To Live Merrily, and to Trust to Good Verses

Original Text: 
Robert Herrick, Hesperides (London: for John Williams and F. Eglesfield to be sold by Thomas Hunt, 1648), of which a section called "His Noble Numbers: or, his Pious Pieces" has a separate title-page dated 1647. Facs. edn. Menston: Scolar, 1969. PR 3512 H4 1648A ROBA
1Now is the time for mirth,
2      Nor cheek or tongue be dumb;
3For with the flow'ry earth
4      The golden pomp is come.
5The golden pomp is come;
6      For now each tree does wear,
7Made of her pap and gum,
8      Rich beads of amber here.
9Now reigns the rose, and now
10      Th' Arabian dew besmears
11My uncontrolled brow
12      And my retorted hairs.
13Homer, this health to thee,
14      In sack of such a kind
15That it would make thee see
16      Though thou wert ne'er so blind.
17Next, Virgil I'll call forth
18      To pledge this second health
19In wine, whose each cup's worth
20      An Indian commonwealth.
21A goblet next I'll drink
23Made he the pledge, he'd think
25Then this immensive cup
26      Of aromatic wine,
27Catullus, I quaff up
28      To that terse muse of thine.
29Wild I am now with heat;
30      O Bacchus! cool thy rays!
31Or frantic, I shall eat
32      Thy thyrse, and bite the bays.
33Round, round the roof does run;
34      And being ravish'd thus,
35Come, I will drink a tun
36      To my Propertius.
37Now, to Tibullus, next,
38      This flood I drink to thee;
39But stay, I see a text
40      That this presents to me.
41Behold, Tibullus lies
42      Here burnt, whose small return
43Of ashes scarce suffice
44      To fill a little urn.
45Trust to good verses then;
46      They only will aspire,
47When pyramids, as men,
48      Are lost i' th' funeral fire.
49And when all bodies meet,
50      In Lethe to be drown'd,
51Then only numbers sweet
52      With endless life are crown'd.


22] Ovid, Catullus, Propertius, and Tibullus were Latin poets of the first century B.C. Back to Line
24] one nose: pun on Ovid's name Publius Ovidius Naso. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
3RP 1.199-200.