To His Coy Mistress - Andrew Marvell

Essay by ckeane14College, UndergraduateA, October 2009

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When I first read Andrew Marvell’s, “To His Coy Mistress”, I had a hard time understanding the purpose of the poem. However, after reading it aloud, I began to grasp what I felt was a poem about life and love. I feel as though the poem refers to the beauty of love until time catches up with it.

The use of “Coy Mistress” in the title immediately promotes an image of a shy mistress in pre-marital youth. However, although Marvell addresses his mistress of being shy, he opens the poem of stating how this would not be a problem if time never passed. Marvell expresses his admiration of lingering love through the first twenty lines of the poem. He writes, “We would sit down, and think which way/ To walk, and pass our long love’s day”(3-4) to further imply how time, if it were eternal, would benefit he and his lover.

The imagery of sitting down and thinking of where to walk, I suppose, highlights how Marvell believes that there would be no rush in life.

Marvell continues to use poetic devices to assure his mistress of his prolonged love for her. By using diction such as “vegetable” (11), I believe Marvell creates an image of slow, developing love that ultimately results in beautiful crop. Marvell also uses hyperbole when he claims, “An hundred years should go to praise/Thine eyes . . .” (13-14) to fully showcase his devoutness towards his mistress. I believe that by exaggerating the lengthiness of his love commitment, Marvell further demonstrates the splendor of young love when time is perpetual. In addition, I believe Marvell uses, “Nor would I love at a lower rate” (20) as a metaphor. I view the rate as an interest rate and that Marvell would not be...