To Julia

By Robert Herrick. 1591–1674
Musical setting by Roger Quilter
audio track:

The Bracelet

Why I tie about thy wrist,
Julia, this silken twist;
For what other reason is ‘t
But to show thee how, in part,
Thou my pretty captive art?
But thy bond-slave is my heart:

‘Tis but silk that bindeth thee,
Knap the thread and thou art free;
But ’tis otherwise with me:
I am bound and fast bound, so
That from thee I cannot go;
If I could, I would not so.

So Look the Mornings

So look the mornings when the sun
paints them with fresh vermillion
So cherries blush and Kathryn Pears
and apricocks in youthful years
So corals look more lovely red
and rubies lately polished
So purest diaper doth shine
stained by the beads of claret wine
and Julia looks when she doth dress
her either cheek with bashfulness

To Daisies

Shut not so soon; the dull-eyed night
Has not as yet begun
To make a seizure on the light,
Or to seal up the sun.

No marigolds yet closèd are,
No shadows great appear;
Nor doth the early shepherd’s star
Shine like a spangle here.

Stay but till my Julia close
Her life-begetting eye,
And let the whole world then dispose
Itself to live or die.

The Night Piece

Her eyes the glow-worm lend thee,
The shooting stars attend thee;
And the elves also,
Whose little eyes glow
Like the sparks of fire, befriend thee.

No Will-o’-the-wisp mislight thee,
Nor snake or slow-worm bite thee;
But on, on thy way
Not making a stay,
Since ghost there ‘s none to affright thee.

Let not the dark thee cumber:
What though the moon does slumber?
The stars of the night
Will lend thee their light
Like tapers clear without number.

Then, Julia, let me woo thee,
Thus, thus to come unto me;
And when I shall meet
Thy silv’ry feet,
My soul I’ll pour into thee.

Upon Julia’s Hair

Dew sat on Julia’s hair,
And spangled too,
Like leaves that laden are
With trembling dew.
Or glittered to my sight,
As when the beams
Have their reflected light
Danced by the streams.

Cherry Ripe

Cherry ripe, ripe, ripe, I cry,
Full and fair ones; come and buy.
If so be you ask me where
They do grow, I answer: There
Where my Julia’s lips do smile;
There’s the land, or cherry-isle,
Whose plantations fully show
All the year where cherries grow.

Michael Dodaro, baritone; Hartwig Eichberg, pianist

  1. #1 by Glynn on May 19, 2011 - 4:09 AM

    I hadn’t read Herrick since college. I need to rediscover him.

    • #2 by Glynn on May 19, 2011 - 4:14 AM

      And then I started exploring operaciv – wow!

  2. #3 by Mike Dodaro on May 19, 2011 - 7:00 AM

    Given the stereotypes of opera singers and the difficulties of the art form, it is quite astonishing when one begins to understand the dramatic context. The standard repertoire of opera comes from an era before the death of God in Western culture. That alone puts it in another world. The characters’ struggles are most accessible to people for whom God is not dead.

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