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Dreams -- Robert Herrick

(Poem #665) Dreams
 Here we are all, by day; by night we're hurled
 By dreams, each one, into a several world.
-- Robert Herrick
Epigrams, even more than other poems, demand an absolute perfection of
design and execution if they are to work at all. One syllable out of place,
and the entire effect is ruined... conversely, the very best examples of the
genre seem to have lasted forever, so naturally do the words, sounds and
meanings fit together. Herrick's couplet on dreams falls in the latter
category [1].

Technical mastery apart, I like epigrams (whether they be by Horace or
Hafiz, Blake or Basho) for the same reason I like haiku and other
minimalistic forms of verse - so much of the interpretation is left to the
reader; the poetry expands in the mind's eye. Again, Herrick's poem is an
excellent example thereof: the image of being "hurled" (no other word will
do) into "several worlds" by dreams offers limitless possibilities to the
reader willing to explore its depths...


[1] As does most of his work; as I've commented before, his poetry is
possessed of "a remarkable felicity of rhythm and rhyme". See the links
section below for examples.

[Minstrels Links]

The Minstrels archive,, has the
following poems by Robert Herrick:

Delight in Disorder, Poem #332
The Night Piece, to Julia, Poem #398
The Hag, Poem #593

The second poem above has a brief biography, and links to some other of his

32 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Anonymous said...

you are completely wrong to say that

" the image of being "hurled" (no other word will do) into "several worlds" by dreams "

It is markedly NOT "several worlds", but each "into A several WORLD." The beauty and crux of the poem is the use of the adjective "several" to modify a singular noun. The single noun is split by "several" just as the singular "world" we inhabit contains many smaller worlds of dream. Yes?

Anonymous said...

Several is the opposite of collective

The word several in this case does not mean multiple worlds , but one of many seperate worlds (think of 'to sever' or split apart something). So although we all share one world by day, at night we are each in our own, private world in our dreams.

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