the invaders concluded that he was faithful and trustworthy so they kept him around. But after a time, his outspokenness concerning royalism led to his expulsion in 1647. After he was kicked out, Herrick made his way to London to print his first book in 1648 (answers). Robert Herrick died in 1674, and other than what is evident in his poetry, little is known concerning his later life.

Herrick’s poetry can be somewhat misleading in the fact that the he used many different roles in the first person. He has used roles ranging from women to a child, and covers practically every topic imaginable in his work (answers). Despite the various instances in which Herrick uses loving relationships and encounters with women in his work, he was never married (Luminarium). Although Herrick is sometimes looked down upon for his “naughty” works, his place in history is secure as a exclaimed poet.

Robert Herrick’s poetry was unique in its own style because it was based off of his simple lifestyle and interesting portrayal. Using his family, friends, and the events around him, Herrick created writings that continue to be read today. But overall, Herrick’s main message throughout the big picture of his poetry is that “ life is short, the world is beautiful, love is splendid, and we must use this short time we have to make the most of it (answers).” Works Cited“Aurhors: Herrick, Robert.” 1968. 24 March 2009.

“Life of Robert Herrick.” Luminarium. 1891. Alfred W. Pollard. 24 March 2009.

“Robert Herrick Biography.” Bookrags. 2006. Encyclopedia of World Biography.

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“Robert Herrick: Biography.” Answers. 2008. Wikianswers.

24 March 2009 .