Marvell, Andrew: To his Coy Mistress

Had Andrew Marvell’s poem “ To his Coy Mistress” been written in the 21st century, I would definitely think of the narrator in terms of what we call a player. He deserves an A+ for flattery and glorifying of the woman that he ultimately desires to have an intercourse with. “To his Coy Mistress” is a beautifully written poem in a very persuasive form. I may not like the goal that the narrator is trying to attain, but the arguments that he uses to win her over are very plausible and supportive. He urges his mistress to think about utilizing her beauty assets while she can. Time passes quickly and before she knows, she will be old and dead. Marvell says,

“And your quaint honour turn to dust,

And into ashes my lust.”

The author is trying to convince her to skip the courtship since they have a limited amount of time on earth and make love instead. If she procrastinates too much, she will lose in the end. However, she is not the only losing. His lust will also turn into ashes, so it is up to her to take control of the situation and help them both by agreeing to have sex with him.

He is praising her beauty, and wouldn’t mind spending thousand years to adore each part of her body but he doesn’t have time to do so. Thus, he urges her to act upon his words and take advantage of time. He uses irony to describe the consequences if she chooses to wait longer. He says,

“… Thy beauty shall no more be found,

Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound

My echoing song; then worms shall try

That long preserv’d virginity…”

These lines are a pretty big contrast to the first part of the poem, but the narrator becomes gradually more aggressive in his attempt to persuade the lady to take an immediate action.

The last two lines of the poem are probably my favorite. Marvell states,

“Thus, though we cannot make our sun

Stand still, yet we will make him run.”

In other words, he is saying that even though the two of them cannot take the charge of time and mortality, if they passionately love each other, they can live the life of fulfillment without any fear.



One response to “Marvell, Andrew: To his Coy Mistress

  1. This is such a beautiful and thoughtful analysis of the poem. I completely agree about the narrator as a player. 🙂

    This is one of my favorites, and I love the way that these poem “talk back” to each other. Fabulous job!

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