Analysis of Roger Herrick's "To the Virgins, Make Much of Time"

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Robert Herrick’s poem, “To the Virgins, Make Much of Time,” is a short poem about love, virgins, and youth. The poem was written in London in the seventeenth-century, and was meant to reach an audience of young people and encourage them to pursue love and marriage while they are still young. Although poetry can be subject to interpretation, Herrick’s use of imagery and personification suggest a dominating theme emphasizing urgency for finding love at a young age. Even though Herrick wrote this poem for an audience that existed in the seventeenth-century, the ideas conveyed concerning young love and carpe diem could be applied to the culture prevalent in society today. Poetry is a form of art, and like all art, it’s meaning is subject to interpretation. The ideas analyzed in this paper were gleaned from multiple examples of personification and imagery throughout the poem that I interpreted as Herrick’s attempt to persuade readers that it is best to pursue love at a young age. By stating that the flower “tomorrow will be dying,” Herrick creates an image of aging and the depletion of life and beauty due to the passing of time (4). The third stanza of the poem states that age is better “when youth and blood are warmer”; warmth represents the attractiveness and desirability of a person when they are younger (10). The imagery of the flower expresses a sense of urgency regarding age and the passing of time, and the line about youth and blood shows that Herrick values young age and the beauty that accompanies it. Herrick suggests that finding love at a young age is important and someone in their youth should be prompt about finding a spouse while they are in their prime. This could take on different meaning depending on which culture that it is applied to. In order to better understand what this might mean in a particular culture you must know basic information about life in each culture and it’s view of marriage. Before Herrick’s ideas can be applied to...
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