‘Gather ye rosebuds while ye may’: Herrick’s classic carpe diem poem
‘Gather ye rosebuds while ye may’ has become synonymous with the Latin sentiment expressed by Horace: carpe diem, ‘seize the day’. Don’t tarry or waste time: you get just one life, so grasp the nettle and make the most of it. In his poem ‘To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time’ – often known by that ‘Gather ye rosebuds’ first line – Robert Herrick brilliantly captures the ‘seize the day’ sentiment. Here is the poem, with a short analysis of it:
Gather ye rose-buds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.