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To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time
Transcript of To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time
The speaker of the poem underscores the ephemeral (short-lived) 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 and death with the rites and ceremonies of Christian worship. Biography of Robert Herrick Robert Herrick was born in the Cheapside district of London in August of 1591.
He was the seventh child and fourth son of Julia Stone Herrick and Nicholas Herrick, a goldsmith who died when Herrick was 14 months old.
1607 - At age 16, started a ten-year apprenticeship with his uncle, also a goldsmith.
1613 - Apprenticeship ended after only six years; at age 22 entered Saint John's College, Cambridge.
1617? 1620? - Graduated with a master of arts degree. Biography of Robert Herrick, cont. 1623 - Took holy orders/ordained a minister
1627 - Served as chaplain in the Duke of Buckingham’s Isle of Rhe expedition, a failed attempt to come to the aid of Protestants in predominantly Catholic France
It is believed he spent much of his time during the next several years among the social and literary circles of London, earning a reputation as a fashionable poet.
He became known as one of the Sons of Ben, a group of poets greatly influenced by the work of Ben Jonson.
Became a disciple of Jonson, who he wrote five poems about. Biography of Robert Herrick, cont. 1629 - King Charles I appointed Herrick the vicar of Dean Prior in Devonshie
1647 - During the English Civil War/Great Rebellion, Herrick was a supporter of the monarchy ("Royalist sympathies") so the Puritans, who had come to power, expelled him from his vicarage.
1660 - Returned to London when the monarchy was restored; Charles II sent him back to Dean Prior; reinstated
Remained there until he died in October of 1674. Works and Influences He never married
Many of the women mentioned in his poems are thought to have been fictional
Influenced by classical Roman poetry
Wrote on pastoral themes, dealing mostly with English country life and village customs
His principal work is Hesperides; or, the Works Both Human and Divine of Robert Herrick, Esq.
A group of religious poems was also printed in the same book
The entire collection contains more than 1200 short poems By Connie Chau
Period 2 To the Virgins, to make much of Time
GATHER ye rosebuds while ye may To the Virgins, to make much of Time Old Time is still a-flying: To the Virgins, to make much of Time And this same flower that smiles to-day To the Virgins, to make much of Time To-morrow will be dying. To the Virgins, to make much of TIme The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun, To the Virgins, to make much of Time The sooner will his race be run, To the Virgins, to make much of Time And nearer he 's to setting. To the Virgins, to make much of Time That age is best which is the first To the Virgins, to make much of Time When youth and blood are warmer To the Virgins, to make much of Time But being spent, the worse, and worst To the Virgins, to make much of Time Times still succeed the former To the Virgins, to make much of TIme Then be not coy, but use your time, To the Virgins, to make much of Time And while ye may, go marry: Themes *The Transient Nature of Beauty *Carpe Diem Style Alternates between two different types of meter.
The odd-numbered lines (1, 3, 5, etc.) are all in iambic tetrameter.
The even-numbered lines (2, 4, 6, etc.) are all in iambic trimeter with catalexis
Herrick favors the trochaic foot
Written in tetrameter form To the Virgins, to make much of Time Introduction To the Virgins, to make much of Time Reciting To the Virgins, to make much of Time To the Virgins, to make much of Time The higher he' a-getting, For having once but lost your prime, To the Virgins, to make much of Time You may forever tarry. To the Virgins, to make much of Time Line-by-line Analysis Analysis Lines 1-4 1. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may
2. Old time is still a-flying
3. And this same flower that smiles today
4. Tomorrow will be dying Roses and the virgins are related - how?
Youth, like life is fleeting.
Marked by brevity, life is such that one day one experiences joy and the next day death.
Herrick underscores the ephemeral quality of human life.
The roses and virgins are destined to have the same fate. Closing Final thoughts Analysis Line 5-8 5. The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
6. The higher he' a-getting,
7. The sooner will his race be run,
8. And nearer he's to setting. Time Morality Man and the Natural World Marriage Expands on the image of fleeting time and the brevity of life.
The movement of the sun in the sky underscores the passing of time. Analysis Lines 9-12 Introduces an unusually ironic and decidedly unromantic twist to the notion of pursuing love by suggesting that love is not a means by which one can escape death.
Rather, the realist suggests that love must be pursued as it plays a role in life.
It does not deter death, as suggested in lines eleven and twelve, but it does occupy a particular and significant place in one’s life journey whose ultimate end is death. 9. That age is first, which is the best
10. When youth and blood are warmer
11. But being spent, the worse, and worst
12. Times still succeed the former Analysis Lines 13-16 13. Then be not coy, but use your time
14. And while ye may, go marry:
15. For having lost but once your prime,
16. You may for ever tarry. Here the speaker urges the virgins, who represent all those who are young and inexperienced, to pursue love and the “natural” union of matrimony that ensues within the Christian world. By urging marriage, the speaker introduces a religious and moral element to the pursuit of pleasure and the immediate gratification of one’s desires that the tenet of carpe diem suggests. The combination of Christianity and the carpe diem motif is singular to Robert Herrick, and has not been employed in conventional poetry.
Is this poem depressing? Or is it just realistic?