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Love Poems: Gather Ye Rosebuds


Because Valentine's Day is imminent, here are two love poems popular with Robert Herrick (1591-1674).

"The Wounded Cupid Song" By Anacreon (6th Century BC), translated by Herrick.

Cupid as he lay among

Roses, by a bee was stung.

Whereupon in anger, flying

To his mother, said thus, crying;

Help! O help! Your boy's a dying.

And why, my pretty lad, said she?

Then blubbering, replied he,

A winded snake has bitten me,

Which country people call a bee.

At which she smil'd; then with her hairs

And kisses drying up his tears:

Alas! Said she, my wag! If this

Such a pernicious torment is:

Come, tell me then, how great's the smart

Of those thou woundest with thy dart!

Our next poem is entitled "To the Virgins: To Make Much of Time" written by Herrick.

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,

Old Time is still a-flying:

And the same flower that smiles today

Tomorrow will be dying.

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.

That age is best, which is the first,

When youth and blood are warmer;

But being spent, the worse, and worst

Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,

And while ye may, go merry:

For having lost but once your prime,

You may forever tarry.

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