To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time (Gather ye rosebuds)
Playful and Optimistic
Even if you haven't read our "Sound Check" section for this poem, you can't help noticing that it has a certain singsong, nursery-rhyme quality to it. The short, four-line stanzas rhyming ABAB give it a playful, fun, optimistic feel that is a distinguishing feature of Herrick's style, especially in the volume that contains "To the Virgins," Hesperides (1648). Critics and scholars have often noted this aspect of Herrick's poetry, in large part because it contrasts with the more serious tone and more difficult verse of some of his fellow seventeenth century poets like John Milton, John Donne, and Andrew Marvell. Herrick is definitely one of the more reader-friendly poets of this group.