Introduction

Through the poem, the poet while expressing his delight and fondness for blossoms showcases the reality of life and fate.

About the Poet

Robert Herrick was born in Cheapside, London. In 1607, he became apprenticed to his uncle, Sir William Herrick, who was a goldsmith and jeweller to the king. The apprenticeship ended after only six years when Herrick, at age of twenty-two, matriculated at St John’s College, Cambridge. He graduated in 1617. He spent some time preparing his lyric poems for publication, and had them printed in 1648 under the title Hesperides; or the Works Both Human and Divine of Robert Herrick, with a dedication to the Prince of Wales.

Theme

The human entity is frequently compared to blossoms that fade away quickly. We wish the blossoms would remain forever, but they do not.

Stanza I

Fair pledges of a fruitful tree,
Why do ye fall so fast ?
Your date is not so past
But you may stay yet here a while,
To blush and gently smile;
And go at last.

The despondent poet addresses the blossoms and enquires about the warrant behind their early departure. He believes that they still have time left to live and thrive and wishes for them to lengthen their stay. He asks the blossoms to bloom fully and blush and smile before they wither away. The subtle implication here is to humankind. The poet implies that one must fully enjoy the little time they have in life, smiling and thriving, as everyone is here for a limited span.

Stanza II

What ! were ye born to be
An hour or half’s delight,
And so to bid goodnight?
‘Twas pity Nature brought ye forth
Merely to show your worth,
And lose you quite.

The poet marvels at the reality where these beautiful blossoms are born for such a short time before they bid farewell. He expresses pity that nature blooms and flaunts such beauty only for it to wither away after a while. Suppose the world was a tree, and the people were all flowers, they each put in such great effort to make their lives beautiful, the world beautiful and although they might succeed, eventually their existence fades away.

Stanza III

But you are lovely leaves, where we
May read how soon things have
Their end, though ne’er so brave:
And after they have shown their pride
Like you a while, they glide
Into the grave.

Alongside the sad reality of mortality, it can not be denied that the flowers are lovely and enchanting, just like life. However, each element, whether flowers or human beings, has its fixed life span and after it has served that period it must depart.