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.
To All of Us
Every time I read your poem, I wonder why you named it to the virgins when the message is sent to all of us. We all have rosebuds of youth that are going to be there only once, and for this reason, they are so beautiful because nothing lasts forever and everything is going to decay and die in the end as you said:
“And this same flower that smiles today, tomorrow will be dying.” This may be the most bitter fact about human life and yet the sweetest. Nobody wants to be old, but losing youth bit by bit is even bitter. However, without being young and old, how could we ever appreciate being young, and how could we ever be different. So yes, it is the bittersweet fact of being a human; we all grow old and die.
I don’t want to sound tragic when I talk about the most beautiful phase of our lives and like Robert described it as the sun at its zenith, and he called it that age is best which is the first. Well, it is the best. We all know that when we are young, but we never really understand it until we grow old. We never really appreciate it until the days pass us by and start to leave their marks on our faces and our bodies. The more aches and pains we have let us cherish the old days and some of us even pretend to have gone back to live there, and they never return.
So we should follow Robert’s advice and live it up while we can while we are still young as he put it: “And while ye may go marry: For having lost but once your prime, you may forever tarry.” Well, a lot has changed since the time of dear Robert and marriage is not the only way of being together nowadays, but his point is to eat the fruits of our youth while they are still delicious on our tree because once they rot and fall, not even the animals that pass by us will fancy them. What a negative and sorrowful picture is that of being old! Yes, it is, but what is the point? What is the thing we should care about from all this positive or negative talk? What is being young?
Being young is being young. Each one of us will give it a definition to include themselves in its circle; I am not going to do that. Our friend Robert may have been stuck with the classic view of being young and old, to the age scale put by some big brains that had spent their life studying aging, but who cares. What matters of being young is to make it a highway ride to your old age to all your life as one. It is when you believe in something when you are young to grow old and find the thing you have been seeking all your life; it is when you plant something when you are young to grow old with your tree together and eat from its fruits; it is when you start building when you are young so that you have a roof to cover your head when you are old.
Nobody can tell you how to be young and what the best way to live is when you are young. It is you who can decide what you want to be and who you want to be; young or old, it matters not, and I will respect you, always. As long as you know where you are going, you should go wherever you want. Don’t follow me and don’t expect me to follow you. Dig in your own way and let me dig mine, and when our paths intersect one day, we will stop there, chat a little, and be proud of a life we have lived to the max young and old, and we have cared not about what people may say as we have done what we want. We will have lived and died true humans of whom we will be so proud.