248. To the Virgins, to make much of Time

Robert Herrick. 1591-1674

GATHER ye rosebuds while ye may,
  Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
  To-morrow 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 marry:
For having lost but once your prime,
  You may for ever tarry.

The Oxford Book of English Verse, HTML edition