To Virgins, To make much of timeWatch
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may
Old Time is still a-flying
And this same flower that smiles today
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
The age is best, which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer
But being spent, the worse and worst
Times still succed 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.
anyway I have packed it full of reason why it is neat see
Discuss a poem in the Anthology Saying Why You Would Use It With Young People Aged 14 or 15.
The poem I have decided to discuss is To Virgins, To Make Much Of Time by Robert Herrick (1591-1674), a poet who died having never married. Herrick was also a Cavalier Poet which was a 17th-century English lyric poet, associated with the Royalists.
The message in this poem is trying using negative reinforcement to encourage young people to seize the day before it is too late. Although, the title has the sexual connotation ‘virgins’ and the poem contains other such as ‘rosebuds’ and ‘coy’, the poem is not just about getting the young to have sex before their grow too old. In the C16, a virgin was also a person who has never experienced something before. Herrick creates urgency in the poem saying as you get older, you will regret not experiencing certain things or making the use opportunities you get. This would apply to pupils in years 10 and 11, as currently, they would be studying for their GCSEs and some pupils may be wasting their chance of a decent education and future. The lexis set of time with words such ‘Time, To-morrow’ and ‘Old Time’ also integrates into this theme.
This poem other meaning is for young people to ‘go marry’ and have sex before it is too late as if they don’t ‘For having lost but once your prime,/You may forever tarry’. The sexual meaning should not apply to Years 10 and 11. However, Herrick is applying peer pressure tactics which are use very often during secondary school life to pursue pupils to do things which either they should not or do not want to do.
The poem is quite negative but informal sounding. Herrick uses comparatives such as ‘sooner’, ‘nearer’ and ‘worse’ to compare the joy of youth with grimness of old. ‘Worse and worse’ use the comparative and then to create even more dramatic feel uses the superlative make old age seem a very gloomy time. The poet, who may be regretting his own life, seems to be pasting on his experiences in this poem to aid his persuasion for example he says ‘go marry’ which is something he never did. Also, people in Herrick time were expected to be virgins until they marry. The informal tone is giving by the use of the modal verb ‘he’s’ to personify ‘the Sun’.
This poem can by used to teach GCSE how to write poetry. Herrick has used quatrains rhyming ABAB CDCD EFEF GHGH. Herrick’s poem contains internal rhyme as well strengthening its structure and encouraging a light, lyrical feel. This internal rhyme is found at each alternating line in the stanzas for example the first stanza contains "while/smiles" and "still/will". This pattern is used throughout the poem. These short reflections within the stanzas make the poem more lyrical, flowing from the tongue smoothly, hymned verse.
It is also has a neat meter. It would be the prefect example for GCSE students who may be struggling to write a poem for their coursework folder and this would help by showing a good formed poetry without having to have a complex and in-depth meaning to it which quite a few other poems have. This may also help with Music Coursework as this poem, like many of Herrick’s poems, was set to Music.
what have virgins got to do with it?
Please, can someone work out the meter(s) for this poem for me - I'm stuck!
the first and third lines in each verse (except for one line) has 8 syllables. the 2nd and 4th lines has 7 syllables. i'm not sure if this is indeed the meter, though.
I'm not sure how helpful that is, though.
edit - hey, apparently I am capable of those fancy linky things.
Just a general tip for you essay, your langauge is fairly informal, if its for coursework or exams,you might get marked down. Hope you esay goes ok
Well, my notes say it has a neat meter..
I could be wrong, in Latin the meter is the way in which each syllabal in poetry is pronounced..