Robert Herrick: Noble Numbers

(479 words)
  • Glyn Pursglove (University of Wales, Swansea)

When Robert Herrick's major collection Hesperides was published in 1648, its title-page promised the reader “The Works Both Humane & Divine” of the author. The volume closes, in fact, with a collection of almost 300 poems prefaced by its own title-page, reading “HIS NOBLE NUMBERS: OR, HIS PIOUS PIECES, Wherein (amongst other things) he sings the Birth of his CHRIST: and sighes for his Saviours suffering on the Crosse“. The title-page of Noble Numbers bears, confusingly, the date 1647. Perhaps Herrick (who seems to have supervised the preparation of Hesperides) originally intended to issue Noble Numbers as a separate publication; whatever the circumstances it appeared as …

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Pursglove, Glyn. "Noble Numbers". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 28 October 2000
[, accessed 29 November 2015.]