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Corinna's Going A-Maying

Corinna's Going A-Maying


by Robert Herrick

Corinna's Going A-Maying Theme of Time

Here's the thing about time: it just doesn't quit. If you're Einstein, you can theorize about the relativity of time and how the universe is just one big co-op where the past, future, and present coexist. But for most of us, time is an unstoppable force that tick-tocks our way to dementia, disability, and death.

Sound grim? It's supposed to. Stanza 5 of "Corinna's Going A-Maying" lays the grim on thick in order to persuade Corinna to seize the present and live in the moment. It's a classic carpe diem moment, but even though the speaker obviously wants to get in Corinna's green-gown, his obsession with time also indicates a more universal fear that life will pass them by.

Questions About Time

  1. Does time get meaner when you're older? Does it speed up? How do you think the speaker would answer that? Corinna?
  2. Does it matter if you waste time when you're already old?
  3. What is the relationship between time and love in this poem? Is it the same as between time and lust?

Chew on This

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

The carpe diem theme of stanza 5 implies that sex is just one aspect of life.

The carpe diem theme of stanza 5 argues that physical pleasure is the main purpose of life.

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