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Compare (find the similarities) and contrast (find the differences) between the poetic techniques of Herrick and Marvell to achieve their intentions in "To the Virgins…" and "To his Coy Mistress".

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Charlotte Swain 9P Homework Tuesday 20th May 17th Century Poetry Compare (find the similarities) and contrast (find the differences) between the poetic techniques of Herrick and Marvell to achieve their intentions in "To the Virgins..." and "To his Coy Mistress" Both of the poems, "To the Virgins, To make much of time," by Robert Herrick and "To his Coy Mistress," by Andrew Marvell deal with the issue of virginity in young women and focus on the need to begin a sexual relationship as early as possible so that no time is wasted. Herrick is more openly expressing his ideas and poetic techniques in "To the Virgins..." as to build a good grounding for his argument by showing off his literary skills but most of all a refined, diligent use of imagery. Whereas Marvell in his writing, is more humble to begin with, yet, as the poem progresses becomes more insistent, almost intimidating as his language adopts a more passionate, fiery nature. The themes of each piece both highlight the poets' intention - an urgency to have sex - and go on to elaborate about the passing of time. When Marvell says, 'Time's winged chariot hurrying near,' he is asserting to the woman the fact that time is running out and they won't be young forever. ...read more.


The range of language used in both poems is vast and each word conscientiously selected so that the poets receive the desired effects from their readers. In his first stanza, Marvell uses thoughtful, sensual diction with elaborate and flattering exotic imagery designed to gently coax his mistress towards seeing his point of view. 'Thou by the Indian Ganges' side/Shoulds't rubies find,' is a passionate and meaningful expression of his love for her, elaborating his servility towards her by comparing her priceless and radiant beauty to that of 'rubies.' He also uses repetition of the word, 'Lady' as further flattery to magnify her status. Equally, Herrick begins most of his stanzas by using strong, natural imagery to describe the women his poem is aimed at. 'The glorious lamp of heaven,' uses an appealing imagery of the sun to suggest the cycle of life: youth to old age, innocence to experience. However, on the contrary, at the beginning of stanza two, Marvell's language becomes much more urgent, insistent and vindictive. His disposition comes across as aggressive, arrogant and quite threatening as he desperately tries to frighten the woman into agreeing with him. The atmosphere of the poem gets very intense when Marvell describes her eventual death as 'deserts of vast eternity' exaggerating a ...read more.


By contrast, Herrick's piece comes in more short, direct fragments that help it to flow, again putting forward a more general yet still logical point of view which Robert Herrick holds. Once more, the rhyme scheme is regular in a common a, b, a, b fashion with alternating line sequences from seven to eight syllables as a further support in helping the coherence of his ideas. Throughout, the beat has a strong, melodic and customary rhythm demonstrating a balanced, orderly argument to the reader - similar to that presented by Marvell. Overall, Marvell and Herrick both manage to convey their ideas and publicise their intention, to start a sexual relationship without being too rude or indecent. Herrick exhibits a great composure in his thoughts, using language to his advantage but still incorporating the more sinister undertone of death and old age. Marvell, on the other hand is less poised within his argument, therefore comes across as more arrogant, vindictive and quite egotistical in the second stanza when his language adopts a more persistent, reiterating format and the intensity of the mood climaxes. However, towards the end of that stanza he is able to revert back to flattery, finishing the poem on a more positive, optimistic note as not to blemish his original line of reasoning. ...read more.

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