Please explain some of the literary devices in "To the Virgina, Make Much of Time."

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ms-mcgregor's profile pic

ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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This poem is considered one of the "Carpe Diem" poems. In Latin, carpe diem" is usually translated "seize the day." However, carpo in Latin can also refer to picking or plucking flowers or fruits, and this association goes well with the imagery he uses when he admonishes virgins to "gather ye rosebuds while ye may." In the first stanza, Herrick also employs personification when he says, "time is still a-flying" and "this same flower that smiles". The second stanza contains an allusion to the sun god, Helios, who each day raced his chariot across the sky. Herrick wirtes that ". . .the sun/ The higher he's a getting,/The sooner will his race be won. This also contains personification by comparing the sun to a racer. Herrick again uses personification when he implies that Time will always follow and bring the worst with it. The final imagery of the poem suggests that if virgins do not marry they will "forever tarry" or linger.

tpantuso's profile pic

tpantuso | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

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one thing at work is synecdoche where the flower is representing purity and youth.  this metaphor is carried throughout the poem through parallelism.