Hesperides

    IF thy soul, Herrick, dwelt with me,
    This is what my songs would be:
    Hints of our sea-breezes, blent
    With odors from the Orient;
    Indian vessels deep with spice;
    Star-showers from the Norland ice;
    Wine-red jewels that seem to hold
    Fire, but only burn with cold;
    Antique goblets, strangely wrought,
    Filled with the wine of happy thought,
    Bridal measure, vain regrets,
    Laburnum buds and violets;
    Hopeful as the break of day;
    Clear as crystal; new as May;
    Musical as brooks that run
    O'er yellow shallows in the sun;
    Soft as the satin fringe that shades
    The eyelids of thy Devon maids;
    Brief as thy lyrics, Herrick, are,
    And polished as the bosom of a star.

    Thomas Bailey Aldrich (1836-1907)


This poem is titled after Robert Herrick's book by the same name. Aldrich wrote an epigram on Herrick who was an English Cavalier:
  No slightest golden rhyme he wrote
  That held not something men must quote;
  Thus by design or chance did he
  Drop anchors to posterity. 

It's an extension of his praise of Herrick by the American poet who was a prolific writer of novels, poetry and short stories during the early 1800's. He drew upon his childhood experiences in New Hampshire in his popular classic The Story of a Bad Boy (1870) and his use of the surprise ending influenced the development of the short story.

Sources: Blair, Bob:
http://www.geocities.com/~bblair/001013.htm

Public domain text taken from The Poets’ Corner:
http://www.theotherpages.org/poems/2001/aldrich0101.html

CST Approved.

Hes*per"i*des (?), n. pl. [L., fr. Gr. .]

1. Class. Myth.

The daughters of Hesperus, or Night (brother of Atlas), and fabled possessors of a garden producing golden apples, in Africa, at the western extremity of the known world. To slay the guarding dragon and get some of these apples was one of the labors of Hercules. Called also Atlantides.

2.

The garden producing the golden apples.

It not love a Hercules, Still climbing trees in the Hesperides? Shak.

 

© Webster 1913.

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