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Title:Andrew Marvell - To His Coy Mistress - Analysis. Poetry Lecture by Dr. Andrew Barker

TO HIS COY MISTRESS. Andrew Marvell's 17th century seduction poem remains one of our best representations of the metaphysical poets' call to seize the day. Moving from the whimsical to the vulgar to the inspirational, "To His Coy Mistress" is an argument composed to attract a lover, but also a metaphor for not missing out on those fleeting moments of unusual and exceptional happiness that life offers us. A line by line analysis, explanation and simplification of what the poet is saying, the mycroftlecture on Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress," also examines the way the stress we chose to give to individual words may change the way we interpret a poem. TO HIS COY MISTRESS. Had we but world enough and time, This 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 Shouldst 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 than empires and more slow; 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; An age at least to every part, And the last age should show your heart. For, lady, you deserve this state, Nor would I love at lower rate. But at my back I always hear Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near; And yonder all before us lie Deserts of vast eternity. Thy beauty shall no more be found; Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound 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. 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, And now, like amorous birds of prey, Rather at once our time devour Than languish in his slow-chapped power. Let us roll all our strength and all Our sweetness up into one ball, And tear our pleasures with rough strife Through the iron gates of life: Thus, though we cannot make our sun Stand still, yet we will make him run. ANDREW MARVELL. Please LIKE and SUBSCRIBE. COMMENTS also are gratefully received. Click should you wish for extra notes and a transcript of the lecture and analysis above. Andrew Barker


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