To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

By Robert Herrick 1591–1674 Robert Herrick
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 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 forever tarry.

Source: The Norton Anthology of Poetry Third Edition (1983)

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Poet Robert Herrick 1591–1674

POET’S REGION England

Subjects Time & Brevity, Living, Coming of Age, Youth

Poetic Terms Common Measure

 Robert  Herrick

Biography

Almost forgotten in the eighteenth century, and in the nineteenth century alternately applauded for his poetry’s lyricism and condemned for its “obscenities,” Robert Herrick is, in the latter half of the twentieth century, finally becoming recognized as one of the most accomplished nondramatic poets of his age. Long dismissed as merely a “minor poet” and, as a consequence, neglected or underestimated by scholars and critics, the . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Time & Brevity, Living, Coming of Age, Youth

POET’S REGION England

Poetic Terms Common Measure

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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