The Rambler :: blog

Friday, February 06, 2004

How his Soul came Ensnared 

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Favourite poets, then?

Always had a soft spot for Robert Herrick (1591-1674) myself. Partly, I'm sure, because he's one that I discovered for myself. There's a complete(?) collection of his works here, but personal favourites are The Argument of His Book and Delight in Disorder.

I came across Herrick completely by accident. I read his poem 'To Daffodils' in a random anthology that was lying around my parent's house, and it seemed familiar:

Fair daffodils, we weep to see
You haste away so soon;
As yet the early-rising sun
Has not attain'd his noon.
Stay, stay,
Until the hasting day
Has run
But to the evensong;
And, having prayed together, we
Will go with you along.

We have short time to stay, as you,
We have as short a spring;
As quick a growth to meet decay,
As you, or anything.
We die,
As your hours do, and dry
Like to the summer's rain;
Or as the pearls of morning's dew,
Ne'er to be found again.

And then I listened to 'Decay' from Ride's Nowhere, and there, out of the blue, were several lines from the second stanza. Uncredited, no apparent connection, but here were my favourite band of the time quoting this (fairly obscure) 17th-century poet. From then I was hooked, and even more pleased to discover that the Oxford-shoegaze connections aside, he was also a pretty fine writer to boot.

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