Robert Herrick's subtle poem, "Corrina's Going A-Maying," reveals much about conflicting human values.  It's also, in part, a poem about spring.  

Respond to one of the following questions through the online discussion, and then respond to one of your classmates.  Be sure to use textual evidence to support your claims.

  • In the speaker's mind, what are the chief characteristics of spring?  Why is spring important to him?   

  • What opportunities does spring provide?  Why are those opportunities important?

  • What does the poem say about seizing the day and taking advantage of the abundant opportunities life affords?

  • What shift occurs in the poem?  What purpose does this serve?
     
  • Which allusions made by the author best promote the theme?  How?
Kelti Lorence
9/26/2012 04:54:53 am

"What shift occurs in the poem? What purpose does this serve?"

The poem starts out talking of spring, when everyything and everyone feels like a child again and is full of energy. The parks are "trimmed with green" and he is urging whoever he is talking to to come pick flowers with him, skipping prayers and enjoying life while they are still young enough to do so. While asking at the beginning, he turns to more drastic measures of bribery in the last stanza. The tone becomes darker as he tells how their days "slip away faster than the sun" and how they will soon grow old and die. They need to enjoy their youth before this happens. The change in tone here is effective because it goes from happy to serious, and kind of shocks the reader into focusing on what he is trying to get across.

Reply
Mackenzie
9/26/2012 11:43:22 am

Kelti, this was well written and you provided good examples from the poem. I also like how you mentioned 'bribery', I didn't really think of it like that.

Reply
Celeste Y.
9/26/2012 07:30:34 am

What opportunities does spring provide? Why are those opportunities important?
The opportunities that spring provides are those of new beginnings. The flowers become new, the animals mate, the trees grow new leaves, and new life is everywhere. Spring provides a chance to start fresh just like the plants do. It gives people a new hope for love, life, and basically anything they want. These are important because they give hope. They give people the thought that they can start again. They can become new. Herrick explores this idea of starting new with his poem. In line 16 “to come forth, like springtime, fresh and green.” To me it says hey spring is a time for starting fresh and new come with me and let’s starts fresh together.

Reply
Hannah H
9/26/2012 07:40:03 am

Celeste, I thought that this was very well expressed. Spring does provide new beginings, and a chance to start fresh! I thought it was really good that you included that it gives hope, because the speaker is so hopeful throughout the poem. I think you could have expanded on why the opportuinties were important more, and maybe included some more quotes. But the intent was spot on! good job.

Reply
Hannah H
9/26/2012 07:31:30 am

•What shift occurs in the poem? Why purpose does this serve?

The poem starts out with the speaker expressing a hopeful, encouraging, but urgent tone. Quotes like, "Whenas a thousand virgins on this day Spring sooner than the lark, to fetch in May." Or, "Come forth like spring time, fresh and green." express a light and lively message that is meant to encourage "Corinna" to seize the day; to spring forth anew, like spring. But as the poem comes to an end the tone changes and becomes urgent, and desperate. By saying" let us go while we are in our prime." and " We shall grow old apace and die" this desperate tone is created, The speaker begs and becomes harshly truthful in order to convince Corinna to "go a-Maying" by revealing, "Our life is short, and our days run as fast away as does the sun;" and "once lost, can never be found again". Becarse Corinna did not respond to the light, encouraging words of the speaker, the speaker is forced to try a new approach that will grasp Corinna attention, as well as the reader and hopefully cause them to respond to the message the speaker is trying to express.

Reply
Celeste Y
9/26/2012 07:39:01 am

I agree with you Hannah, I really think you chose great quotes to support your argument.

Reply
9/26/2012 12:01:38 pm

Great job describing the tone shift! You used good quotes to back up your ideas and you presented the whole thing very concisely. Your description helped clarify the purpose of the tone shift. I liked your way of contrasting the light and lively tone that continued through most of the poem with the more sad, dim, and harsh tone that fills the last stanza.

Reply
Mackenzie Cyr
9/26/2012 11:36:25 am

•What does the poem say about seizing the day and taking advantage of the abundant opportunities life affords?

In the poem, 'Corrina's Going A-Maying', the poem says a lot about 'seizing the day' and living life to the fullest. It speaks of 'youth' and getting outside and enjoying the beauty of springtime. In line 61, it says 'Our life is short, and our days run/ As fast away as does the sun; And, as a vapor or a drop of rain.' This says to readers that life is going fast and one should not be scared to take risks and have fun. The poem ends with, ' Then while time serves, and we are but decaying, Come my Corinna, come, let's go a-Maying.' , saying that everyday people are slowly dying, so do not waste time time while one is young, and just have fun.

