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Comparing Ideas and Images in Four Metaphysical Love Poems

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Introduction

Comparing Ideas and Images in Four Metaphysical Love Poems "To His Coy Mistress", "The Fair Singer", "Picture of Little T.C. in a Prospect of Flowers" by Andrew Marvell and "Sun Rising" by John Donne are all seventeenth century metaphysical love poems. They all contain similar styles and images in which they portray the messages they intend to get across, which give an insight into certain opinions and feelings of men towards women in that era. All these poems talk about the beauty of the woman they are describing. In "The Fair Singer" he talks about "both beauties", her appearance and her voice. He says "her voice my heart might bind" and "her voice might captivate my mind" making it seem as though the woman is a sorceress, out to entice men into loving her. It also shows that beauty and talent was highly thought of and sought after in a woman, as he does not even know this woman. In "the sun rising" he talks about his lover's beauty, saying he "would not loose her sight so long" and even tells the sun that she is so amazing that maybe "her eyes have not blinded thine", Showing how much adoration the man has for his lover. In "T.C." he says that the plants "at thy beauty charm", showing that beauty was considered charming, and he called her a "young beauty of the ...read more.

Middle

The idea of death, seen in many of these poems also reflects the amount of death in the world at the time. In "His Coy Mistress" he tells his love "thy beauty shall no more be found" when they are both dead, so she must sleep with him now, for he knows that disease and other horrors took life every day. In "Little T.C." he expresses his concerns that the gods do not "nip in the blossom all our hopes and thee", because he knows that many children die, just as T.C.'s older sister did, while she was still an infant. Military images are also very common. In "The Fair Singer" he speaks of his love for her as her "conquest" and she's the "enemy". "Fighting in some plain, where victory might hang in equal choice" makes it seem as though he can do nothing but love her. "Little T.C. also gives military comparisons. "The wanton love one day shall fear... under her command severe" shows that one day she will be like the commander of the army; able to call the shots and make the men who fall in love with her do whatever she wants." He also talks of her "conquering eyes" which suggests that women's' beauty can conquer a man's love. ...read more.

Conclusion

In a couple of the poems, the writer is watching the woman from a distance. In "Little T.C." he says "see with what simplicity This nymph begins her golden days!" showing that he is talking about, not to her. He also says "let me be laid, Where I can see thy glories from some shade." This says that he knows she will grow up to be a fine young woman, but he does not want to get in her way because he knows that men will just fall at her feet. We also see that in "The Fair Singer", the woman is watched from afar from the way he does not talk directly to her. "Who has the advantage both of eyes and voice". This shows that men were not in a position to go and introduce themselves to women, nor tell them how they felt. So, through a number of ways, these poems reflect a lot of opinions of society in the seventeenth century, especially male ideas towards women. From them we realise that women were still seen as the gentler sex, yet they were also gaining rights and respect. Men found them intriguing, and were even a little scared of them. It also shows the amount of death at the time, and how people really felt always oppressed by time, and the wish that there was no danger of it ending. ...read more.

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