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To His Coy Mistress
To His Coy Mistress is a Poem written by Andrew Marvell. The poem is split in three stanzas each representing a different stage of life. It is written in iambic tetrameter, meaning that the lines consist of four iambs. Furthermore, the poem contains couplet rhymes; "Had we but world enough and time, This coyness, Lady were no crime" (l.1-2). The poem is a monologue and can be considered as a one-way plea as there is no reply. Ultimately the poem is a plea written to a girl a man loves.
As mentioned each stanza express a different stage in life. I the first stanza the various ways to which a man would love a woman in the case that there was no more time left in the world is depicted. The immensity of the man's love is portrayed by the narrator through metaphors and hyperboles: "An hundred years should go to praise Thine eyes and on thy forehead gaze; Two hundred to adore each breast, But thirty thousand to the rest"(l13-16). He uses these hyperboles to convince the woman of his love to her - exaggeration promotes understanding. Though the first stanza has this platonic angle on love, it also implies an urge for physical love by praising the woman's body.
The second stanza illustrates the flow of time while showing his regret that death can't provide the same enjoyments of life: "My echoing song; then worms shall try that long preserved virginity, and your quaint honour turn to dust, and into ashes all my lust: The grave's a fine and private place, but none, i think, do there embrace." (l.27-32).
The third stanza reaffirm the invitation he gave to his love. He implores her to answer his invitation so they can enjoy the final time on earth together. Though the couple is still young, pretty and lively, he menaces that his longing for her might not last forever: "Now therefore, while the youthful hue Sits on thy skin like morning dew, And while thy willing soul transpires At every pore with instant fires, Now let us sport us while we may" (ll.33-37).
The narrators purpose is to persuade his "coy mistress" to remove the shyness in favor of enjoying the sexual way of love and to do it while both are young. It is interesting that the poet doesn't make this plea himself but voices another man's wishes, which is also indicated in the title.
It consists of forty six lines and rhymes in couplets: "My vegetable love should grow Vaster than empires, and more slow"(l.11-12). It also uses a metrical rhythm and is partly written in iambic tetrameter (4 iambs in a line) using an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed: "Had we but world enough, and time"(l.1).
The characters only exist of the poet/narrator and the woman to whom the letter is written. As the poet is the narrator it can be difficult to decide who makes the invitation but as mentioned, the title by using a possessive pronoun (his) suggests that the poet becomes the voice of another person who makes the plea. It is therefore interesting that the poem is written in first person narration. Throughout the poem it becomes clear that the man is in a hurry. He believes that the time on earth is brief and therefore he must enjoy his life while he can. He is very passionate and romantic which generally is shown though hyperboles and metaphors "My vegtable love should grow Vaster than empires, and more slow"(l.11-12)
He compares his love to the Biblical story of the Flood and the conversion of Jews. This depicts that whether she wants to be with him, he will love her anyway. "I would Love you ten years before the Flood, And you should, if you please, refuse Till the conversion of the Jews." (l.7-10).
Furthermore, his impatience is clear as he knows that his time on Earth is short. His wish takes a gloomy turn in the second stanza as he portrays which changes the death will carry. "And your quaint honour turn to dust, And into ashes all my lust: The grave's a fine and private place, But none, i think
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