Marvell Essay, Research Paper
?To His Coy Mistress?
Andrew Marvell wrote his short poem ?To His Coy
Mistress? in a certain way to receive the answer that he
wanted out of his mistress. Marvell uses meter, imagery,
and tone to persuade his lady to further commit in their
relationship. This poem has a very strong carpe diem, or
seize the day, theme which is conveyed throughout the poem.
In general, the meter of the poem is iambic tetrameter.
Marvell uses pauses as well as runs one line into the next
without a pause to break up the neat pattern that the rhyme
scheme of the poem imposes. The first two lines, for
example, contain internal pauses that break the tetrameter
into shorter units; ?Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.? The third line contains
no pauses and runs directly into the forth, so that the
rhyme runs opposite the rhythm of the couplet. Near the end
of the poem, the lines seem to be coming out faster than at
the beginning, creating a sense of urgency from the speaker.
These last few lines are the lines in which the speaker
talks about how the two should seize the day, and live life
to the fullest.
The use of imagery throughout the poem is an effective
means of conveying his message to the lady. His references
to the Great Flood and the conversion of the Jews are both
examples of biblical imagery. His eternal love towards the
lady is backed up by the timelessness of the Bible. The
references of the tomb are perhaps the greatest images of
all, the images of death. Nothing depicts the urgency and
shortness of life better than death. Images that are
implied in the last stanza are those of a race against time.
The goal is to try to beat time, and though time will
eventually win, the ?runners? must try to keep up with time
for as long as possible. And because no way exists to beat
time, Marvell suggests that they must live life to the
Marvell?s excellent use of tone helps to prove his
argument with his mistress. In the first section, the poem
takes a loving, romantic tone. ?We would sit down, and
think which way to walk, and pass our long love?s day.?
Marvell?s romantic style of writing helps to prove his
debate that he loves his mistress more than anything in the
world. The tone undergoes a drastic change in the second
stanza. ?I always hear time?s winged chariot hurrying
near.? This quote from the poem describes how Marvell fears
the shortness of life, and the lack of time with which the
two lovers have to share together. His deathly tone is
effective because of the inevitability of death in
everybody?s life. The last section is a call to action,
?thus, though we cannot make out sun stand still, yet we
will make him run.? Lines like these create a tone of an
urgent need to get as much done as possible, which is very
similar to the carpe diem theme.
Marvell?s poem, written almost 500 years ago, is still
a great, somewhat controversial poem. The content of the
poem is timeless, and is still a very realistic poem. The
carpe diem theme of the poem is one of the reasons that the
poem remains appropriate no matter when it is read.