To the Virgins, To Make Much of Time By Robert Herrick
Robert Herrick: An English Poet • Birth: 1591 in London, England • Herrick was an apprentice to a goldsmith/jeweler to the king • Started writing after losing his position in the church during the civil war • His poetry matures from his earliest works to his latest, from ‘lovemaking’ and ‘the female body’, to more spiritual topics • Strongly influenced by Ben Jonson and also the Elizabethan age • Few people enjoyed his poems at the time he wrote
To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying; And this same flower that smiles today Tomorrow will be dying. The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun, The higher he's a-getting, The sooner will his race be run, And nearer he's to setting. That age is best which is the first, When youth and blood are warmer; But being spent, the worse, and worst Times still succeed the former. Then be not coy, but use your time, And while ye may, go marry; For having lost but once your prime, You may forever tarry.
Analysis of the Poem • One theme of the poem is that time goes faster than one expects, so in other words do what you can while you have time to (i.e. live for tomorrow) -1st and 2nd Stanza • Its better to be young than old so enjoy it while you can -3rd Stanza • You’ll never get your youth back so live it to you upmost -4th Stanza
Questions • What do you think is the overall theme of this poem? • What type of feelings do you think the author is trying to convey? • Did the poet make you feel convinced that being young is far better than old?
Symbol Something that on the surface is its literal self but which also has another meaning or even several meanings • Examples: • “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may” • Meaning to live your life while you can. Rosebuds are the symbol because they something at only last so long, as does ones life. • “The sooner will his race be run” • Life is being compared to a race because in life one tries to do as much as one can before it’s over.
Carpe Diem • The definition of it is recognizing the brevity of life and the need to live for and in the moment ( i.e. living in the moment) • In the poem it is used as the central messege in that people should live today and only worry about tommorow when it comes
Works Cited • "Robert Herrick." LitFinder Contemporary Collection. Detroit: Gale, 2007. LitFinder. Gale. NORTH ALLEGHENY SCHOOL DISTRICT. 12 May 2009 <http://go.galegroup.com/ps/start.do?p=LITF&u=pl2552>. • Explanation of: 'To the Virgins, To Make Much of Time' by Robert Herrick." LitFinder Contemporary Collection. Detroit: Gale, 2007. LitFinder. Gale. NORTH ALLEGHENY SCHOOL DISTRICT. 12 May 2009 <http://go.galegroup.com/ps/start.do?p=LITF&u=pl2552>.