• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Which of 'The Sun Rising' by John Donne and 'To His Coy Mistress' by Andrew Marvell do you believe to be the most successful poem?

Extracts from this document...


Which of 'The Sun Rising' by John Donne and 'To His Coy Mistress' by Andrew Marvell do you believe to be the most successful poem? John Donne and Andrew Marvell were two of the most outstanding of the English Metaphysical poets of their era. In both of the poems to which this piece of extended writing refers, highly intellectual and complex imagery is used to make us discover the hidden meanings behind their unconventional love poetry. Both poems were written at a similar period, and though both authors were similar in ways, there are also points of diversity. John Donne was a renowned clergyman, loved and respected greatly for his ingenious fusion of wit and humour he injected into both his sermons and his poetry. Donne's work was widely published during his life and though shunned by his family for renouncing the Roman Catholic tradition, attending both Oxford and Cambridge and receiving no degrees and a shocking secret marriage to Anne More, Donne managed to make a healthy living and laugh at his mishaps. The poet, in characteristic pun later summed up the latter experience as, 'John Donne, Anne Donne, undone.' By way of contrast, Andrew Marvell was the son of a working vicar. He attended college but after the death of his father, he decided to travel from country to country in an unsettled manner. ...read more.


Another reason for the fluid feeling of 'To His Coy Mistress' is its rhythm. It is written in iambic tetrameter which is said to be the closest to realistic speech and therefore the easiest to read from. Marvell also uses enjambment which is when sentences go over onto the next line so that the expression of ideas can be less rigid. This is used to sustain the flow of the poem which carries us onto the next line. These techniques have been used in the most effective way in the antithesis. Where the poem would be more tempting to put down and then cause you to leave with a bad impression of Marvell. A quote to show this is: 'The graves a fine and private place, But none, I think do there embrace' Obviously it was not Marvell's intention for his mistress to put the poem down as she was part way through, he needed her to carry on past the ideas of her death and into the relatively positive conclusion in the synthesis. Therefore, in the antithesis there are only 3 sentences over 12 lines. In 'The Sun Rising,' Donne sticks to neither a rhyming scheme nor a poetic meter. What does help his poem along though, are the rhetorical questions put in place so that the reader wants to read on in hope that they will find the answer. ...read more.


The finishing lines are: 'Thus, though we cannot make our sun Stand still, yet we will make him run.' This means that though they realise that they cannot defeat time by standing still, they will do their best to make the sun run after them because they will be trying to get away from it. This similarly to Donne's 'The Sun Rising' personifies and makes fun of the sun and time. Both poems do this to a very good effect and the reader enjoys the image of the dominating sun being told to change because someone is in love and wants more time to live. In conclusion, both poems are well written in different aspects with similar boasting and condescending personification of the sun. I think the more successful of the two is 'To His Coy Mistress' by Andrew Marvell because of its flowing techniques and winning structured argument in comparison to the more confusing and muddled, 'The Sun Rising' by John Donne. I believe that Marvell would be more likely to succeed in getting his mistress to sleep with him (as long as she is intelligent enough to see past the intense imagery but somehow blinded to the obvious fact that the sole reason for this literary exercise is in fact, that) than Donne is to have the sun obey him and the world in his bedroom. Emma Smith 10B ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Andrew Marvell section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

There are some good attempts at analysis of the two poems here and overall, a good general understanding. There is also an attempt at consistent comparison. The essay could be improved with a more structured answer, enabled by clear planning. Some key poetic techniques are not analysed, and there are not enough direct references to the poems (use of quotes). Some point made are inaccurate. Contextual references need to be integrated into the analysis of the essay and only used if they contribute to the analysis. It is also best to try and omit subjective comments and avoid descriptive re-telling of the poems.


Marked by teacher Lucy Snell 18/03/2012

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Andrew Marvell essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    With close reference to the two poems which you have studied, show how the ...

    4 star(s)

    so he gives himself a fairly unromantic setting and allows the lady an exotic, beautiful one, which is meant to be a persuasive compliment. This theme is continued in Marvell's words, "I would Love you ten years before the flood: And you should, if you please, refuse, Till the conversion of the Jews."

  2. Metaphysical Love Poems

    It also uses three separate stanzas like the other two poems but it uses irregular sentence length. The writer uses a metaphysical combination of strong ideals and complex intellectual ideas to bring across his strong feelings. The writer uses three irregular sections using different methods to woo his mistress.

  1. A Comparison Between A Coy Mistress and To The Virgins

    getting to their peak of adulthood, they will very soon start to get old and then when time has completely run out, they will face an eternal darkness which is death. These first two verses are very similar to Marvell's poem in that they both develop an argument through similes

  2. A Critical Analysis and Comparison 'Between Come, My Celia' and 'To His Coy Mistress'

    He calls fame and rumour toys, trying to persuade 'Celia' that they could just ignore the aftermath of any sexual encounter they had, as though making love means nothing to him. When Jonson writes, "Cannot we delude the eyes of a few household spies?"

  1. The Metaphysical Poets: John Donne and Andrew Marvell.

    There are many references in this second stanza to time running out. An example of this is in line 22 where he says, "Time's winged chariot hurrying near..." I can also see references to her dying having never made love.

  2. Donne and Marvell's poems where what linked them together, it was the style that ...

    In the first verse he always includes a metaphor "Late schoolboys, and sour 'prentices, Go tell court-huntsmen that the King will ride, call country ants" by this he is referring to the common, insignificant people. Donne has a passionate thought about love he says how a woman's beauty can blind another person, and hide who they really are.

  1. Free essay

    To his coy mistress by Andrew Marvell

    The poet is likely to have intended the reader to interpret 'vegetable love' in both regards, he could be attempting to dazzle the woman with this awkward unfamiliar comparison and at the same time reveal his coy strategy of getting laid.

  2. Compare and contrast the ways in which the poets' choice of form, language and ...

    The curse is that she cannot look directly at Camelot or men and she can only look at it through a large mirror in her tower. So she sits in the tower weaves tapestries of the images she sees. One day she looks directly at Camelot and "The curse is

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work