RECENT STUDIES IN HERRICK
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7Qcent Studies in the ngZiJh 5Qvaissance ELR bibliographical articles are intended to combine a topical review of research with a reasonably complete bibliography. Scholarship is organized by authors or titles ofanonymous works. Items included represent the combined entries listed in the annual bibliographies published by PMLA, SP, YWES, and M H R A from 1945 through, in the present instance, 1971, supplemented by a selective list of general studies and additional annual bibliographies. Preliminary enumerative bibliography and editorial work are done by Terence P. Logan, Ilirector, and Elizabeth H. Hageman at the Renaissance English Bibliography Center, Uni- versity of New Hampshire, which is supported by funds from the Graduate School and the Department of English, University of New Hampshire, Durham, N.H.
R E C E N T S T U D I E S I N H E R R I C K
ELIZABETH H. HAGEMAN
H E standard edition of Herricks poetry is L. C. Martins T h e Poetical Works ofRobert Herrick (1956), reissued, with most of the commentary excised, as The Poems ofRobert Herrick (1965). A Concordance to the Poems 4 Robert Herrick by MalcolmL. MacLeod (1936; rpt. 1971) is based on F. W. Moormans edition
of T h e Poetical Works ofRobert Herrick (191s), but may also be used with Martins texts.
A. Biographical. L. C. Martin surveys Herricks life in his edition of T h e Poetical Works. Of the full-length studies of Herricks career, Floris Delattres Robert Herrick: Contribution it I&tude de la Poksie Lyrique in Angleterre au Dix-rept ihe Sihcle (1912) is the most reliable. I:. W. Moorman, in Robert Herrick: A Biographical and Critical Study (1910; rpt. 1962), derives many of his suppositions about Herricks character and activities from the lyrics. lllarchette Chutes T w o Gentle Men: T h e Lives ofGeorge Herbert and Robert Herrick (1959) is a graceful recreation of Herricks social milieu.
13. General Critical Studies. Much of the recent criticism responds to evaluations ofHerricks work made earlier in this century by F. R. Leavis and T. S . Eliot. In The Line of Wit, :L review of T h e Oxford Book ofSeventeenth Century Verse, rpt. in Revaluation: Tradition and
Elizabeth H. Hagernan 463 Development in English Poetry (1936; rpt. 1963), Leavis claims that Herrick, in contrast to Marvell, writes in a trivially charming way. In What is Minor Poetry? published in S R , 54 (1946), 1-18, rpt. in On Poetry andpoets (1957; rpt. 1969), Eliot argues that a writer of lyrics may be a major poet if he constructs a volume with a unity of underlying pat- tern, such as George Herberts The Temple. Herrick, on the other hand, cannot qualify as a major poet because The Hesperides lacks continuous conscious purpose.
Allan H. Gilbert, in Robert Herrick on Death, MLQ, 5 (1944). 61-67, argues against the prevailing opinion that Herrick is chiefly a fairy poet by pointing to his constant awareness of death and change; Herrick is aided by two muses, one jocund, the other diviner. And in The Universe ofRobert Herrick (1950), Sydney Musgrove, the first scholar to present an extended argument that Herrick is a serious, Christian poet, explicates a number of the poems in order to show that for Herrick the created world is a place of joy; but, at the same time, it is a divine creation. More recently, Ronald Berman, in Herricks Secular Poetry, ES, 52 (i97i), 20-30, notes that Herrick, like Ben Jonson, Jeremy Taylor, Sir Thomas Browne, John Donne, and Owen Feltham, is acutely aware of the brevity of human life and the permanence of that greater life in which it is located; for Herrick, secular experience is a hieroglyph of the sacred.
Roger B. Rollin addresses Eliot and Leavis directly in Robert Herrick (1966). Rollin praises the intellectual and emotional poise with which Herrick faces life and the superb artistic poise with which he recreate[s] his reactions to it. He examines representative poems, showing that Herricks imaginative realm is a pastoral world, a microcosm in which he explores a series of human problems: transciency, the good life, love, faith, and immortality. John Press, on the other hand, emphasizes Herricks sensuality and technical skill in his Robert Herrick (1961): within certain limits, Press concludes, he is a consum- mate artist.
ThomasR. Whitaker, in Herrickand theFruits oftheGarden,ELH, 22 (1955), 16-33, suggests that a selection of some fifty of the lyrics would reveal an imaginative realm of some scope and . . . an awareness of its limitations, its dangers, and its proper uses. The mythical garden of the Hesperides is a place in which the Christian-Dionysian ambi- guity of Herricks view of life is almost reconciled. Following Whitakers analysis, Daniel H. Woodward, in Herricks Oberon Poems,]EGP, 64 (1965). 270-84, shows how The Fairie Temple, Oberons Feast, and Oberons Palace contribute to the whole volume by providing a miniature mythology within the larger mythology of the garden of Hesperides.
