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"To his coy mistress" by Andrew Marvell and "Funeral Blues" by W.H Auden explore the themes of love and loss. Examine how each poet approaches these themes and compare how the achieve their intended objective.

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Michelle Grant 5.E English coursework "To his coy mistress" by Andrew Marvell and "Funeral Blues" by W.H Auden explore the themes of love and loss. Examine how each poet approaches these themes and compare how the achieve their intended objective. "To his coy mistress" by Andrew Marvell and "Funeral Blues" by W.H Auden are two poems, which concentrate on ideas of love and loss. They wrote spiritual and soulful poems that also dealt with physical life, also in those days many poets wrote religious poetry but nobody combined both physical and soul like Marvell has done in this poem. These poems express the poets' thoughts and feelings of their personal experiences of loving and losing, written both pre 1900 and post 1900, respectively. Andrew Marvell was born in 1621in Yorkshire and died at fifty-seven years old in 1678. He was a Reverend and a professor of Latin in Cambridge. He was also a great friend of John Milton, one of the greatest poets of the English language and became his assistant in 1657. Wystan Hugh Auden was born in York, in 1907 into an upper class family. He graduated from Christ Church College of Oxford University in 1928. In his work, he reconciles tradition and modernism. His most popular poem, "Funeral Blues" was used in the popular film "Four weddings and a funeral." He died in 1973, at the age of sixty-six. "To his coy mistress" is a poem about time, and not having enough of it. Marvell opens his poem with the words, "Had we but world enough and time," using these words; he effectively extends all feeling of time. "This coyness, lady were no crime," he is saying that his mistress is quite shy, and in having a vast amount of time, this would be fine, i.e. no crime, but this is not the case, stressing his awareness that their time is limited. ...read more.


These few lines have already expressed how upset Auden is and how the death of his friend has left such a big hole in his life. Therefore, his intention of expressing his love for his friend and his sorrow of his death has already been made successful and he has created a mood of sadness around his poem. While Auden continues to express negativity, Marvell proceeds to his second stanza, in which he shows a different outlook to what was expressed in his first stanza. The first line begins with the word 'But' and already we can tell his objective has changed. He says, "But at my back I always hear time's winged chariot hurrying near." Chariots were the fastest vehicles used in war, and so this was a threatening image used to suggest time was catching up with him. In this stanza, he uses the iambic meter once again, however the pace has quickened and it is a lot faster now, almost breathtaking. This is also suggested in the imagery of the chariot. "Deserts of vast eternity thy beauty shall no more be found," no longer is Marvell referring to life as eternal, but death and when he dies he will no longer have his love, no longer will she be found. We know for sure now he is talking about his death, as he then says, "Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound," his 'marble vault' was his tomb is the tomb in which he would lie dead. It has now become clear that Marvell is worrying about time. Few of the lines are ended with a full stop, suggesting that time will charge on at a terrific speed without patience. Again, Marvell talks about his love's 'preserv'd virginity' that was suggested by the 'rubies' in the first stanza. He talks about it dying, along with her 'quaint honour,' suggesting that time will catch up on his love also and she too will die. ...read more.


Although Auden's perspective on life slightly changes throughout the poem also, his has simply gone from bad to worse. It began with Auden grieving over the death of his friend and ended with him completely groveled in misery and distress that he did not appreciate the time he had with his friend. Marvell however began by trying to place man and time on earth in the context of eternity and eternal happiness, but ended up with learning that time would catch up on everybody and so he changed his attitude and started to appreciate time. Unfortunately, Auden did not learn this. Marvell was concerned with present life and life after death but through his passion and pursuit of intimate love for his coy mistress, and after worrying about time, he successfully learned how brief happiness could be by not honoring the time he had, which was what Auden has shown, to make the most of the present time. Auden's poem is simply a poem of the loneliness and loss one man feels in losing his loved one, in this case his friend, after not honoring the time he had with him. Both poems express different aspects of poetry. Marvell's being characterized by wit, irony and word play. On the surface it sounds witty and superficial but is explicitly of passion and his quest for intimate love. By expressing his fear of time running out, he subtly expresses his need for time and love with his mistress. Auden, on the other hand expresses his sadness of the death of his friend, at the same time showing how angry and regretful he is that he did not take the time to honor time. Now he will forever be miserable. Although both poets have taken separate approaches in their poems, in the use of their chosen words, their rhythm schemes, repetition schemes, imagery and their own personal techniques, they have both successfully achieved their intended objectives and expressed their thoughts and feelings on the themes of love and loss through their poems effectively. ...read more.

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