To His Coy Mistress

Essay by luketraveler May 2014

download word file, 3 pages 0.0



The poem is spoken by a male lover to his female beloved as an attempt to convince her to sleep with him. The speaker argues that the Lady's shyness and hesitancy would be acceptable if the two had "world enough, and time." But because they are finite [`fa?na?t] skoñczony human beings, he thinks they should take advantage of their sensual embodiment while it lasts.

He tells the lady that her beauty, as well as her "long-preserved virginity," will only become food for worms unless she gives herself to him while she lives. Rather than preserve any lofty [`loft?] podnios³y, ideals of chastity and virtue, the speaker affirms, the lovers ought to "roll all our strength, and all / Our sweetness, up into one ball." He is alluding [?'lud] vi robiæ aluzjê to their physical bodies coming together in the act of lovemaking.


Marvell wrote this poem in the classical tradition of a Latin love elegy (a poem of lamentation), in which the speaker praises his mistress or lover through the motif of carpe diem, or "seize the day."

The poem also reflects the tradition of the erotic blazon [`ble?zn] (A hymn of praise to female beauty), in which a poet constructs elaborate images of his lover's beauty by carving her body into parts. Its verse form consists of rhymed couplets [`k?pl?t] dwuwiersz in iambic tetrameter, proceeding as AA, BB, CC, and so forth.

The speaker begins by constructing a thorough and elaborate conceit [k?n`si:t] koncept of the many things he "would" do to honour the lady properly, if the two lovers indeed had enough time. He posits [`poz?t] postulowaæ, zak³adaæ, impossible stretches of time during which the two might play games of courtship [`ko:t??p] zaloty . He claims he could love her from ten years before the...