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    "To His Coy Mistress" Andrew Marvell

    Rahma Sboui Gueddah

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    Age : 33
    Localisation : kairouan,Tunisia
    Registration date : 2006-12-09

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    "To His Coy Mistress" Andrew Marvell

    Post by Rahma Sboui Gueddah on Fri Feb 09, 2007 6:34 pm

    Theme and Summary:

    “To His Coy Mistress” presents a familiar theme in literature–carpe diem (meaning seize the day), a term coined by the ancient Roman poet Quintus Horatius Flaccus, known as Horace (65-8 B.C.). Here is the gist of Andrew Marvell's poem: In response to a young man’s declarations of love for a young lady, the lady is playfully hesitant, artfully demure. But dallying will not do, he says, for youth passes swiftly. He and the lady must take advantage of the moment, he says, and “sport us while we may.” Oh, yes, if they had “world enough, and time” they would spend their days in idle pursuits, leisurely passing time while the young man heaps praises on the young lady. But they do not have the luxury of time, he says, for “time's wingéd chariot” is ever racing along. Before they know it, their youth will be gone; there will be only the grave. And so, the poet pleads his case: Seize the day.

    The Title:

    The title suggests (1) that the author looked over the shoulder of a young man as he wrote a plea to a young lady and (2) that the author then reported the plea exactly as the young man expressed it. However, the author added the title, using the third-person possessive pronoun "his" to refer to the young man. The word "coy" tells the reader that the lady is no easy catch; the word "mistress" can mean lady, manager, caretaker, courtesan, sweetheart, and lover. It can also serve as the female equivalent of master. In "To His Coy Mistress," the word appears to be a synonym for lady or sweetheart. In reality, of course, Marvell wrote the entire poem.

    The Persona (The Young Man):

    Although Andrew Marvell writes "To His Coy Mistress" in first-person point of view, he presents the poem as the plea of another man (fictional, of course). The poet enters the mind of the man and reports his thoughts as they manifest themselves. The young man is impatient, desperately so, unwilling to tolerate temporizing on the part of the young lady. His motivation appears to be carnal desire rather than true love; passion rules him. Consequently, one may describe him as immature and selfish.

    "To His Coy Mistress" as a Metaphysical Poem :

    "To His Coy Mistress," acclaimed long after Marvell's death a masterly work, is a lyrical poem that scholars also classify as a metaphysical poem. Metaphysical poetry, pioneered by John Donne, tends to focus on the following:

    Startling comparisons or contrasts of a metaphysical (spiritual, transcendent, abstract) quality to a concrete (physical, tangible, sensible) object. In "To His Coy Mistress," for example, Marvell compares love to a vegetable (Line 11) in a waggish metaphor.
    Mockery of idealized romantic poetry through crude or shocking imagery, as in Lines 27 and 28 ("then worms shall try / That long preserved virginity').
    Gross exaggeration (hyperbole), as in Line 15 ("two hundred [years] to adore each breast].
    Expression of personal, private feelings, such as those the young man expresses in "To His Coy Mistress."
    Presentation of a logical argument, or syllogism. In "To His Coy Mistress," this argument may be outlined as follows: (1) We could spend decades or even centuries in courtship if time stood still and we remained young. (2) But time passes swiftly and relentlessly. (3) Therefore, we must enjoy the pleasure of each other now, without further ado. The conclusion of the argument begins at Line 33 with "Now therefore."
    Meter and Rhyme
    The poem is in iambic tetrameter, with eight syllables (four feet) per line. Each foot consists of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. The last syllable of Line 1 rhymes with the last syllable of Line 2, the last syllable of Line 3 rhymes with the last syllable of Line 4, the last syllable of Line 5 rhymes with the last syllable of Line 6, and so on. Such pairs of rhyming lines are called couplets. The following two lines, which open the poem, exhibit the meter and rhyme prevailing in most of the other couplets in the poem:
    Had WE | but WORLD | e NOUGH | and TIME
    ......1.......... ..2......... ....3...............4
    This COY | ness LA | dy WERE | no CRIME


    The poem does not present a scene in a specific place in which people interact. However, the young man and the young lady presumably live somewhere in England (the native land of the author), perhaps in northeastern England near the River Humber. The poet mentions the Humber in Line 7.


    Young Man: He pleads with a young lady to stop playing hard to get and accept his love.
    Young Lady: A coquettish woman.

    coyness: evasiveness, hesitancy, modesty, coquetry, reluctance; playing hard to get
    which . . . walk: example of enjambment (carrying the sense of one line of verse over to the next line without a pause)
    Thou, Thine, Thy: For a guide to these and other archaic pronouns–such as thine, thee, and thyself–click here.

    : River in Asia originating in the Himalayas and flowing southeast, through India, to the Bay of Bengal. The young man here suggests that the young lady could postpone her commitment to him if her youth lasted a long, long time. She could take real or imagined journeys abroad, even to India. She could also refuse to commit herself to him until all the Jews convert to Christianity. But since youth is fleeting (as the poem later points out), there is no time for such journeys. She must submit herself to him now.

    rubies: gems that may be rose red or purplish red. In folklore, it is said that rubies protect and maintain virginity. Ruby deposits occur in various parts of the world, but the most precious ones are found in Asia, including Myanmar (Burma), India, Thailand, Sri, Lanka, Afghanistan, and Russia.

    Humber: River in northeastern England. It flows through Hull, Andrew Marvell's hometown.
    Flood . . . Jews: Resorting to hyperbole, the young man says that his love for the young lady is unbounded by time. He would love her ten years before great flood that Noah outlasted in his ark (Gen. 5:28-10:32) and would still love her until all Jews became Christians at the end of the world.

    vegetable love: love cultivated and nurtured like a vegetable so that it flourishes prolifically

    this state: This lofty position; this dignity

    Time's wingèd chariot: In Greek mythology, the sun was personified as the god Apollo, who rode his golden chariot from east to west each day. Thus, Marvell here associates the sun god with the passage of time.

    marble vault: The young lady's tomb.

    worms: a morbid phallic reference

    quaint: preserved carefully or skillfully

    dew: The 1681 manuscript of the poem uses glew (not dew), apparently as a coined past tense for glow.

    transpires: erupts, breaks out, emits, gives off

    slow-chapt: chewing or eating slowly

    Thorough: Through

    Comments :
    Lines 5 and 6, Lines 23 and 24, Lines 27 and 28: The final stressed vowel sounds of these pairs of lines do not rhyme, as do the final stressed vowel sounds of all the other pairs of lines.
    Three Sections of the Poem: Lines 1-20 discuss what would happen if the young man and young woman had unlimited time. Lines 21-32 point out that they do not have unlimited time. Lines 33-46 urge the young woman to seize the day and submit.

    lol! Have a nice day afro

    the greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do..

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