A constant theme of the songs written by Robert Herrick is the short-lived nature of life, the fleeting passage of time. We find a note of melancholy/sadness in his poem which arises out of the realization that beauty is not going to stay forever. In his poem ‘To Daffodils’, the poet Robert Herrick begins by saying that we grieve to see the beautiful daffodils being wasted away very quickly. The duration of their gloom is so short that it seems even the rising sun still hasn’t reached the noon-time. Thus, in the very beginning the poet has struck a note of mourning at the fast dying of daffodils. The poet then addresses the daffodils and asks them to stay until the clay ends with the evening prayer. After praying together he says that they will also accompany the daffodils. This is so because like flowers men too have a very transient life and even the youth is also very short-lived. “We have short time to stay, as you,
We have as short a spring.”
The poet symbolically refers to the youth as spring in these lines. He equates/compares human life with the life of daffodils. Further he says that both of them grow very fast to be destroyed later. Just like the short duration of the flowers, men too die away soon. Their life is as short as the rain of the summer season, which comes for a very short time; and the dew-drops in the morning, which vanish away and never return again. Thus, the poet after comparing the flowers to humans, later turns to the objects of nature – he has compared the life of daffodils with summer rain, dew drops. The central idea presented by the poet in this poem is that like the flowers we humans have a very short life in this world. The poet laments that we too life all other beautiful things soon slip into the shadow and silence of grave. A sad and thoughtful mood surrounds the poem.