Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May
By Robert Herrick (1591–1674)
GATHER 1 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,        5
  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:        10
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        15
  You may for ever tarry.
Note 1. Printed in Witt’s Recreation, 1650. Set to music by William Lawes in Playford’s Second Book of Ayres, 1652. Like many other poets of the period, Herrick’s opening lines are taken direct from Ausonius, 361, lines 49, 50:
  Collige, virgo, rosas, dum flos novus et nova pubes,
Et memor esto ævum sic properare tuum.
and again—
  Quam longa una dies, ætas tam longa rosarum.

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