To His Coy Mistress
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Andrew Marvells “To His Coy Mistress” seems more like a persuasive speech than a conventional poem. The narrator uses intellect and charm to influence his mistress to give up her innocence. Conventional poems use emotions and symbolism to garner the feelings, while the narrator uses scheme, imagery, and rhetorical appeal to gain this love affair that a lifetime would not give.
The opening stanza “Had we but world enough and time/this coyness, lady, were no crime,” gives a defensive approach to the womans relsiliency. yet in the following lines “we would sit down,” allows him time to reverse the original thought of this woman. “To walk, and pass our long loves day,” is his scheme for her just to take some time out and let them enjoy their fruitful feelings. This scheme of his is the approach to cleverly break the ice and work his intellect where as any other apprach would have been denied. This reverse psychology and descriptive imagery would later give him the advantage he needs.
More talk and less though is the narrators way of using run-ons to sell himself. He goes on to say, “I would love you ten years before the flood/ and you should, if you please/ refuse till the conversion of the Jews.” There would be time enough, and yet he never uses forever. Instead he extends time for his description of appreciation. He at times makes himself the victim of loves slumber, using his imagery to show how his love would growvaster than empires and stand the test of time. He knows she is in her prime and her innocence is also a marvel he claims he would adore. “An hundred years should go to praise,” is his attempt to capture the enigma of eternity. He expands to two hundred years and follows with thirty thousand to trap her imagination in mystery. These centuries of adornment are his way of slowly appreciating all her magnificent features.