Come, let us go while we are in our prime ;
And take the harmless folly of the time.
We shall grow old apace, and die
Before we know our liberty.
Our life is short, and our days run
As fast away as does the sun ;
And, as a vapour or a drop of rain
Once lost, can ne’er be found again,
So when or you or I are made
A fable, song, or fleeting shade,
All love, all liking, all delight
Lies drowned with us in endless night.
Then while time serves, and we are but decaying,
Come, my Corinna, come, let’s go a-Maying.
– Robert Herrick
Today is May Day. Images of Renaissance drenched floral leaflets on the heads of fair maidens is conjured in my mind and the well known Cavalier mantra to “Gather ye rosebuds as ye ‘may'” comes quickly to my lips. A spirit of carpe diem falls upon me, and I sigh in relief.
My senior year of high school, my favorite teacher introduced me to the joys of 16th and 17th century poets. I fell in love with the Metaphysics (John Donne, George Herbert, Andrew Marvell) and the Cavaliers (Robert Herrick, Ben Johnson, Richard Lovelace) alike. At various times in my life, I have embraced either the heavy, lofty scholasticism of the Metaphysics, or the merry-making, free spirit of the Cavaliers, both good in their own right, but equally lent to destruction if taken to the extreme.
The last three years have found me densely situated in the Metaphysics camp. I have studied, I have researched, I have written, I have entrenched myself in the world of academia. And I think in this, a small piece of me has died, or at least collected dust on some long-forgotten shelf of my existence. And so today, appropriately on the 1st of May, as I anticipate my release from the duties of scholarship and homework on my graduation May6th, I will celebrate carpe diem.
I don’t intend to dally in the world of hedonism for long, and certainly not to a point of folly, but I do intend to begin to enjoy the simple things in life: warm rays of sunshine on a spring day, the soothing fur of puppy dogs, the cool flavor of an ocean breeze, and the juicy joy of a ripe strawberry.
I hope, in this somehow, to find a few less gray hairs (both literally and proverbially speaking), and realizing that “a drop of rain once lost, can ne’er be found again,” begin to reclaim the pieces of me that became suppressed in my time of great Metaphysical pondering and labor.
I DO intend to bask in the old glory of writing for writing’s sake and to take up my pen and paper and go “everyday a-maying.”