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Poetry Analysis; "to the Virgins to Make Much of Time"

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Robert Herrick's poem, "To the Virgins to make much of Time," focuses upon the idea of carpe diem. The poem stresses the idea of marriage while love and flesh are still young, or one may suffer in their later years alone and loveless. Herrick believes this gift of virginity to be a great waste if not given while it is still desirable. Virginity is a gift for the simple reason that it can only be given once to one person, which he believes should be the husband. Therefore, he says to go out and find husbands, for youth is not perpetual and will eventually succumb to old age and loneliness. Through Herrick's use of colorful imagery and personification, the reader detects a sense of urgency and duty for the virgins to go forth and marry while love is young,creating the overall idea of carpe diem.

Herrick uses "The Virgins" in the poem to represent the beginning of life, or youth. The gathering of roses is a metaphor for living life to the fullest. Symbolically, the rosebud represents youth and beauty,which has yet to bloom, but will age and eventually die. Like the "virgins," the rose buds are fresh and youthful; however, the youth of the rose, like life, is passing quickly. Herrick wrote these opening lines of in order make it clear he is concentrating on those in the prime of their life. In the next stanza the sun is personified by showing that time is passing quickly,ultimately creating the carpe diem theme. Like the rose, the personified sun and his progress across the sky are a metaphor for the ultimate fate of humans, death.

In the third stanza, the speaker of the poem stresses that youth is the time when one's blood is "warm", desirable, and passionate; the speaker believes this is the "best" time of one's life. This also demonstrates the theme carpe diem, and implies that one should take advantage of their "virginity" by indulging in it.

The final stanza of the poem urges the virgins, who represent all those who are young and inexperienced, to pursue love and marriage. The speaker stresses not to be "coy" and waste time. The speaker once again stresses that youth is the best, "prime", time and if one does not take advantage, they may forever suffer.

The theme,or truth,of the poem is that with life comes age, and time becomes limited; One should take advantage of their youth. Herrick warns the "virgins" that time



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