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‘Lords of Wine and Oile’Community and Conviviality in the Poetry of Robert Herrick$
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Ruth Connolly and Tom Cain

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199604777

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199604777.001.0001

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His Noble Numbers

His Noble Numbers

(p.276) 11 His Noble Numbers
‘Lords of Wine and Oile’

Graham Parry

Oxford University Press

This chapter attempts to characterize Herrick's religious position during the contentious decades of the 1620s, '30s and '40s by examining the diversity of poems in his collection of sacred verse, Noble Numbers. Herrick grew up in a Calvinist household, yet was attracted towards the Laudian movement in the Church by his association with the Duke of Buckingham and by his desire to advance in court circles. His principal patron, however, seems to have been John Williams, Bishop of Lincoln, a middle-of-the-road churchman. These various components of his doctrinal formation are all apparent in his collected religious poetry. He is not the high ceremonialist Laudian poet he is often made out to be, but a figure whose beliefs and practices were shaped by pagan, Judaic, Catholic and Calvinist influences, a man who used poetry to explore the uncertainties of his belief.

Keywords:   Doctrine, Calvinism, Laudianism, Ceremonies, Sacred Drama

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