By MICHAEL CAINES
As Paul Davis pointed out in last week's TLS, seventeenth-century poetry is full of small things: Andrew Marvell's "little globe" (a drop of dew); Edmund Waller's lovely ribbon binding a "slender waist"; and, above all, the "nano-phenomena" that caught the eye of Robert Herrick. Davis's review ("Maximum Parsimony", for subscribers only) brought home the conflict of scale in the sole collection of verse Herrick published in his lifetime: Hesperides is stuffed with 1,400 lyric pieces but barely "three dozen or so" are more than fifty lines long.
I've selected a few examples of this copious miniaturism to read for this week's episode of the TLS podcast, TLS Voices. And, as we're between seventeenth-century poets in the paper itself, here's a reading of a longer poem, too, by a poet who, you might say, is both more and less famous than Herrick: John Evelyn, whose Diary, rather than his poetry, is the cause of his enduring literary reputation. In fact Evelyn the poet will be known to very few readers, and his contemporaries would have known him instead for his other intellectual interests, and his activities as a member of the Royal Society. Yet he wrote poetry throughout his life, and when his daughter Mary died in 1685, he expressed his sorrow in the elegy recorded here. "On My Dear Child M. E." will also appear in full in next week's issue, alongside Stuart Gillespie's fascinating account of Evelyn as poet rather than diarist.