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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

Stanza 2 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Lines 5-8

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he's a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he's to setting.

  • The speaker continues with another example of the passage of time.
  • The higher the sun gets (the further west it moves), the "sooner" will its journey be over, because it's "nearer" to "setting."
  • The speaker calls the sun a "glorious lamp" because it gives off light.
  • "A-getting" is just an older or poetic way of saying "getting."
  • The sun isn't actually running a race; "race" can mean "journey, voyage, path."
  • The progress of the sun through the sky, which is how we measure a day, recalls the first stanza's discussion of "today" and "tomorrow."

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