Robert Herrick was a 17th-century English Poet. He was born 24 August 1591 and he was buried 15 October 1674. He was born in London. He wrote over 2,500 poems, and half of them appear in his major work. He never married, and none of his love poems were directed to any women.
Robert Herrick wrote elegies, satires, epigrams, love songs to imaginary mistresses, marriage songs, complimentary verse to friends and patrons, and celebrations of rustic and ecclesiastical festivals. His poetry had an appeal that lies in its truth to human sentiments and its perfection of form and style. His poems are frequently light, worldly, and hedonistic, and making few pretensions to intellectual profundity, it yet cover a wide range of subjects and emotions, ranging from lyric inspired by rural life to wistful evocations of life and love’s evanescence and fleeting beauty. Herrick’s lyrics are notable for their technical mastery and the interplay of thought, rhythm, and imagery that they display. Herrick’s poems was steeped in the classical tradition; he was influenced by English folklore and lyrics, by italian madrigals, by the Bible and patristic literature, and by contemporary English writers, notably Jonson and Robert Burton.
They do not know exactly the year that this was written in, but it was written in the 17th Century. He published it in 1648 in a collection of poems called Hesperides.
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 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.
His poems in volume take beauty, love, and various spiritual matter as their subject. This poem is no exception. This poem is about making the most of your time on earth, and to take advantage of the opportunities that you have while you are young. Although this speaks about virgins needing to marry before they get older, it is not to be comprehended to go crazy wild. The end of the poem is clear that the speaker wants the virgins to get married while they are still eligible, attractive, and capable of bearing children. "This same flower that smiles today, tomorrow will be dying," refers to the virgins, who are young and warm-blooded now, but in time will age and ultimately die.