ANALYSIS OF ANDREW MARVELL'S TO HIS COY MISTRESS



Introduction:   Marvell, the metaphysical poet, who carried the school of Donne to its zenith, uses all the ingenuous resources to present the carpediem theme of the conquest of time through intense enjoyment. Marvell’s To His Coy Mistress is one of the most eloquent. Although Marvell rides on the theme of the love and time, Marvell is unique in his use of wit and logic, on the one hand and intense emotion and passion on the other. Imagery in poetry refers to the use of various sense impressions from the varied worlds of perception to vivify a particular emotion or theme. The metaphysical poets, Marvell in particular, were renowned for their distinctive use of imagery known as conceits. Conceits are the intense and elaborate parallels which amaze the readers by their ingenuity and appropriateness in spite of the seeming differences. Even Johnson called it the ‘yoking’ of the disparate, a finding of resemblance between things apparently unlike. Celebrated example from Donne include The use of religious ecstasy or a draftsman’s compass to express the intermination of two lovers .Marvell, too uses a succession of kaleidoscopic images to vivify his carpediem theme.




Metaphysical poem Marvell, the metaphysical poet, who carried the ‘school of Donne’ to its zenith, uses all the ingenious resources to present the carpe diem theme of the conquest of time and transience through intense enjoyment. Among the major devices of metaphysical poetry is the use of conceits, the Discordia concords of finding elaborate parallels between things apparently unlike. If Donne uses the conceits of a draftsman’s compass, navigational explorations or a pilgrimage, Marvell uses the equally amazing imagery and conceit of vegetable love, winged chariots, predatory birds and a running sun. A metaphysical poet is invariably dramatic and Marvell is no exception. The dramatic quality is evident in its being an address to a beloved in its abrupt beginning, its conversational tone and its rigorous logic as used in a debate. Metaphysical poets tend to use argumentation and logical sequence to establish their connections even in the realm of love. Even emotion is intellectualized here. The sequence is syllogistic and this is of ideal love is opposed by antithesis of devastation of love by time and finally the synthesis of intense consummation of love. Unlike a Sidney, The metaphysical poets did not idealize love or adulate the beloved. Marvell, too, uses the irony and even mockery to bring the beloved down to the same level as he.

Time and love(carpediem):  Time and transience, love and its expiry passion and its devastation have been his them is of poetry from yore, the Elizabethan sonneteers like Spenser and Shakespeare being the propagators of the belief that time’s ravages or its destruction of love and the beloved can be conquered through transcendent poetry. Marvell, in contrast to the Elizabethans would refuse to accept poetry as the only redeeming feature just as he would reject the Keatsian stoic resonation and quiescence believes in vibrant human an action. Therefore, he enjoins the lover and the beloved to enjoy the short span of life, of youthful life granted to him, and to use it to its utmost. Intensity must compensate for the brevity. This is none other than the carpediem theme – meaning “siege the day” – begum by Asclepius, a Greek poet, one which has been rendered memorable in Herrick’s brief and memorable lyric to the virgins to make much of time. But while Herrick like Asclepius made a simple plea –“then be not coy, but use your time/ And, while ye may go marry” – Marvell’s is much more elaborate and complex treatment of the theme. Instead of a simple lyric Marvell uses all the ingenious devices of metaphysical poetry to deflate the idealized platonic conception of love with irony, wit and humour and then to present an intense and vivid enjoyment of a sexual love which would be abundant recompense for love’s transience.

WIT or PASSION: Although Marvell writes on the theme of love and time, a theme which is universally believed to be logical in nature, Marvell is unique in his use of wit and logic on the one hand and intense emotion and passion on the other. The poem comprises a succession of verbal ironies, verbal irony being a mode in which the speaker says something and means exactly the opposite. The entire first stanza of To His Coy Mistress appears to eulogize sexual love, and yet by its vey hyperbole actually ironically subserves the praise. Severally, in the second stanza, the grave might seen a fine place and yet the very next line –“None I think do Their embress” ---- makes the ironic intention obvious. But what is most amazing is that in spite of using such ironic wit, Marvell can sustain emotional intensity. The ardour of his desire the sincerity of his devotion, are never in doubt, and in the climactic third stanza, the emotional intensity reaches its apology. The perfervid lover can even conceive of making the sun stand still, of making the universe immobile for the fruition of their love. Despite the apparent cavalier poise and elegance of poets like locale Herrick and sucking which may make it seen frivolous or superficial, a mere society piece, the rigorous logic, the imagery and perfervid intensity make it a poem much more profound and sincere than those of the cavalier poets.

Imagery and conceit:  Imagery in poetry refers to the use of various sense impressions from the varied worlds of perception to vivily or particular emotion or theme. The metaphysical poets, Marvellin particular, were renowned for their distinctive use of imagery, known as conceits. Conceits are the intense and elaborate parallels which amaze the reader by their ingenuity and appropriateness in spite of the seeming differences. Even Johnson called it the ‘yoking’ of the disparate, a Discordia concords, a finding of resemblance between things apparently unlike. Celebrated examples from Donne include the use of religious ecstasy or a draftsman’s compass or even a geographical globe to express the inter animation of two lovers. Marvell, too, uses a succession of kaleidoscopic images to vivify his carpe – Diem Theme.

Comparison of GOOD MORROW and COY MISTRESS:   The most renowned poems of the two most renowned poems of the two most renowned metaphysical poets reveal the diversity in unity and the unity in diversity of the metaphysical school of poetry. While the Good Morrow is about the blossoming of love and awakening into a new amorous spirituality, Marvell’s To His Coy Mistress is about the futility of bashfulness and the necessity of physical consummation. While Donne’s poem is more spiritual than physical, though physicality is not excluded altogether, Marvell’s poem is more physical than spiritual, though spirituality is not excluded altogether. Both the poems use the resources of far – fetched imagery or conceits, both involve a dramatic situation in which the lover addresses the beloved and both have abrupt, in Medias beginning. But while Donne never uses irony Marvell’s poem abounds in irony.

Conclusion: -Thus, Marvell’s carpediem treatment of the theme of love and time not only demolish the effect and effeminate platonic love, but also to render the sexual consummation dramatically vigorous and desirable.  Thus by of the fact that To His Coy Mistress comprises farfetched conceits, a dramatic mode, a seriatim logic and egalitarianism in love, the poem proves one of thee most successful and memorable metaphysical poem.


ref: Encarta, Wiki

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