Seize the day – Robert Herrick comes back into my life 20 years after our first encounter

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“Conquer we shall,
but, we must first contend!
It’s not the fight that crowns us,
but the end’
– Robert Herrick

 

I saw this quoted on Twitter and looked up the author.

 

Robert Herrick was a 17th-century English lyric poet and cleric. He is best known for Hesperides, a book of poems. This includes the carpe diem poem “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time”, with the first line “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may”.
Wikipedia

 

Then I realized that I have come across this dude’s work before!

In Dead Poet’s Society! Robin Williams! One of my favorite movies of all time. It featured that poem, “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time.” I watched this when I was still at college, over 20 years ago.

Ima look it up.

“We are food for worms, lads. Believe it or not, each and every one of us in this room is one day going to stop breathing, turn cold, and die.”
Robin Williams as John Keating,
the unorthodox English in Dead Poets Society (1989)

 

I found several YouTube recordings…

 

 

While we speak, time is envious and is running away from us. Seize the day, trusting little in the future. Various permutations of the phrase appear in other ancient works of verse, including the expression “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.”

At the close of “De rosis nascentibus,” a poem attributed to both Ausonius and Virgil, the phrase “collige, virgo, rosas” appears, meaning “gather, girl, the roses.” The expression urges the young woman to enjoy life and the freedom of youth before it passes.

Since Horace, poets have regularly adapted the sentiment of carpe diem as a means to several ends, most notably for procuring the affections of a beloved by pointing out the fleeting nature of life, as in Andrew Marvell‘s “To His Coy Mistress”:
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapt power.

Other approaches to carpe diem encourage the reader to transcend the mundane, recognize the power of each moment, however brief, and value possibility for as long as possibility exists….

Many contemporary carpe diem poems offer reminders about life’s overlooked pleasures…. Carpe diem remains an enduring rhetorical device in poetry because it is a sentiment that possesses an elasticity of meaning, suggesting both possibility and futility.

Many poets have responded to the sentiment, engaging in poetic dialogues and arguments over its meaning and usefulness. Robert Frost briefly considers the notion of living in the present in a poem appropriately titled “Carpe Diem.” He concludes, however, that “The age-long theme is Age’s” and ends the poem with his own sentiment, that one should seize tomorrow, not today:

Popular Culture

In 2006, the heavy metal band, Avenged Sevenfold, who I’d never heard of till today, released a song titled “Seize the Day“.

The video has 47,428,522 views (22,816 Comments) and they have 4.45M subscribers on YouTube.

Lyrics
Seize the day or die regretting the time you lost
It’s empty and cold without you here, too many people to ache over
I see my vision burn, I feel my memories fade with time
But I’m too young to worry
These streets we travel on
Will undergo our same lost past
I found you here, now please just stay for a while
I can move on with you around
I hand you my mortal life, but will it be forever?
I’d do anything for a smile
Holding you ’til our time is done
We both know the day will come
But I don’t want to leave you
I see my vision burn
I feel my memories fade with time
But I’m too young to worry
A melody, a memory, or just one picture
Seize the day or die regretting the time you lost
It’s empty and cold without you here, too many people to ache over
Newborn life replacing all of us
Changing this fable we live in
No longer needed here so where do we go?
Will you take a journey tonight, follow me past the walls of death?
But girl, what if there is no eternal life?
I see my vision burn
I feel my memories fade with time
But I’m too young to worry
A melody, a memory, or just one picture
Seize the day or die regretting the time you lost
It’s empty and cold without you here, too many people to ache over
Trials in life, questions of us existing here
Don’t wanna die alone without you here
Please tell me what we have is real
So, what if I never hold you, yeah
Or kiss your lips again?
Woah, so I never want to leave you
And the memories of us to see I beg don’t leave me
Seize the day or die regretting the time you lost
It’s empty and cold without you here, too many people to ache over
Trials in life, questions of us existing here
Don’t wanna die alone without you here
Please tell me what we have is real
Silence you lost me, no chance for one more day
Silence you lost me, no chance for one more day [then continues in the background]
I stand here alone
Falling away from you, no chance to get back home
I stand here alone
Falling away from you, no chance to get back home

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Zachary Baker / Matthew Sanders / James Sullivan / Brian Jr. Haner
Seize the Day lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

 

MORE

And a graph…

Ok. I geeked out on this a little bit. Graph source Keywords Everywhere.

 

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