Robert Herrick 1591-1674

To the Virgins, to Make Much Time”
Anglican priest
Admirer of Ben Jonson
Loyal to the king
1648: published his only book of poems, Hesperides.
“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying” (Ln 1-2)
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow 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 for ever tarry.
Tone: serious but playful
Theme: Time
Rhyme: ababcdcdefefghgh, exact rhyme
Rhythm: Alternating Iambic Tetrameter and Iambic Trimeter with Catalexis
Symbolism: flowers life cycle
Personification: “The sooner will his race be run” (ln 7)
Type: Lyric Poem
The poem is in the genre of carpe diem, Latin for seize the day.
The poem was featured in the 9th episode of the first season on the HBO series The
The line "Gather ye rosebuds" was quoted and referenced by George O'Malley to Izzy
Stevens in the 12th episode of the third season of TV show Grey's Anatomy.
• Academy of American Poets. Web. 1 Oct. 2014.
"Robert Herrick." Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation. Web. 1 Oct. 2014
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