Analysis of ‘to Virgins, to Make Much of Time’

Topics: Poetry, Sun, Ben Jonson Pages: 2 (745 words) Published: March 6, 2013
How does the poet persuade women to enjoy life while they’re young? Robert Herrick was part of the cavalier poet who wrote in the carpe diem genre. This poem is a lyric poem, which is a type of poem which expresses personal and emotional feelings. This poem promotes carpe diem, living life to its fullest. ‘To virgins, make much of time’ is aimed at middle class unmarried women, he is trying to persuade them to get married as quickly as possible and make the most of their life and their sexuality before they are old and undesired.

Throughout the poem metaphorical and personified language is used to portray his ideas and better relate them to the women. The poem starts in the imperative mood using the verb ‘gather’, to further emphasis this, the word gather is in the trochaic foot. In first stanza Herrick personifies time as an object which has age ‘old time’ this presents time as something which ages and gets older, even though technically time doesn’t get older, he also shows time as something that passes by quickly and is repetitive, ‘still a-flying’. The imagery used for the flower is personified with ‘smiles’, I believe that Herrick thinks of the women as flowers and that a flower is the perfect comparison as it can have such a short blooming period, just like the women of the time. This is a good persuasive technique as the women can relate to flowers. By using juxtaposition when referring to ‘today’ and ‘tomorrow’ he shows how such a short time can make a big difference and you may not have a tomorrow to wait for. To show the certainty of time he uses the modal verb ‘will’. This would worry the women as it shows that he is certain of time and there is a certainty of them getting old, he uses their fears to persuade them.

The second stanza is based on the personification of the sun which at the time would have been a teller of time as to how high it was in the sky. The first line is presenting the sun...
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