'Touch but thy Lire (my Harrie)': Henry Lawes and the Mirthful Music of Hesperides

Stacey Jocoy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Though it is clear that Herrick and Henry Lawes knew and respected each other's work, little attention has been given to their collaborative efforts. Here, in contrast to the melancholy or declamatory airs for which Lawes is mostly known, we find mirthful pieces set in a 'tuneful' manner. Solo voices jauntily bespeak of quarrelling cupids ('About the sweet bag of a bee') or would-be lovers ('Am I dispis'd'), while rollicking triple-time choruses deliver the cheerful resolutions. In sympathy with Herrick, Lawes' music for such poetry almost sounds like secular hymns and anthems for a doctrine of mirth. This study provides a list of Lawes' musical settings for Herrick's poems from the mid-seventeenth century and suggests how better to understand their collaborative style and how they may have hoped to use their combined cultural influence in the service of the king.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication'Lords of Wine and Oile'
Subtitle of host publicationCommunity and Conviviality in the Poetry of Robert Herrick
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191729355
ISBN (Print)9780199604777
StatePublished - Jan 19 2012


  • Civil war
  • Collaboration
  • Henry lawes
  • Mirthful songs
  • Musical settings
  • Performance
  • Royalism


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