Another poem found in the forest of the scraps box! You can see last week’s found treasure here. This time it was just a scrap of paper with no illustration – so I created one. Robert Herrick (1591-1674) published just a single massive volume of poetry (1,402 poems!) in his lifetime and achieved little recognition. He was rediscovered in the 20th century and is best known today for the poem that most of us read in school at some point – “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time.” But he wrote many even shorter gems as well – this one likely references a superstition surrounding the tending of Christmas fires or yule logs, but the microbiologist in me approves of the hand washing theme! Collage and composition by me.
Robert Herrick was the youngest child of a goldsmith and was expected to follow suit, but he rebelled and left his apprenticeship early to study at Saint John’s College, Cambridge and eventually became a devoted admirer of the famous poet Ben Jonson. Herrick’s poem “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time” (of “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may…” fame), is now routinely included in English Literature/Poetry curricula and anthologies, so it is surprising to learn that his poetry was not at all popular in his own time and his singular large volume of poetry made not a single literary ripple upon publication! Photograph and composition by me.