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To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time Summary
Robert Herrick

Everything you need to understand or teach To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time by Robert Herrick.

  • To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time Summary & Study Guide

To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time Summary

Introduction

First published in 1648 in a volume of verse entitled Hesperides, "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time" is perhaps one of the most famous poems to extol the notion of carpe diem. Carpe diem, or "seize the day," expresses a philosophy that recognizes the brevity of life and therefore the need to live for and in the moment. Seizing the day means eating, drinking and making merry for tomorrow we shall all die. The phrase was used by classicists such as Horace, and its spirit marks the theme of Herrick's lyric poem. Echoing Ben Jonson's poem, "Song: To Celia," the speaker of the poem underscores the ephemeral quality of life and urges those in their youth to actively celebrate life and its pleasures; however, the speaker does not urge "the virgins" simply to frolic adulterously, but to seek union in matrimony, thereby uniting the natural cycles of life...

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