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To His Coy Mistress


         "To His Coy Mistress" is a metaphysical poem written by Andrew Marvell. In this poem the speaker addressed his beloved to make love.

         To His Coy Mistress has a clear message of 'seizing the day’ or carpe diem as it is known in Latin, and this is represented in the poems structure as well as its language. The poem is split into three stanzas; the first is mostly an admiration of female beauty with the conceit of his “vegetable love” growing “vaster than empires”, which could be interpreted as phallic imagery representing sexual desire. The second stanza sees a distinct change in tone because “time’s winged chariot” is at the narrators back, suggesting that if they do not submit to love and sexual desire before it’s too late they will be left in a marble grave where “none do there embrace.”

        The poem is based on the age-old Carpe Diem theme which deals with the issue of brevity of life. This theme although being a very hackneyed one has been developed in a way that catches our attention because of the poet’s fresh take on the concept of defeating time with the help of human passion. This novelty of thought is another aspect of the poem’s meta-physicality.

       The defiance is not in the fact that the functional property of time has been retarded, but in the fact, which is more insulting to time’s capacity. The lovers will make the sun run with more speed, but the passage of days achieved by this will not have its effect on the permanence, which the prudent lovers will have in their possession.


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