What are some examples of figurative language in the poem "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time"?

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The first line of the poem advises the hearer to "Gather ye rose-buds while ye may" (line 1).  Here, the narrator assumes a youthful audience, and he cautions her to symbolically collect lovers (rose-buds) now.  Time passes quickly, the narrator says, and, soon, this lover will be growing old too. 

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The first line of the poem advises the hearer to "Gather ye rose-buds while ye may" (line 1).  Here, the narrator assumes a youthful audience, and he cautions her to symbolically collect lovers (rose-buds) now.  Time passes quickly, the narrator says, and, soon, this lover will be growing old too. 

The narrator uses a metaphor to compare the sun to a celestial lamp (5), personifying the sun as well by calling it a "he" and comparing his course across the sky during the day to a "race," another metaphor (6, 7).  Here, the day is being used as a symbol of a human lifespan: sunrise is birth, sunset is death.  Youth passes quickly, and, before we know it, we are near the end of our "day," and we grow old and die.

The narrator says, then, that youth is best, that "blood [is] warmer"; this is figurative as well because our blood isn't actually any hotter when we are younger.  He is referring to passion (substituting warmth by using a device known as metonymy); we are more passionate when we are young.  Then, as our passion fades, we age, and things get worse and worse for us.

Ultimately, there is quite a bit of figurative language in the poem: symbols, metaphors, personification, and metonymy. 

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