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Poetry Analysis: Essay Three [23 out of 25, 2000/2001]

Image of the fifth and final marked page of Chris Larham's poetry essay (23 out of 25, 2000/2001).

Throughout ‘To Virgins’, Robert Herrick employs an ‘abab’ rhyme scheme, coupled with an ‘8787’ syllable mix, in each of the four compact stanzas, to put forward his ‘while you’ve got it, flaunt it’ message. Versification is very ordered throughout the poem; Herrick knows what he wants to say, and the desired tone in which to say it – this assuredness in his own mind helps make the poem more persuasive. The stanzas are all one-sentence long, with a colon or a semi-colon joining the two contrasting parts after the opening two lines (the apparently limitless youthful opportunities in love and relationships/the aged loss of beauty and chances). Written from a third person perspective, ‘To Virgins’ comes across in a fun, playful ballad form that is reminiscent of youth. Such a free-flowing style makes the idea of losing one’s virginity seem trivial – not the massive, life-changing event that it is usually considered-and advised- to be. Herrick uses this style to good effect: in using it to convey his words of advice, the virgins will think that love and relationships are something to be enjoyed while youth is on their side; the ease with which the poem runs will encourage them to relax and enjoy themselves.[…]

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Posted in AS Level English [A1]