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To His Coy Mistress

Uploaded by Bag puss on Nov 09, 2005

To His Coy Mistress

Metaphysical poetry was originally a style of poetry to describe the poet John Donne's work, but then later extended to a school of 17th century poets. The verse deals with the use of philosophy to explain the human drama in the universe. Their poetic style and method is what linked the poets together. Here, the poets Andrew Marvell, who wrote 'To His Coy Mistress', George Herbert who wrote 'Love' and John Donne who wrote 'The Sun Rising' all fit into the metaphysical grouping.

All the poems include an argument within themselves. The poem 'To His Coy Mistress' is structured within a syllogistic framework - which begins with an initial premise, then introduces a qualification to the premise, and ends with a resolution to the conflict. In addition, Marvell manages to marry a syllogistic framework with a passionate poem of seduction. He firstly argues that if the couple had all the time in the world, he would woo his lady so slowly her coyness would be irrelevant. "Had we but world enough, and time, This coyness, lady, were no crime."

He proceeds to outline what he would do out of love for his lady if they were both to live for much longer, mentioning such lengths of time as centuries and ages. Throughout this initial premise of 'if', he uses esoteric imagery to illustrate his argument. For example, he describes his life as a 'vegetable' love, which not only gives connotations of a slow, developing love to grow for his 'mistress', but also the description of a 'vegetable soul.' The vegetable soul is the lowest level of the soul in the Renaissance concept in the levels of reason. Therefore, this suggests a kind of love that could exist without sensual enjoyment and suggests, by its association with the vegetable soul, that it is a lower form of love than sexual love. This is because the middle soul - the 'sensible soul' – deals with passion and love. This use of metaphysical conceit is common in all the poems, and Marvell's technique of drawing upon philosophy to illustrate his argument gives the poem an intellectual appeal, not just a visual one. There is also complete devotion displayed in this first stage of the argument, namely: "I would Love you ten years before the flood. And you should, if you please, refuse Till the conversion of the Jews."

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Uploaded by:   Bag puss

Date:   11/09/2005

Category:   Poems

Length:   6 pages (1,274 words)

Views:   2388

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