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To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time (Gather ye rosebuds)
To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time (Gather ye rosebuds)
by Robert Herrick

Sound Check

Read this poem aloud. What do you hear?

There's no getting around the singsong, almost nursery-rhyme quality of this poem. "Gather ye rosebuds…" also sounds moralistic and profound, like something Forrest Gump would say. It's simple, really (just like "life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get"), and you really can't argue with its message: get busy living, or get busy dying (see our "Speaker" section).

So "To the Virgins" has this wisdom to it, and it's also pretty no-nonsense. There's no crazy Robin Williams-style passion or excitement in the poem; it's more of an objective statement of facts. Imagine you're trying to decide whether to take a summer job. It's in the middle of nowhere, but it would look great on your resume. "To the Virgins" sounds like the kind of solid advice your father might give (although maybe not quite in the same style). He's good at helping you see both sides of every story with his peculiar gift for objective, unbiased thinking.

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