Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May

I’m in the process of writing a book about Robert Herrick (who thesedays is often called a second rate poet. Herrick was born in 1591 and died in 1674 at the age of 84; quite remarkable considering that he lived through the English civil war and the Black Death).

For the cover of the book I’m going to use part of a painting by John William Waterhouse. It was done in 1909 and is called ‘Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May’, inspired by the Robert Herrick poem, To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time, which contains some of the best known lines in English poetry:

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.

John William Waterhouse (1849 – 1917) was an Englishman who painted in the Pre-Raphaelite style. I think he is much underrated (you can find out more about him here). Here’s ‘Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May’, followed by a closer detail of the two young women. See what you think…

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