A Short Analysis of Andrew Marvell’s ‘To His Coy Mistress’

Another Marvell-ous poem and interpretation. By far this is my favourite poet, his words span the centuries and are the encouragement and embodiment of all that poetry stands for. Only my opinion of course.

Interesting Literature

A summary of a classic poem of seduction

‘To His Coy Mistress’ is one of the most famous poems of the seventeenth century, and probably the most famous poem Andrew Marvell (1621-78) ever wrote. It’s a classic seduction poem, which sees Marvell endeavouring to persuade his would-be lover, or ‘mistress’, to go to bed with him. As well as being a seduction lyric, ‘To His Coy Mistress’ is also a carpe diem poem, which argues that we should ‘seize the day’ because life is short. Here is Marvell’s poem, followed by a brief summary and analysis of its language and meaning.

To His Coy Mistress

Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down, and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love’s day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would…

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