Tuesday, 17 January 2012

To His Coy Mistress, Andrew Marvell

Andrew Marvell, born in Yorkshire and raised in Hull. He is a metaphysical poet (as discussed in class) and wrote about philosophical subjects, like life and soul. In this poem he recognises the transient nature of life, and tries to persuade his mistress to sleep with him.

Discussions in class came up with a range ideas about the poem.
There is a sense of impatience, urgency and reluctance (on the part of the woman).
Rory picked up on the fact that in the first stanza, the poem seems romantic, using lots of hyperbole about how the speaker could love the subject of the poem if time was infinite. Andy picked up on the reference to the Humber river, and Chris informed us that is is 'up North', and Marvell's local river...

The narrator uses a range of arguments to persuade the subject. Note the reference to The Old Testament (the Flood) and 'till the conversion of the Jews'; something that some believe will never happen, or when it does happen the world will end.

He exaggerates the time he would spend on flattery and tells her she is worth this 'rate' of love, if they had time.

The second stanza begins with the conjunction 'But', which clangs. He then introduces his more forceful argument. Note the metaphor from Greek Mythology and the contrast between life and death. He is then sarcastic about the lack of 'cuddles' she will be able to have in the grave; 'none...do there embrace.'

In the final stanza the repetition of the word 'now' ensures a sense of immediacy and serves as an imperative. The simile about the 'birds of prey' draws attention to his passion and desire.
Joseph picked up on the fact the language becomes more aggressive/voilent (verbs such as 'devour', 'tear', 'rough') and there is a sense of frustration.

The final couplet suggests they defiantly stand up to time.

Good for comparison with 'Sonnet 116' and 'Sonnet 43' as well as 'Hour' and 'In Paris With You'.

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