Herrick: To The Virgins

Clergyman and poet, Robert Herrick was born in London in 1591.

In 1623 he was ordained a priest. By 1625 he was well known as a poet, mixing in literary circles in London such as that of Ben Jonson. In 1629 he was assigned by Charles I to Dean Prior, a remote parish of Devonshire. Because of his Royalist sympathies, he was ejected from Devonshire in 1647.

He then returned to London. He was distinguished as a lyric poet, and some of his love songs, for example, To Anthea and Gather Ye Rose-buds are considered exceptional.

In 1660 he was reinstated at Dean Prior where he lived for the remainder of his life. He wrote no more poems after 1648.

He died in 1674 and is buried in an unmarked grave in the churchyard at Dean Prior.

To the Virgins, To Make Much of Time

by Robert HerrickGATHER 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,
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;
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,
You may for ever tarry.