Essay Preview: Andrew Marvell
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British Literature Honors
June 7, 2006
Through the Life of Andrew Marvell
Andrew Marvell was born on March 31, 1621 in Yorkshire, England. He graduated Trinity College, Cambridge in 1933 as a Sizar. Over the course of his life, he wrote more that 50 poems including all different types of poetry. Marvell was a republican but didnt fulfill every “requirement” of a republican. He died on August 16, 1678 at the age of 57, very old for that time period.
Marvell had befriended the great poet John Milton in 1653 when Milton wrote Marvell a Letter of Recommendation for the Post of Assistant Latin Secretary to the Council of State, which he ended up getting in 1657. The poems that Marvell was best known for are, “To His Coy Mistress” and “The Definition of Love”. In September of 1657, Marvell was appointed assistant to his friend Milton.
The Restoration took place 1660, and Marvell had saved Milton from an extended jail term and possible execution. In 1659, Marvell was elected M.P. of his hometown of Hull. Marvell wrote two poems, one in Greek and one in Latin, and both were published (printed) in the “Musa Cantabrigiensis” in 1637.
Most of Marvells English poems were non-satiric. Although Marvell was well known for those poems (“To His Coy Mistress” and “The Definition of Love”), but his most profound poem was, “Upon Appleton House”. It is his most profound poem because it is the poem that developed him as a man and also as a poet. Marvell was paid Ðˆ200, the same as Milton. Marvell was so well known that he has tutored Cromwells nephew and ward, William Dutton, living at Eton. When Andrew Marvell died on August 16, 1678, he was buried in the Church of St. Giles-in-the-Fields.
In both poems, “To His Coy Mistress” and “The Mower to the Glowworms”, Andrew Marvell uses the literary devices of imagery, parallel structure, and diction to contrast the theme of love. Both poems have something to do with love. In “To His Coy Mistress” the theme of love plays in when he wants his mistress to give up her virginity, give up everything, and give it to him, supposedly out of love. In “The Mower to the Glowworms”, the theme of love shows when the glowworm tries to help the mower come out of his trance from his obsessed love for Julianne, and find the way back to sanity and concentrating on the things he used to do.
In Marvells poem “To His Coy Mistress”, the poet describes the natural beauty aspect of a negative person. A mistress is someone who sleeps around with a married man, a very bad thing, but Marvell describes his mistress in a good way. From the title we know that it is a letter or poem to this unknown mistress. Also from the title we know that coy mean artful play ness. So, he is writing to his cute, playful mistress.
The poem is written in AABC paragraph format. The first two lines rhyme, then the third and fourth do not. Then it starts back up with another rhyming couplet. He uses figurative language to try to per sway his mistress to give up her virginity and give it to him. He says he wants her to do this because of his love for her, but he never says the words, “I Love You” to her, so we think to ourselves, why would he want her to give up everything to him?
His use of diction is very precise in the fact that each and every word is chosen very carefully and has had a lot of thought put into it. Each sentence shows how much he wants his mistress to give up her virginity to him, and to show her love for him. The imagery is showing something new throughout the poem. He starts to get one picture in the readers head, then, he switches that image and creates a new image. He does this after the AABC rhythmic pattern.
In Andrew Marvells “The