To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time Essay

Robert Herrick
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Perkins is an associate professor of English at Prince George's Community College in Maryland. In the following essay, she examines Herrick's unique employment of the literary motif carpe diem in "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time."

Carpe diem, a Latin phrase from Horace's Odes, translates into "seize the day." The phrase has become a common literary motif, especially in lyric poetry and in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English love poetry. The most famous poems that incorporate this motif include Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queen, Andrew Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress," Edward Fitzgerald's "The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam," and Robert Herrick's "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time." Modern writers have also employed the motif, most notably Henry James in The Ambassadors and "The Beast in the Jungle," and obviously Saul Bellow in Seize the Day.

Typically, the speaker in a poem that uses carpe diem as its...

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This section contains 1,319 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
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