Reply
Mary Sine
9/26/2012 11:47:49 am

Mackenzie, I think you made some great points and the quotes you used to support your argument were really good.

Reply
9/26/2012 11:52:29 am

"What does the poem say about seizing the day and taking advantage of the abundant opportunities life affords?"

The poem seems to say two things about "seizing the day." The one that occurs most often is the idea that surrounding nature is so beautiful that to miss it is practically a sin. The speaker most clearly relates this in lines 11 and 12: "...'tis sin,/ Nay, profanation to keep in..." Line 41 has a similar effect -- "And sin no more, as we have done, by staying..." -- as do lines 37-38: "Can such delights be in the street/ And open fields, and we not see 't?" All of these lines express that the beauty that life offers is too great to miss. The speaker emphasizes this fact by using very vivid imagery all throughout the poem, and especially in the first three stanzas. For instance, the speaker tells his lover to "...see/ The dew bespangling herb and tree./ Each flower has wept and bowed toward the east..." Using personification and vivid word choice, the speaker paints a picture full of light and flower blossoms. There is a particular emphasis on the fact that it is spring, and the speaker continually makes references to the dawn and the sun, all of which bring to mind new life. Such vivid imagery is used to simultaneously draw the reader in and to show that life should be lived to fullest now.

The other thing that this poem seems to be saying about seizing the day revolves around an assertion made in the last stanza: Life is short. "Seize the day now, while it lasts!" the speaker seems to say. For, in the speakers words, "Our life is short, and our days run/ As fast away as does the sun;/ And, as a vapor or a drop of rain/ Once lost can ne'er be found again..." In the last two lines of the poem, the speaker seems to most clearly convey this idea about seizing the day: "Then while the time serves, and we are but decaying,/ Come, my Corinna, come, let's go a-Maying." It a sobering conclusion when compared with the joyfulness and light that the poem first portrayed.

Reply
Emily
9/26/2012 05:43:34 pm

Hannah, I like how you said what you heard the speaker saying through the poem. It sums it up perfectly.

Reply
Mary Sine
9/26/2012 12:28:48 pm

In the speaker's mind, what are the chief characteristics of spring? Why is spring so important to him?

In the speaker's mind, the chief characteristics of spring are probably the renewal of life that happens at spring when all of the plants start to grow again. He probably also thinks that the warmer weather, and the mating season that spring is in the animal world are also characteristics of spring. For instance, in line 16 he says, "To come forth, like the springtime, fresh and green," so obviously, the fresh, green life in spring is something that he thinks is important to spring. He also mentions marriage, which can be associated with both the renewal and the mating. Spring is important to him because its a time for renewal of life, a time to enjoy living and to not worry about consequences or religion. He says in line 27, "Few beads are best once we go a-Maying." By beads, he is probably referring to the Rosary in Catholicism, and he is saying that in spring, especially on May Day, not to worry about constrictions like the church doctrine, but to live and seize the day.

Reply
Kendall
9/26/2012 01:02:43 pm

I really liked your answer to this question Mary! I really think you fully caputured the entire question and your quotes from the text really helped support your idea. Great job!

Reply
Kendall
9/26/2012 12:58:02 pm

What shift occurs in the poem? What purpose does this serve?

For the first three stanzas the speaker presents the poem with a lively fresh tone. Using the spring holiday and all the beautiful features with it helps create such tone. When Herrick writes "See how Auroa throws her fair Fresh-quilted colors through the air" He capitalizes the "F" in fresh. This shows he is pushing this fresh, lively tone on the reader. In the stanzas that follow there is a shift in tone. This shift is the shift from a lively, fresh tone in presauding Corinna to go and take advantage of life, to a desperate tone. The author begins to try and presaude Corinna by talking about how quickly life is flying by so she needs to enjoy and take advantage of every thing in her life now. "We shall grow old apace, and die Before we know our liberty" is a great example of the shift from a lively tone to a desperate tone.

Reply
Ariana
9/26/2012 02:51:11 pm

Kendall, I liked the quotes that you used; they provide good evidence for your ideas. I completely agree with you on how it changes from a lively tone to desperate tone. Good job!

Reply
Trevor
9/26/2012 05:52:39 pm

I like how you noted the very small details, such as the capital F in Fresh. It added a lot to your response.

