27 October 2010
Poetry OCE #1
The infamous English love poem, “To His Coy Mistress” by Andrew Marvell, focuses on the persuasiveness of a man towards his mistress regarding her virginity. The poem is composed of three arguementative stanzas, known as a syllogism; the first is focused on convincing or persuading the mistress as to why she should surrender her virginity to this man; the second is the truth of those promises and the actuality of this dream world; and finally, the third stanza is the man’s logical conclusion to the sexual dilemma.
The first two lines of the poem state the man’s argument as to why the mistress should not hold on to her virginity; “Had we but world enough, and time/This coyness, lady, were no crime” (772). This statement means that these lovers do not actually have “world” or “time” because life is not endless; therefore there is no time to waste holding out on “love” (referring to the act of making love) and her resistance to this love, to him, is a crime. The man tries to convince the mistress that if there was enough time, then he would love her forever; doting and adoring her every move and body part, but most importantly her heart; “An age at least to every part/And the last age should show your heart” (772). This first stanza is meant to blind the mistress with loving thoughts so that she will be more receptive towards the man’s advances and possibly more willing to make love. He is trying to convince his mistress of just how much he would love her if the world and time would allow it and also giving her a sense of false hope that one day he will truly love her.
The second stanza brings the mistress and reader back from the fantasy world of endless love and into reality by introducing the word “but” into the poem. “But at my back I always hear/ Time’s winged chariot hurrying near” (772) implying that death is always approaching and this statement instills a sense of urgency in the...