Analysis of to His Coy Mistress

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Time is clearly the most important issue bothering the speaker of "To His Coy Mistress"; the subject spans the entire length of the piece, from the first line to the forty-sixth. The most obvious relationship to time here is that this work is a traditional carpe diem poem, which means that it encourages the listener to "seize the day" - to make the most of today and not put off action until tomorrow. In this particular case, the speaker is addressing a woman with whom he wants to have sex. He uses the threat of what time will do to her "quaint honour" and "long-preserved virginity" to convince her to give both up to him before they decay. To His Coy Mistress" begins as a declaration of the speaker's love, but, by its end, it makes the assumption that the woman being addressed is as passionate as the speaker. He declares his love in fantastic, larger-than-life terms in the first twenty lines, because he is describing an admittedly unreal situation: his love would grow to span continents and stretch from the beginning of time to the end, he tells her, if only it could. This poem is describing a man's thoughts about his love and wishes. He wants to take things slow and just "dally" around, but they cannot. Time is of the essence so to speak. The theme of the poem is to seize the day. The tone can be described as intimate, passionate, contemplating, lyrical, and solemn. The language of part one is mainly spatial language, although the subject matter is as much about time. The ‘World enough’ includes ‘the Indian Ganges’, an exotic faraway river, to be compared, with a deliberate touch of bathos to ‘the Tide/Of Humber’, his home city river, grey, uninteresting and full of mudflats at low tide. The flood is as much about space as about time and the location of his praise on the woman's body is also spatial. But space is also separation: the lovers are apart; the female
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