In a trio ofarticles, John L. Kimmey treats Herricks use ofhis fictive persona as a unifying device in Hesperides and Noble Numbers. In Robert Herricks Persona, SP, 67 (1970), 221-36, he argues that in Hesperides the persona alternately plays the roles of the poet writing to gain immortality, the aging lover striving for renewed vitality, and the exile longing for London; in Noble Numbers, the persona is an aging penitent. In both works, Kimmey believes, the persona searches for permanence within Times-transhifting. In Robert Herricks Satirical Epigrams, ES, 5 1 (1970), 312-23, he notes that in the epi- grams, which are scattered throughout the volume as commentary on the crude and base aspects of Herricks microcosm, the persona assumes the position of the preacher, the social critic, the shrewd observer of men and manners. The whole volume, Kimmey argues in Order and Form in Herricks Hesperides,]EGP, 70 (1971), zzs-68, is carefully arranged to reflect the changing moods of the fictive persona approaching death. Richard
464 English Literary Renaissance L. Capwell, in Herrick and the Aesthetic Principle of Variety and Contrast, SAQ, 71 (1972), 488-95, suggests that the principle of variety and contrast governs the seeming disorder in the arrangement of the lyrics within Herricks volume.
Two recent books discuss the literary movements of which Herrick was a part. In his chapter Gentlemen of the Court and of Art in The Heirs ofDonne andJonson (1970), Joseph H. Summers compares poems by Herrick and Ben Jonson to show that their excel- lence is of two different kinds. Herrick is one of a school of poets treated by Earl Miner in The Cavalier Modefromlonson to Cotton (1971). After defining the social voice of the Cavaliers as a mean between the private voice of the Metaphysicals and the public voice ofMilton, Dryden, and Pope, Miner devotes chapters to the themes of The Good Life, The Ruines and Remedies of Time, Order and Disorder, Love, and Friend- ship.
Samuel A. and Dorothy R. Tannenbaum have compiled Robert Henick ( A Concise Bibliography) (1949). George Robert Guffey has a checklist of more recent editions and criticism, Elizabethan Bibliographies Supplements 111: Robert Herrick (1949-1965), Benlonson (1947-1965), Thonias Randolph (1949-1965) (1968).
11. STUDIES O F SELECTED TOPICS
A. Classical and Christian Sources. The copious list of sources and parallcls from classical, biblical, patristic, and Elizabethan literature given in Martins Poetical Works raises the vexing problem of Herricks classical temper versus his professed Christianity. Graydon W. Regenos, in The Influence of Horace on Robert Herrick, PQ, 26 (1947), 268-84, sees Horace as most congenial to the very spirit and soul ofRobert Herrick, but Martin believes that Herrick is influenced most by Horace and Ovid in his early work and by Martial and Tacitus in the later pocms. Karl P. Wcntersdorf, in Herricks Floral Imagery, SN, 36 (1964), 69-81, studies the many contexts in which flowers occur in the secular poetry and concludes that Herrick was drawn to pagan celebrations of life rather than to Christianity. In Herrick and the Ceremony of Mirth, a chapter in Poetry and the Fountain ofl ight: Observations on the Congict between Christian and Classical Traditions in Seventeenth- Century Poetry (1962), H. R. Swardson maintains that Harrick felt a codict between the light-hearted pagan values of many of his poems and the Christian standards in which he believed. In only a few poems, Swardson asserts, does Herrick create a mirthful world that overcomes the usual Christian distinctions between the sacred and the profane. Victor P. Staudt, on the other hand, in Horace and Herrick on Carpe Diem, Classical Bulletin, 33 (1957), 55-56, uses To the Virgins, To Make Much of Time to demonstrate that Herrick uses thc classical carp diem theme in the service of the Christian position that one must live for eternity and the Last Judgment. And in Noble Nurnbers and the Poetry of Devotion, in Reason and the Imagination: Studies in the History o f Ideas, 1600-1800, ed. J. A. Mazzeo (1962), pp. 1-27, Miriam K. Starkman surveys Herricks sacred poems and fmds in them the doctrines of orthodox Anglicanism. For her, the distinctive voice of the 272 poems is that of the adult Christian in the role of the irzgenu.
In a series of articles based on his dissertation, The Classical Ceremonial in the Poetry of Robert Herrick, DA, 26:5430-31 (Wis.), Robert H. Deming argues that the ceremonies described in Herricks poems are derived not only from classical poets and historians and from Renaissance classical dictionaries, but also from conteniporary practices of Anglican
Elizabeth H. Hageman 46s and Roman Catholic Churches. In Robert Herricks Classical Ceremony, ELH, 34 (1967). 327-48, Deming suggests a humanistic fusion designed by Herrick to measure the significance of the ceremonies of the past for the present. In The Use of the Past: Herrick and Hawthorne,]PC, 2 (1968), 278-91, Deming contrasts The May-Pole of Merry Mount with Corinnas Going A-Maying, showing that whereas Hawthornes resolution of the conflict between paganism and Christianity (the forces of jollity and gloom) requires the triumph of the sober Puritan idea of duty over pagan irresponsi- bility, Herricks imaginative world achieves a successful fusion of Christian seriousness and the delight in physical nature. In Herricks Funereal Poems, SEL, 9 (1969), 153-67, he analyzes a dozen poems in order to show that Herricks funeral ceremonies sanctify the dead. Deming points to Herricks insistence on the enactment of the proper ceremonies and to his assertions of the poem itself as a mnemonic device.
