To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell
The narrator speaks to a woman who has been slow to respond to his advances. He first describes how he would love her, if only they had an unlimited amount of time together--even if she kept refusing. The second stanza he speaks of how short life is and once life has ended there's no love in the grave. The final stanza urges the woman to comply to his request, because loving each other will make the most out of the short amount of time life has to offer. "To His Coy Mistress" is written as couplet rhymes with eight syllables each.
Almost everyone has had a thing for someone who was coy the way Marvell's mistress is. It can be quite frustrating, but it can also be quite adventurous. There's something about a hunt that makes it feel so amazing, and once we capture our prey, it's all the more glorious.
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 Loves Day. Thou by the Indian Ganges side. Should'st 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 then 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 alwaies hear Times winged Charriot hurrying near: And yonder all before us lye Desarts of vast Eternity. Thy Beauty shall no more be found; Nor, in thy marble Vault, shall sound My ecchoing Song: then Worms shall try That long preserv'd Virginity: And your quaint Honour turn to durst; 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 hew Sits on thy skin like morning glew, And while thy willing Soul transpires At every pore with instant Fires, Now let us sport us while we may; And now, like am'rous birds of prey, Rather at once our Time devour, Than languish in his slow-chapt pow'r. Let us roll all our Strength, and all Our sweetness, up into one Ball: And tear our Pleasures with rough strife, Thorough the Iron gates of Life. Thus, though we cannot make our Sun Stand still, yet we will make him run. Written in the early 1650s.
Next: Upon Appleton House
Find out more information about this poem and read others like it.
Metaphysical, 17th Century
Love, Relationship, Time, Life