What is the theme and purpose of Herrick's "To the Virgins..." ?
How does the poem demonstrate the carpe diem theme?
Carpe diem means SEIZE THE DAY! It is a term that urges living and loving in the present moment, since life and earthly pleasure cannot last forever.
The first line of this little lyric, Herrick's most popular poem, hasbeen a metaphorical part of our language ever since the nineteenthcentury, when Herrick was discovered by people interested inRenaissance literature. Instead of courting one woman, as in mostcarpe diempoems, Herrick addresses all virgins, or young women.
In the poem, the term "virgins" means "young women."
You may also read the poem in your online textbook on page 265. If you click on the bullhorn icon, you can listen to the poem be read.
To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a flying:
And this same flower that smiles today,
Tomorrow 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
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.
Answer the following questions. Use complete sentences, and check for spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
1. Robert Herrick was a priest, but he wasn't a traditional "man of the cloth." He called the place where he preached "dull." He kept a pet pig and taught it to drink beer from a mug. Once, he threw his sermon book at a congregation because he said they looked bored. Also, he wrote this poem. Why might it be ironic for a priest to write a poem with this theme?
2. What threat does the speaker in the poem make?
3. What two examples of nature does Herrick use to demonstrate that time is passing quickly?
4. In your own words, summarize the advice Herrick is giving to young people.
5. Herrick is using "Rosebuds" metaphorically. What do you think the rosebuds represent?