Category Archives: Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

Sweet, Be Not Proud

Sweet, be not proud of those two eyes,
Which starlike sparkle in their skies;
Nor be you proud that you can see
All hearts your captives, yours yet free.
Be you not proud of that rich hair,
Which wantons with the lovesick air;
Whenas that ruby which you wear,
Sunk from the tip of your soft ear,
Will last to be a precious stone
When all your world of beauty’s gone.

Counsel to Girls

Gather ye rose-buds, while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles today,
To-morrow will be dying.

The glorious Lamp of Heaven, the Sun,
The higher he’s a-getting;
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But, being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time;
And while ye may, go marry:
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.

To His Conscience

Can I not sin, but thou wilt be
My private Protonotary?
Can I not woo thee to pass by
A short and sweet iniquity?
I’ll cast a mist and cloud, upon
My delicate transgression,
So utter dark, as that no eye
Shall see the hugged impiety:
Gifts blind the wise, and bribes do please,
And wind all other witnesses:
And wilt not thou, with gold, be tied
To lay thy pen and ink aside?
That in the murk and tongueless night,
Wanton I may, and thou not write?
It will not be: And, therefore, now,
For times to come, I’ll make this vow,
From aberrations to live free;
So I’ll not fear the Judge, or thee.

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