To The Virgins, And To His Coy Mistress

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Opportunity isn’t a tangible item that you can pocket and save for later, it comes around once in a lifetime. When the speaker addresses the “virgins” in, “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time,” by Robert Herrick, he uses visual imagery, an extended metaphor, and personification to express his optimistic outlook towards the idea of seizing opportunity, or “Carpe Diem.” In Andrew Marvell’s poem, “To his Coy Mistress,” the speaker describes the same subject, namely that life should be lived to its fullest but through a contrasting perspective of pessimism. that the listener isn’t living their life to the fullest. Through the use of auditory imagery and allusions, Marvell is able to portray his pessimistic attitude that one must seize every opportunity to live life to the fullest because it life can end any minute. Both poems address the idea of seizing opportunity and living life to its fullest, but from different perspectives – one positive and optimistic, one negative through pessimism. The poems are similar because they both speak of love and seizing opportunity. Herrick’s first stanza begins by stating, “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may/ Old-time is still a-flying” (lines 1-2). What these lines portray is we must seize opportunity as we can because time is always moving and doesn’t slow down for anyone. Through the visual imagery of “gathering rosebuds,” the rosebuds are a symbol for purity and innocence we can draw the conclusion that the speaker is telling the virgins they are innocent and pure, but soon they will bloom and that is when life should be lived to the fullest, for example by having sex, marrying and having a family. He continues the first stanza by personifying a flower with the ability to smile – the bloom, and he states, “And this same flower that smiles to-day/ To-morrow will be dying” (lines 3-4). From this statement, the reader
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