Poem by Robert Herrich

Topics: Carpe diem, Time, Death Pages: 5 (1574 words) Published: February 19, 2013
“To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time” by Robert Herrick. In the opening stanza, the poet articulates the carpe diem tenet that urges one to "Seize the Day." The gathering of roses is a metaphor for living life to the fullest. The image of roses suggests a number of things: roses symbolize sensuality and the fulfillment of earthly pleasures; as vegetation, they are tied to the cycles of nature and represent change and the transience of life. Like the "virgins," the roses are buds, fresh, youthful and brimming with life; youth, like life, however, is fleeting. Marked by brevity, life is such that one day one experiences joy, as suggested by the smiling flower, and the next day death. The poet underscores the ephemeral quality of human life. Like the rose, the virgins whom the speaker addresses, and beyond them the reader of the text, are destined to follow the same fate as the rose.

The Latin term carpe diem is a descriptive word for literature that presses readers to "seize the moment." It mainly tries to pursue a woman or women that they have true physical beauty and should take advantage of their good looks now before time will take a toll on them.

"To The Virgins, to Make Much of Time," portrays carpe diem by citing the shortness of life and persuading young women to marry and enjoy the life of youth at its advantage before death takes its turn. Herrick's "To The Virgins, to Make Much of Time" fits the meaning of carpe diem by encouraging the beauty of youth and life itself. His calm and moralizing detachment from the personal environment pursues his own view of time and life. 

Then not be coy but use your time, 
And, while ye may, go marry: 
For having lost but once your prime 
You may forever tarry. 

He urges young virgins to be held in the hand of marriage to fulfill life. Love life, marry life. He encourages young women to experience life to the fullest extent of their existence. If they don't take up that chance then they might have to wait on for a long time. It's hard to fine good opportunities, and therefore, Herrick exalts women to "seize the moment" in l life itself. Nevertheless he wants women to marry but stay a virgin for once it's used up it will be lost forever. 

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun, 
The higher he's a-getting, 
The sooner will his race be run, 
And the nearer he's to setting. 

Carpe diem is represented in these lines by telling that death can come at any time so youth should not be wasted upon. Virgins should spend their time racing with the sun and living every moment of life because, in Herrick's description, it's unpredictable to foretell when death will arrive. His summary of the sun describe being a virgin to life and marriage. His words consist characteristics that he propose should be treasured, protected, and useful. 

Gather ye rose-buds while ye may,
Old Time is still a flying:
And this same flower that smiles today,
Tomorrow will be dying.
The idea of gathering the rose buds underlines the idea of making hay while the sun shines; utilizing youth to the most. The rose is utilized as an extended metaphor here. Time is apostrophized as an old Man who is passing by embracing everything within his grasp. In Elizabethan slang, "dying" referred both to mortality and to orgasm.* The poet also stresses that the flower must smile as much as possible, for tomorrow may be non-existent. In other words, the poem echoes the idea of living life to the fullest. 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.
The sun is personified and is termed as The glorious lamp of heaven. The poet quips that the swift rising and falling of the sun may stand for the passing of life without realization. Moreover, it may also emblematize the blooming of youth and its deterioration with the passage of time. This is an apt metaphor, as the image also connotes glow, sunshine and rays of hope....
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