Robert Herrick and Marvell on Carpe Diem

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1: Herrick/Marvell
Carpe Diem, “seize the day”, is a literary theme that urges living and loving in the present moment since life and earthy pleasure cannot last. George Harrison of the Beatles said, “It’s being here now that’s important. There’s no past and there’s no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We gain experience from the past, but we can not relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one.” Two great writers, Robert Herrick and Andrew Marvell, really reflect on this ancient Roman theme. Herrick’s “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time” and Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress” both touch upon teaching this very important saying, even if it’s always just kept in the back of the mind. “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time” by Robert Herrick, is a Carpe Diem poem whose message is directed to the young women who aren’t taking advantage of time. He describes the girl’s youth as young, innocent rosebuds. “Gather ye rosebuds While ye may, Old Time is still a-flying” (lines 1-2). He then darkens the mood of the writing to make his point more clear. “And this same flower that smiles today, tomorrow will be dying” (lines 3-4). Herrick is using exaggeration when saying the flower will die the next day to give his thoughts on how he thinks the young smiley girls waste their youth. The poem’s mood returns to feeling happy. There is imagery of the sun, “The glorious life of heaven” (line 5). Herrick’s closing stanza
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