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Andrew Marvell: A Metaphysical Poet

Categories: Andrew Marvell

Andrew Marvell was a famous Metaphysical Poet. Marvell lived from 1621 to 1678 and made a few accomplishments, his poem has unique style and theme for his time, and his poem contains a deep analysis. He wrote several love poems; “To His Coy Mistress” was one of his most unusual poems for the time in history which he lived. Born on March 31, 1621, in Winestead-in-Holderness, Yorkshire, England Marvell was the son of an Anglican clergy man. He attended Hull Grammar school, and at the age of 12 began college at Cambridge University.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1638, but it is believed that he stayed at Cambridge until 1641 for a master’s degree. Not much is known about Andrew Marvell’s life; though scholars do know in the 1650s he had a part in the English Government. In 1657 He was appointed Assistant Latin Secretary to the Council of the state; in 1659 he concentrated more on political satire and stopped writing poetry. During Marvell’s life time England’s government had some surprising changes.

Monarchy and parliament worked together, but King James I did not have the skill to manage a country, but the government gained more issues when his son, Charles I succeeded him. King Charles I was overthrown and beheaded. England wanted to establish a new government, after doing so; Charles II was made King of England. Marvell died on August 16, 1678 due to a fever. “While he is not thought to be married, shortly after his death, a woman claiming to be his widow published a volume of his poetry” (Ruby 276).

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He was one of the chief wits and satirists, a Puritan, and a public defender of individual liberty during his time. Today he is just known for his poetry. (Margoliouth, Sackville-West, Hunt, Murray, Toliver, Legouis, Wallace, Friednreich, Donno.

In the 1600s Marvell’s poem “To His Coy Mistress” was seen as “obscene and obscure” because of his message in the poem, and the control the church had over the people. Marvell is considered to have been a carpe diem writer, and sometimes described as a metaphysical poet.

Carpe diem means the writing style encourages a reader to “seize the day” because life is short; Metaphysical poets use many unique metaphors and were very appreciated for their originality. Jeffrey Karon states “To His Coy Mistress” may be one of Marvell’s most destructive poems. “Its strength is that having turned against itself in the expected manner of ironic poems, it then turns against its own internal objections” (Karon par. 39). In the poem, the speaker describes how he could worship his mistress forever; however part two the tone shifts to time rushing past and the mistress’s physical beauty being wasted away with it.

The speaker wants to beat time and enjoy his mistress’s company. There are many different themes in “To His Coy Mistress” such as time, love, passion, seduction, beauty, and death. This poem is of forty-six lines, and three paragraphs dividing up the rhyming couplets. Marvell used personification, hyperboles, and very bizarre metaphors. The speaker is speaking to his mistress in a rhetorical situation. He passionately describes his love for her and there is not enough time to live to show her how beautiful she is, and how great his love is for her.

He wants his love with his mistress to go further by getting intimate with each other, although she wants to save her virginity due to her religious views with the church. He informs her if their love is true and they are in love, they should further their relationship. The woman is said to be coy because she is taking too much time, and time doesn’t stop for anyone. “’To His Coy Mistress’ is a sublime example of a carpe diem poem, a Latin phrase meaning ‘seize the day’” (Adams par. 8). The first two lines of the poem the main theme, time, is introduced to the reader.

It is basically saying life passes quickly and one should not waste their youth, that they should “seize the day. ” The first paragraph of the poem the speaker describes how life is too short for them to waste time. He uses exotic metaphors such as, “vegetable love” to describe how long he could love his mistress. Beginning at line seven until line eighteen he uses hyperboles to describe the amount of years he could love her and devote to worship her. He describes her physical attractiveness and how long he could love every part of her body and of course her heart.

In paragraph two the speaker goes from speaking of his love for his mistress to imagining her grave. He speaks of time as the driver in a chariot hurrying closer to them; he uses “hurrying” to the show the distress of the little time they have. A few lines down in this paragraph, he describes to his mistress her virginity will eventually over time mean nothing, and when she dies it will be an unusual and worthless treasure. In the first few lines of third and final paragraph the

speaker describes his mistress as “morning dew” saying she is young and her skin a healthy glow just like the dew over the grass in the early morning. Another exotic metaphor he uses is “birds of prey. ” He and his mistress are the birds, and they are preying on time. They want to eat and not be eaten. The speaker finally breaks through and wins his mistress over using the last few lines of the poem. He is saying to her they should take every part of themselves, the strong, the sweet, and the vulnerable, roll it up into a ball and come together as one to beat time.

Since they cannot make the sun stay still they will race with him, the speaker using personification and making the sun seem like a person literally racing with him. Marvell was not acknowledged for his unique, but brilliant poems until after his death, he changed the meaning of Metaphysical Poet. Marvell made a few accomplishments, his poems usually had unique style and theme for his time, and his poem contains a deep analysis. This could be a perfect poem for someone interested in love poems with deep meaning.

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Andrew Marvell: A Metaphysical Poet. (2018, Nov 09). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/andrew-marvell-a-metaphysical-poet-essay

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