Reply
Brady
9/26/2012 06:32:47 pm

I didn't notice those little details like the capital "F". These little details change the tone and add to the meaning if you can notice and find them.

Ariana
9/26/2012 02:47:48 pm

What does the poem say about seizing the day and taking advantage of the abundant opportunities life affords?

In the poem “ Corinna's Going A-Maying” it talks about seizing the day and taking advantage in the opportunities that life gives you. In the last stanza it states, “ Our life is short, and our days run as fast away as the sun”. This line is saying that our life here on Earth will go by quickly and and that you need to live life to the fullest take risks, explore the world and make memories with the ones you love. In line 69, it states that before you grow old and time runs out you should seize the day. “ Then while time serves, and we are but decaying, Come my Corinna, come, lets go a-Maying”.

Reply
Megan Wall
9/26/2012 05:43:54 pm

I agree with what you're saying! Good interpretations! The last quote you end with is a very powerful one that truly captures the entire theme of the poem.

Reply
Sam Farmer
9/27/2012 07:52:43 am

Ariana, the quote you used, "Then while time serves, and we are but decaying," strongly helped to contribute to your interpretation of the poem's theme. I love how you talked about taking risks and making memories too. The Author seemed to make an impact on any young reader.

Reply
Megan Wall
9/26/2012 05:41:12 pm

Spring, a time when life emerges from that which was seemingly dead and new life takes over dreariness. The diction used in line one to depict the sunrise, the beginning of a new day, is described with two words, “blooming morn.” With these two simple words an entire image of light overtaking the former darkness of the night sky is painted. The word “bloom” depicts light gradually creeping over the sky, removing all darkness, but it also is a word that describes the development of flowers in the springtime. With new life springing up everywhere, spring gives a chance for life, new beginnings, and a fresh perspective. Spring also offers a chance of joy. Just as the season of spring is exciting, yet quick, so is a person’s life, so the poem’s theme is to not waste time worrying or sleeping in and missing it. Line 28 echoes the need to forget about worries and trying to do things perfectly, “Few beads are best when once we go a-Maying.” The allusion to “beads,” is a reference to the Catholic prayer beads, so this statement implies that life should be about fun, not spent on trying to always be perfect and do the right things, seeing as prayer is a key to the Catholic religion.
If the opportunities of a fresh start and a chance of joy are not taken hold of, then a chance of a new beginning and satiating joy are lost. Lines 7-9 read, “Each flower has wept and bowed toward the east Above an hour since, yet you not dressed; Nay, not so much as out of bed?” By asking these questions in with an astonished tone, the speaker implies that it is an abomination to not be thankful or happy when spring rolls around, because life, like the season of spring is short. Lines 7-9 also imply that because it is a new day we need to seize it and not sleep it away. The opportunities of the spring are important because they can bring joy and life.

Reply
Emily
9/26/2012 05:41:35 pm

What does the poem say about seizing the day and taking advantage of the abundant opportunities life affords?

The poem says that you need to go out and live instead of focusing on things that you know you'll have your whole life to enjoy, like religion, because one day you'll be old and frail and then die regretting not having gone and enjoyed life.

Reply
Trevor
9/26/2012 05:49:43 pm

What shift occurs in the poem? Why purpose does this serve?

In "Coinna’s Going A-Maying" there is an interesting shift that happens through out the poem. In the beginning, the speaker uses an encouraging tone. When Robert Herrick says, “Rise, and put on your foliage” he gives a bright, encouraging feel to his writing. At the end of every stanza, the speaker moves away from the encouraging feel and dives into a dark, desperate feel. The shift from an encouraging feel to a desperate feel tells the reader that the speaker is sick of his lover laying around and not doing anything with her life. He wants her to get out and enjoy the world with him before they get to old.

Reply
Brady
9/26/2012 06:29:03 pm

What does the poem say about seizing the day and taking advantage of the abundant opportunities life affords?

This poem is saying to go out and live the world because you can never get back lost time. The speaker states "all the birds have matins said". He is telling his lover that she doesn't have to spend time saying her prayers because the birds have already said them. He then goes on to say "a drop of rain once lost, can ne'er be found again". This is reinforcing the idea of you can't get back lost time.

