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To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time
Robert Herrick


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. 

This poem is in the public domain.


Robert Herrick (1591 – 1674) was a British poet who tried his hand first at goldsmithing, then at the priesthood, before embracing his poetic destination. Deposed as a Devonshire vicar because of his loyalty to King Charles, Herrick was reinstated in that position when the king regained his throne after England's civil war and remained a vicar until his death. But the poetry writing that Herrick began during that enforced sabbatical launched a lifelong avocation. Though he was not particularly popular during his lifetime, Herrick is today considered a respected and accomplished lyric poet. Ironically, though many of Herrick's poems offer up passionate testaments on love and ladies, he was a lifelong bachelor--apparently, not by choice. There are those who suspect the poet's inspiration was limited to wishful thinking and his imagination; if so, his imagination was quite good!



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