Saturday, November 10, 2012

"To the Virgins" (Robert Herrick)

This just in.  It just dawned on me that Robert Herrick's early 1600s poem, "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time," was surely an allusion to the Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25.  In the parable, as you recall, ten virgins are waiting on their hubby to come get married.  But when he comes, only five of them have kept their supply of oil ready.  It's a parable about being ready when the bridegroom (Christ) returns.

How foolish of me not to see the connection!  Here is the poem:

To the Virgins to Make Much of Time
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow 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 forever tarry.

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