gather rosebuds

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From the first line of "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time" (inspired by Wisdom 2:8) by Robert Herrick (1591-1674):

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.


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gather rosebuds (third-person singular simple present gathers rosebuds, present participle gathering rosebuds, simple past and past participle gathered rosebuds)

  1. (idiomatic) To enjoy life's immediate pleasures; to behave in a relaxed, carefree manner.
    • 1890, Louis Napoleon Parker, St. George and the Dragon, Act 1, p. 2 (Google books):
      Pottleby: I like to see young people enjoying their youth—gathering rosebuds.
    • 1995, John F. Deane, Flightlines, page 117:
      Gather rosebuds, Gráinne, gather rosebuds. Look at your moths and butterflies and think of possibilities, think of love, Gráinne, think of open spaces and freedom and love.
    • 2001 September 10, Garrison Keillor, “In Praise of Laziness”, in Time, retrieved 5 April 2015:
      But the sun shines on me still, and like any other poet I am gathering rosebuds while I may, for the glory of flowers too soon is past and summer hath too short a lease.
    • 2009 December 28, John Tierney, “Carpe Diem? Maybe Tomorrow”, in New York Times, retrieved 5 April 2015:
      . . . Or the poets who have kept turning out exhortations to seize the day and gather rosebuds.
    • 2011 April 22, Tris McCall, “CD Reviews: Helplessness Blues”, in, retrieved 5 April 2015:
      “Fleet Foxes” meandered and gathered rosebuds and killed time, but it also announced the arrival of a significant young songwriter.