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Andrew Marvell (1621-1678) and Christina Walsh (1750-1800?) Poetry comparison

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Andrew Marvell (1621-1678) And Christina Walsh (1750-1800?) Poetry comparison and examination coursework The obvious difference is that both poems are based from two different perspectives. One is written from a man's point of view and the other from a woman's. Both poets structure their poems on various diverse purposes and they both achieve their goals using many techniques. Andrew Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress" has the clear objective of winning over the woman he apparently deeply desires, his mistress. To accomplish this aim it is clear he uses persuasion strongly and effectively in cooperation with his writing skills. However the sincerity of his poem is arguable. In a certain light he could be compared with Walsh's lover, in that they both appear in their own way to be selfish. In Walsh's poem she says, "To make of me a bondslave To bear you children, wearing out my life In drudgery and silence" This implies that her lover wanted her this way, like a typical woman of those times. With Marvell he seems to only be stating what he desires and doesn't seem to be taking into account his mistress' thoughts and feelings, for instance where he says, "Now let us sport us while we may, And now, like amorous birds of prey" Notice how he repeats "Now" this shows he wants intercourse immediately but doesn't really represent his mistress' feelings, maybe she would rather die a virgin. Marvell appears simply to want to satisfy his own sexual desires and to exploit this woman. Whereas Walsh's lover wants full commitment from her and puts her in a position whereby she has to set out certain conditions pertaining to her retaining an equal say e.g. "Go! - I am no doll to dress and sit for feeble worship" or "No servant will I be". A noticeable difference between both males is that they both try to win over their lovers in considerably separate methods. ...read more.


To try and demonstrate his love for this woman, he uses a metaphor "My vegetable love should grow Vaster than empires, and more slow". However these compliments may have an alternate purpose rather than to just express his feelings of love, he may just be trying to get her to have sex with him. After all he even calls this woman in his title "Mistress" which basically means a bit on the side, this could be a mistake on his part, showing his true intentions. Another possible mistake is when he says, "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" In other words he is saying that he is more interested in her body than her face and eyes, showing he is just like the average man. Although he could be aware of this mistake and making it on purpose in order to show his mistress he is normal (a heterosexual red-blooded male). Even if he isn't he says it in such an inoffensive way that he still appears considerate, smart and loving. Marvell also uses threatening language to try and persuade his mistress to have sex with him by using frightening thoughts and a phallic image. "Thy beauty shall no more be found, Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound My echoing song; then worms shall try That long preserved virginity, And your quaint honour turn to dust, And into ashes all my lust" In these lines he is foretelling and threatening that she will die someday and when she does, she will lose her looks, she won't hear his compliments any more because she will be in her grave rotting and her hard conserved dignity will be wasted anyway when the worms infest her vagina. Quaint in the context of Marvell's poem could be referred to as a pun, meaning female private parts which is interesting because nowadays we don't use "quaint" in the same way as it was used back then. ...read more.


Her sentence that has been commented on before "Not for you the hand of any wakened woman of our time" also puts into perspective her demands that the relationship will only work if it's on an equal basis, as in a partnership. She also describes his love as "clamorous" which means noisy or clumsy. It would appear that she feels he hasn't given full consideration to her desires and to coin a phrase he hasn't "looked before he's leapt". In her third verse she uses a sibilant, semantic group of words to play on his perception that she can be manipulated in the marriage this group includes the words "skin", "soft", "supple", "sense" and possibly "caresses". Another reason she uses the sibilant group of words is so that she can quickly dismiss this possibility that she can be manipulated by the use of a list of three, hard contrasting descriptive words, "Oh shame, and pity and abasement", which shows just how objective to this inequality she actually is. A final reason why she uses the sibilant semantic field and the three hard contrasting words is so that she can impress upon him her unique individuality and strong self-ruling personality. In conclusion both poets display clear similarities and differences in their viewpoints, such as previously described about how Marvell implies time will eventually run out "Had we but world enough, and time" compared to how Walsh believes they have an eternity "I am yours forever", the keyword there being "forever", as do their partners such as outlined before when I explained that both are being selfish in their own ways, Walsh's lover seems to demand for inequality and Marvell's mistress will not give up her virginity, and in contrast widely diverse views on what they perceive the principles of love, sex and marriage to be about. The structure of the poems is such that their views are portrayed in an abundantly clear fashion to their lovers utilising widely diverse and occasionally complex use of what we know as the old archaic English language. Poetry Coursework 08/05/2007 ...read more.

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