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“Carpe Diem” in the Poems Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Oct 30th, 2021


Both these poems carry a sense of urgency and passing time. The stress is on the fact that if we do not live our life now, time will pass and we will never get those chances or that passion back, in other words ‘Carpe Diem’. The poets develop this sense of passion and ‘Carpe Diem’ using urgent and persuasive tones, exaggerated language to enhance the impact of what they’re saying and using passionate emphatic images.

All these combine together to create poems which are bold ,passionate and insist that the listener embrace life. Both of the poems celebrate youth and its energy and beauty and exhort the listener to not waste their time waiting and watching their lives pass. Although both poems carry the same theme and energy but Andre Marvell’s ‘To His Coy Mistress’ is a love poem, while Robert Herrick’s poem” To the Virgins, To make much of time” is a reminder to all that time waits for no man and takes youth and beauty with it.


The tone of both these poems is passionate and urgency. Both the poets insist that the readers embrace life. For example Andrew Marvell writes about how he hears ‘times winged chariot’ passing them by and ‘And now, like am’rous birds of prey,

Rather at once our time devour, ‘. These lines carry a sense of urgency and passion. The say to the listener our time is now or never. Robert Herrick’s poem carries the same urgent and passionate tone, he also reminds the listener of the fast passing time and the need to act now ‘Old time is still a-flying : And this same flower that smiles to-day To-morrow will be dying.’

The poems are also written in a very bold, confident and persuasive tone. Both the poets are sure about what they are saying and they are passionate about it. This surety and passion are what sustain and develop the theme of ‘Carpe Diem that runs through the poems. The poets want the listener to forget about their inhibitions and to live life so that there are no regrets.

Exaggerated Language

Both poems are filled with powerful and exaggerated metaphors and similes that bring forth the theme of ‘Carpe Diem’. Andrew Marvell develops the sense of urgency and passion by first describing how long he would wait for her if they just had time and then sharply contrasts this with the reality in which their only time is now and they must make the best possible use of it.

He uses the word ‘vegetable to describe his love initially, to stress on how slowly it would grow and develop ‘Vaster than empires, and more slow’. He than goes on how long he would take to admire each part of her body ‘An age at least to every part, And the last age should show your heart.’.The poet is using exaggerated language and dramatic images to explain to his love that he is not the one enforcing the urgency and also to increase the impact when he does ask her to be urgent, to seize the day.

The language in the later part of the poem is also exaggerated and again it serves to stress the theme of ‘Carpe Diem’. He talks about how he hears ‘times winged chariot passing by’ and ‘Thus, though we cannot make our sun Stand still, yet we will make him run.’ Even Robert Herrick uses this tool as he says to the listener to act now or otherwise ‘You may for ever tarry.’

Imagery Both poets use powerful and vivid imagery to build their theme of ‘Carpe Diem’. One of the most powerful imagery used by each is that of time flying by. Andrew Marvell compares passing time to a ‘winged chariot’ and Robert Herrick builds upon the imagery of time to stress on his theme by explaining how ‘Old time is still a-flying’.

Another piece of imagery which also stresses on the themes in the poems is that of the sun racing by. This image is linked to that of time and serves the same purpose.

Both these images serve the purpose of creating an atmosphere of time rushing by making it important to act in the present. Robert Herrick uses the image of a rosebud to emphasize his theme of passing time and ‘Carpe Diem’. The poet compares a beautiful fresh rosebud that is smiling today that will be dead tomorrow. This comparison again emphasizes the image of passing time and how important it is to act now.


Both these poems emphasize on the theme of ‘Carpe Diem’. They explain that time moves away fast and takes away with it beauty and passion which is why it is important to seize life now. Both poets use tone, language and imagery to develop their theme. They use these tool to compare what is possible now if they seize life today and the pointlessness and the waste in simply waiting for tomorrow.

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IvyPanda. 2021. ""Carpe Diem" in the Poems." October 30, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/carpe-diem-in-the-poems/.


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