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To His Coy Mistress - critical review

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Academic Reading 11 October 2004 596 words To His Coy Mistress Mutability has often been the subject of poems in the past. Andrew Marvell also uses this subject in his poem "To His Coy Mistress". Marvell's poem speaks of two lovers wanting to waste their time on coyness and courting. However there is haste to their love for there is mutability. Carpe Diem explains the speaker's haste best. Marvell uses certain forms of imagery to underline this motif and his theme. This imagery can be divided into the following three categories: the concept of time, the concept of space and other tenors used. The theme of this poem suits the idea of Carpe Diem: love while you can, for even love is subject to mutability. ...read more.


This personification of time is the first reference to mutability. Time in the second part of the poem seems to stand still more than to slowly pass. "Deserts of vast eternity." and "The grave's a fine and private place, / But none, I think, do there embrace" are good examples of how death makes time and lovers stand still. Finally, in the last part of the poem the speaker seems to spring to life. Imagery used to underline this vitality and haste can be found in words as youthful hue and morning dew (l. 33-34). Lastly, the last two lines of the poem stress the urge to make haste in this life: "Thus, though we cannot make our sun / Stand still, yet we will make him run". ...read more.


In the second part of the poem mutability is again found in the concept of space. "Thy beauty shall no more be found, / Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound / My echoeing song" metaphorically speaks of death and change. Other tenors used in this poem have indirectly been mentioned before. The Indian Ganges and (English) Humber refers to the background of the lovers, explaining why their love is not easy. Later on these same lovers are compared to "amorous birds of prey" in a simile (l. 38), suggesting they should quickly devour eachother and their time together before they find their grave. They should seize the day. Marvell's poem is clearly divided in three parts: firstly the slow growing love lacking space and time. Secondly the confrontation with reality, death and change. And lastly the realisation to live life and love now. Carpe Diem. ...read more.

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