Carpe Diem (255 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Note

  • Editors
  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume : WORLD HISTORY AND IDEAS: A CROSS-CULTURAL VOLUME.


A poem advising someone to “Seize the day”. Usually the genre is addressed by a man to a young woman who is urged to stop prevaricating in sexual or emotional matters. Marvel’s “To his Coy Mistress” is a famous example:

Had we but world enough, and time,
his coyness Lady were no crime.
We would sit down, and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love’s day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges side
Should’st rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood;
And you should if you please refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster then empires, and more slow.
An hundred years should go …

Editors. "Carpe Diem". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 November 2001
[, accessed 27 October 2016.]