Short Analysis of Robert Herrick’s To Daffodils

To Daffodils

by Robert Herrick

Fair Daffodils, we weep to see
You haste away so soon;
As yet the early-rising sun
Has not attain’d his noon.
Stay, stay,
Until the hasting day
Has run
But to the even-song;
And, having pray’d together, we
Will go with you along.

We have short time to stay, as you,
We have as short a spring;
As quick a growth to meet decay,
As you, or anything.
We die
As your hours do, and dry
Away,
Like to the summer’s rain;
Or as the pearls of morning’s dew,
Ne’er to be found again.

Surface meaning:

In his poem ‘To Daffodils’, the poet Robert Herrick begins by saying that we grieve to see the beautiful daffodils being wasted away very quickly. The duration of their gloom is so short that it seems even the rising sun still hasn’t reached the noon-time. Thus, in the very beginning he has struck a note of mourning at the fast dying of daffodils. The poet then addresses the daffodils and asks them to stay until the clay ends with the evening prayer. After praying together he says that they will also accompany the daffodils. This is so because like flowers, men too have a very transient life and even the youth is also very short-lived.

Deep meaning:

“We have short time to stay, as you, we have as short a spring.” Robert Herrick symbolically refers to the youth as spring in these lines. He equates/compares human life with the life of daffodils. Further he says that both of them grow very fast to be destroyed later. Just like the short duration of the flowers, men too die away soon. Their life is as short as the rain of the summer season, which comes for a very short time; and the dew-drops in the morning, which vanish away and never return again. Thus, the poet after comparing the flowers to humans, later turns to the objects of nature – he has compared the life of daffodils with summer rain, dew drops.

Themes:

  • the short-lived nature of life, the fleeting passage of time.
  • like the flowers we humans have a very short life in this world.
  • beauty is not going to stay forever.

Message:

Life is short, and world is beautiful, love is splendid and we must use the short time we live to make the most of it. This is shown in the words “haste”, “run”, “short” and “quick”.

35 thoughts on “Short Analysis of Robert Herrick’s To Daffodils

  1. thanxx 4 analysing this poem..u neatly analysed this poem..but if u tryed to analysed line by line like shakespeares poem.it will be better…with my respect..:D

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  2. In the first stanza the poet addresses the daffodils asking them not to die, to wait until prayer’s time. He also told them that the people also weep to see the daffodils start withering…etc.
    In the second stanza the poet linked the daffodils life to people’s life telling us that our life is shot too a the daffodils or the spring rain. It will end with death at any time, may be before what we expect… so we have to use it as much as we can before we lose it and thi can be the theme of the poem that the poet wants to convey to us…
    Sabri

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    • thank you sabri for your nice write up, now can you help me with one more answer?
      Q:What optimistic ideas do you have the pessimistic ideas of the poet?
      please answer soon

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      • Pessimistic ideas are: we have short life too, growth to decay, like anything… we die… all of them indicate that the poet believes that life is short and he will hide from this world…
        Optimistic ideas are: But to the evensong;
        And, having pray’d together, we
        Will go with you along. so he is optimisic that he will live more and does more worship for his God!
        This is according to my understanding, Dhrubo!

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    • it ‘ll help us in english elective paperin coming exam pray for us cox this the 1st time we’ll meet wis eng elective
      .INSHA_ALLAH

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  3. Your description abt’ To daffodils’ by robert herrick is actually simple.but it is very successful.you have used simple language to analys the poem.it is useful to understand the meaning of the poem & very helpful to student like us.thank u v much & wish u all the best…

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    • A BEAUTIFUL LITTLE POEM – IT HAS A DELIGHTFUL MUSICALITY. BUT IS MORE PESSIMISTIC THAN WORDSWORTH’S THOUGHTS ON THE SAME” SUBJECT, “AND THEN MY HEART WITH PLEASURE FILLS AND
      DANCES WITH THE DAFFODILS., thinks ralfie, WHO REMEM BERS THE WILD DAFFODILS IN ANNESLEY WOODS – D.H. LAWRENCE TERRITORY.

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  4. Pingback: Short Analysis of Robert Herrick’s To Daffodils | bunpeiris Literature and Gleanings

  5. Those who infer that the poem encourages the reader to spend his fleeting days wisely are superimposing their own assumptions on the text. The poem is much more bitter, cynical and reactionary than that. Life is fleeting and death is inevitable: that much can be read into the poem. But there is also an agnostic tone. Man is no more than transitory vegetation on the face of the earth with no control over the forces (weather) affecting his life and no control over his own destiny. Religious faith is futile, for despite praying at evensong we’re all obliged to die, and there can be no hope of an afterlife for after death we ‘dry away … ne’er to be found again.’ The poem can be usefully critiqued by contrasting it with Solomon – ‘consider the lilies of the field’ or with the Romantic approach of Wordsworth. The context of Jacobean England is important, too.

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