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Corinna's Going A-Maying

Corinna's Going A-Maying


by Robert Herrick

Corinna's Going A-Maying Theme of Inertia

Let's face it: she may be beautiful, she may be brilliant, she may be nicer than Santa Claus. But Corinna is kind of a drag. In fact, she's pretty much dead weight—the lazy, sleepy center of a poem that's crackling with motion. Outside nature is going a mile a minute, bringing in the dawn, closing up the night, and the humans are holding their own. Up with the roosters, the village youth have already gathered branches, eaten cake, and started planning their futures. Marriage at 9am, anyone? On a stylistic level, repetition and enjambment keep the lines racing along.

Only Corinna is still. And while sleeping in might feel really good, "Corinna's Going A-Maying" makes it clear that laziness is a one-way ticket out of a happy life. You can sleep when you're dead, folks. Life is about actively seeking out wonderful experiences.

Questions About Inertia

  1. Why is it so important that Corinna come a-Maying? 
  2. What about nature makes it not lazy, at least, according to Herrick?
  3. Is inertia or laziness always a sin? Or just on May Day?
  4. How do stylistic effects, like rhythm, rhyme, and rhetoric, reflect the speaker's urgency?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Going a-Maying is a metaphor for going a-lifing: a.k.a., living life to its fullest.

According to "Corinna," laziness is a bigger sin than not being religious.

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