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The 17th century poets, Andrew Marvell and Robert Herrick, in their poems "To His Coy Mistress" and "To The Virgins, To Make Much of Time" offer extraordinary insight into the feelings and emotions connected with love.

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Introduction

In Its Now or Never The 17th century poets, Andrew Marvell and Robert Herrick, in their poems "To His Coy Mistress" and "To The Virgins, To Make Much of Time" offer extraordinary insight into the feelings and emotions connected with love. With twenty-eight definitions for the word "love" in the dictionary and therefore with no surprise we find this broadly defined word contributing to a diverse array of poems, which can all claim to be centered around "love." Two such poems are, "To His Coy Mistress" and "To The Virgins, To Make Much of Time" both of which are obviously dealing with the subject of love, despite being written thirty-three years apart they still share a commonality. Andrew Marvell and Robert Herrick both use vivid figurative language and ardent rhyme devices in similar ways in their respective poems to communicate a common theme: that beyond the obvious amorous and passionate nature of love, love is ultimately ephemeral and therefore we must seize it and fully experience it, before love, true to its transient character, passes us by. Both Andrew Marvell and Robert Herrick use dramatic and vibrant figurative language not only to create visual effects that complement and enliven their shared theme but they ...read more.

Middle

For the poet, there are two kinds of attitudes toward the present: activities in the present are judged by their impact on the future, and there is thus no future state - all activities occur in the present and can only be enjoyed or evaluated by their impact at that moment. Correspondingly, Robert Herrick in his poem "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time," uses imagery to brilliantly illustrate his shared theme: he feels it is necessary to immerse oneself in love before love passes one by. In each of the four stanzas, Herrick uses a new image to give the impression of the time fleeting by and he highlights the need for us to 'seize the love' literally meaning 'to strike iron when its hot'. Herrick establishes that "Old time is still a-flying" (2) and this is the overtone for the entire poem. In the first stanza, he compares the "flower that smiles today" (3) to the ones that "will be dying" (4) "tomorrow" (4) and this comparison creates a mold for all the imagery he uses that follows. The "flower" (3) like love is initially good and beautiful but its life yet is ephemeral and short-lived. ...read more.

Conclusion

Marvell also highlights certain lines by employing slant rhyme, which is the case in lines six through ten. Here he attempts to rhyme "would" (6) with "flood" (7) and "refuse" (8) with "Jews" (9) and by doing so brings more focus onto this allusion. The use of rhyme is therefore clearly used by both Alexander Marvell and Robert Herrick to embellish their respective poems. The Latin phrase "carpe diem" means, "to seize the day," and this has been utilized very effectively as a rally to ask us to immerse ourselves in life before life passes us by. "To Virgins, to Make Much of Time," by Robert Herrick and "To His Coy Mistress," by Andrew Marvell are both poetic restatements of "carpe diem." Both these poets emphasize the ephemeral character of love, which ultimately overshadows its amorous and passionate nature. They accentuate through their shared theme the necessity for seizing the opportunity and experiencing the joys of love while it was possible. This theme, which was shared between two poets who were not contemporaries of each other, shows the importance of it especially in a time period where the average life span was so short. But Marvell and Herrick's theme however has proved timeless, and thus continues to be applicable even today in the 21st century. 1 ...read more.

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