Reply
Carley
9/26/2012 06:51:29 pm

You have a very solid idea going there with ample support from the text, but do you think there's any other spots in the poem where the text defends your idea? (like in the last stanza)

Reply
Carley
9/26/2012 06:48:53 pm

What shift occurs in the poem? Why purpose does this serve?
In "Corrina's going A-Maying", Herrick creates many noticeable shifts in the speaker's tone throughout the poem. In the beginning of the poem, the speaker is affectionate, yet slightly annoyed that his lover/girlfriend (whatever you want to call her) won't get out of bed. He refers to her as a "sweet slug-a-bed" and tells her "Each flower has wept and bow'd toward the east. Above an hour since: yet you not dress'd;" By this, he's pretty much telling her that even the flowers are up and have done something, but you haven't. From the next stanza, the speaker seems excited and happy that it's spring time so they can "come forth, like the spring-time, fresh and green, And sweet as Flora."However, towards the end of the poem, it's become apparent why the speaker is so insistent on Corinna getting out of bed so they can go enjoy spring. By telling her "Our life is short, and our days run As fast away as does the sun", a desperation to enjoy life while they're still able to is practically thrown upon the reader. His desire to live out their lives together to the fullest while they still can is even carried out to the last two lines with him (the speaker) pleading, "Then while time serves, and we are but decaying, Come, my Corinna, come, let's go a-Maying."

Reply
Jacob Jones
9/26/2012 07:33:11 pm

I agree with you when you said that he is annoyed. You have good examples and quotes from the poem.

Reply
Jacob Jones
9/26/2012 07:25:25 pm

What shift occurs in the poem? Why purpose does this serve?
The poem starts in the month of May, which is the time of spring. It is the month where everything is starting to grow again. The beginning of the poem in a joyful tone, because everything is “fresh and green.” Then the poem switches to a tone where they are running out of time. The poem says that “How each field turns a street, each street a park” so they must be watching all of the changes that are going on around them. Finally the shift occurs when the poem says, “Come, let us go while we are in our prime,” meaning that they are getting old and do not want to waste any more of their lives acting like they are young when they are growing old “decaying.” The purpose of the shift is to change the tone of the poem to a more desperate tone, compared to the joyful tone in the beginning of the poem.

Reply
Tristan
9/27/2012 02:32:03 pm

I like the way you spotted the different shifts in the same areas I did but interpreted them differently. It shows how diverse poem interpretations can be.

Reply
Sam Farmer
9/27/2012 07:47:43 am

What does the poem say about seizing the day and taking advantage of the abundant opportunities life affords?

Robert Herrick’s poem, “Corinna’s Going A-Maying,” focuses on seizing the day and taking advantage of what life offers. He creates a story in which one of the characters in anxious and wants to enjoy life before it’s too late. The setting is a beautiful spring morning full of new life and opportunities. Corinna’s lover in the poem is full of excitement and tries to rub off on her and get her out of bed. Her lover tells her, “Come, let us go while we are in our prime”, which hints to readers of their youth. He continues with, “Our life is short, and our days run,” which illustrates how fast life passes by. The author is sending a message to the young readers who come across his poem, to live life to the fullest and jump at new beginnings.

Reply
Tristan Rude
9/27/2012 02:28:00 pm

In the poem there are two places where a shift occurs, at approximately lines 30 and 57. At line 30 the speaker switches his main focus from chiding Corinna for being a "slug-a-bed" to describing the day. "[See] how each field turns a street... an ark, a tabernacle is made up of whitethorn neatly interwove... many a kiss, both odd end even". Line 50 turns to describing how short life is, "We shall grow old apace, and die... our life is short, and our days run... Then while time serves, and we are but decaying".

These shifts serve to add to the "Carpe Diem" aspect of the poem. The first describes the day that is to be seized; the second tells of how short life is, this is why the day should be seized.

Reply
Lacayah
9/27/2012 08:41:41 pm

In this thematic poem, one can easily see that the theme is 'carpe diem' or seizing the day. This is evident through phrases like "Get up, sweet slug-a-bed, and see / The dew bespangling herb and tree", and "'tis sin, / Nay, profanation to keep in." that are telling Corinna that there's so much to do and to see and there's not a whole lot of time to do it. The idea of seizing the day today and not tomorrow is shown when the speaker says things like "let us go while we are in our prime," and "Once lost, can ne'er be found again." Further proving that the overall message is that life is too short to waste time that could be spent seeing and experienceing so much.

Reply
Lacayah
9/27/2012 08:43:20 pm

Answering the 3rd one

Reply



Leave a Reply.