Robert Herrick 1591-1674

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ROBERT HERRICK
1591-1674
“
To the Virgins, to Make Much Time”
BIOGRAPHY
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Anglican priest
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Admirer of Ben Jonson
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Loyal to the king
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1648: published his only book of poems, Hesperides.
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“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.
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Tone: serious but playful
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Theme: Time
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Rhyme: ababcdcdefefghgh, exact rhyme
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Rhythm: Alternating Iambic Tetrameter and Iambic Trimeter with Catalexis
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Symbolism: flowers life cycle
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Personification: “The sooner will his race be run” (ln 7)
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Type: Lyric Poem
FUN FACTS
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The poem is in the genre of carpe diem, Latin for seize the day.
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The poem was featured in the 9th episode of the first season on the HBO series The
Newsroom.
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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.
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Poets.org. Academy of American Poets. Web. 1 Oct. 2014.
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"Robert Herrick." Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation. Web. 1 Oct. 2014

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