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2003.03.06 =>

via lactea

I'm quite upset that the Elizabethan poetry class I took in college overlooked Robert Herrick, who I am just now discovering—I suppose his book of poems, published in 1648, was too late for the class's time constraints. My theory is that the Julia poems are called the Julia poems because he wanted a name that could scan as either two or three syllables, but we won't hold that against him, not when he can pack such a wallop into six lines with "Upon Julia's Clothes." He's even more economical in the four-line "Upon Julia's Breasts"; I suppose that what you think of poems about breasts is a matter of taste, but it certainly accomplishes its aim. "The Vine" is just dirrty, and he fills the coy-mistress sex-and-death quota with "To The Virgins, to Make Much of Time" and "Corrina's Going A-Maying."

Come, let us go while we are in our prime ;
And take the harmless folly of the time.
       We shall grow old apace, and die
       Before we know our liberty.
       Our life is short, and our days run
       As fast away as does the sun ;
And, as a vapour or a drop of rain
Once lost, can ne'er be found again,
       So when or you or I are made
       A fable, song, or fleeting shade,
       All love, all liking, all delight
       Lies drowned with us in endless night.
Then while time serves, and we are but decaying,
Come, my Corinna, come, let's go a-Maying.

I mean, holy shit. I'll go a-Maying with you, Robert.

 

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