Paul R. Jenkins, in Rethinking What Moderation Means to Robert Herrick, ELH, 39 (197z), 49-65, concludes that Herricks idea of moderation is not a moral imperative, but one aspect of an aesthetic formula-a careful carelessness-which Herrick believes will produce the most satisfying sensations. After discussing Herricks many variations on the ballad stanza in Literature and Music, in Relations ofliterary Study, ed. James Thorpe (1967), pp. 127-50, Bertrand H. Bronson suggests that those lyrics which are seasonally festive, and folklike in spirit . . . tend to confirm the conjecture that Herrick, for all his fastidious classicism, was in familiar touch with the popular singing tradition.
B. Other Topics. G. R. Hibbard examines the relationships between such poems as Jonsons To Penshurst and Herricks A Panegerick to Sir Lewis Pemberton and A Country- Life: to his Brother Mr. Thomas Herrick, the social (and architectural) realities of life in seventeenth-century country houses, and contemporary notions of nature and use in The Country House Poem of the Seventeenth Century,]WCl; 19 (1956), 159-74.
Mark L. Reed, in Herrick Among the Maypoles: Dean Prior and the Hesperides, SEL, 5 (1965). 133-50, uses evidence that the folk customs described in Hesperides are not unique to Devonshire and that the life of groves and fields was well known to every Londoner to point to Herricks real achievement: his lyrics, more than any others of his century, grow from and sing of England.
A. Leigh DeNeef, in Herrick and the Ceremony ofDeath, RenP 1970,2~39, suggests that the poets art unites the reader, the speaker, and the dead in a ceremonial, ritual cele- bration in which death itself often becomes simply irrelevant. DeNeef develops his idea of the ceremonial mode in his dissertation, The Ceremonial Mode of Poetic Expression in Robert Herricks Hesperides, DAI, 30:4981A-82A (Penn. State), (See 111, A for DeNeefs discussion of Corinna.)
111. STUDIES O F INDIVIDUAL POEMS
A. Corinnas Going A-Maying. In Chapter IV, What Does Poetry Communicate? in The Well- Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure ofPoetry (1947; rpt. 1965). CleanthBrooks examines the verbal texture of Corinna and demonstrates that for Herrick, the claims of the pagan ethic-however much they may be overlaid-exist, and on occasion emerge, as on this day. J. Rea, in Persephone in Corinnas Going A-Maying, CE, 26 (1965), 544-46, argues that Herrick probably knew from his reading of Ovids Art ofLove that
466 English Literary Renaissance Corinna is the diminutive form of Cora. . . the name that the Greeks used for Persephone when they celebrated the Ekusinian mysteries in Attica; when the poet calls Corinna, then, he is summoning the goddess of the springtime herself. Richard E. Hughes, in Herricks Hock Cart: Companion Piece to Corinnas Going A-Maying, CE, 27 (1966), 420-22, replies that The Hock Cart celebrates the corresponding harvest ritual. A. Leigh DeNeef, in Herricks Corinna and the Ceremonial Mode, SAQ, 70 (igy), 530-45, sees Corinna as written in what he calls the ceremonial mode; it is a dramatic, mimetic, ritual celebration of reality. In this poem the May-Day festivities become a cosmic ritual of unification, and the permanence of the artistic rendering is itself the ultimate ceremonial act.
B. Good Friday: Rex Tragicus, or Christ Going to His Crosse. D. C. Allen explicates this work as a complex contemplative poem in Herricks Rex Tragicus, Studies in Honor of Dewitt T . Starnes, ed. Thomas P. Harrison, et al. (1967). pp. 215-25, rpt. in Allen, hiage and Meaning: Metaphoric Traditiotis in Renaissance Poetry (enlarged ed., 1968), pp. 13 8-51. He refers to such writers as Piero Valeriano, Scaliger, Hugo St. Victor, and Plotinus as backgrounds for his suggestion that Herrick views the Crucifixion in terms of a great tragedy of a kings fall. Allen views Herrick as a minor poet, however, and concludes darkly, But that he intended what I have expressed will never be known.
C. State of Criticisnz. Thanks to such appreciative critics as Gilbert, Martin, Rollin, Brooks, and (more recently) Deming, DeNeef, and Kimmey, Herrick can no longer be dismissed as a trivial, slightly immoral poet. Happily, Herrick scholars have continued to admire his vitality and wit as they have poi...