Comparing Easy by Peters with Marvell's To his Coy Mistress

Categories: Andrew Marvell
About this essay

After reading the two poems in detail and after doing group analysis the following points were brought up for a further evaluation. These were: theme, ideas, language, imagery and personal opinion.

Both poems deal with seduction and relationships but vary of how it is done. In the poem ‘Easy’, SEX seemed to be the biggest issue. The relationship here was more of a ‘one time fling’ or a ‘one night stand’ type of relationship where the characters only pursue love of a sexual nature and nothing more.

As we have seen later in the poem, one member of this relationship is always left distraught. They are left to feel worthless, with an extremely low self-esteem. Although with ‘To his Coy Mistress’, there seemed to be love set on a different plateau as admiration and praise had been given before the interaction of the two took place which showed respect and appreciation for their partner, but this second poem only goes up as far as to verbal seduction and the aftermath of it was never seen and so the consequences (if there were any) could not have been seen by the reader.

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Many speculations in the class were delivered during class about the ‘seductor’ of the second poem to be just as cruel as the one of ‘Easy’. We cannot truly say that after they accomplish their liaison that they will still be together.

The ideas of the ‘one night stand’ in ‘Easy’ can be expanded to peer pressure, pressure from the main female in poem to conform with the ‘guys’ and to agree with having sex, and to lose her virginity to a man, which seems not to be her Mr.

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Right; and pressure from the main male of the poem to publicize his lies with his group to make him more popular with them. “First time y’ know: hers, not mine of course.” It seems that he has to project this ‘male-macho’ image to his gang. This shows true insecurity. If he feels he has to project his image onto his friends, that means he isn’t doing it already and he feels the need to fabricate additional lies to make them think more of him.

The one who is at the end of this, facing all the impact and misery is the girl. She had to confront the ones who slander her name and giving her peer pressure because she didn’t agree with them and so was called a ‘fridge’ a recluse, an introvert. But the instant she gave in, she was branded with the name “slag” and ” a real goer” some one you can go to for sex without the burden of having to be with them when you had finished. The girl was treated like trash because she had lost in the battle she could never have won, whatever way you put it.

The ideas emphasized by ‘To his Coy Mistress’ were of love having to be developed, that you mustn’t rush into things because what you may be doing could be wrong. It also implies the need for praising beauty, through courtly love. These men were often educated and pursued women of great stature, beauty and recognition. In these times you had to ‘work your keep’ this meant you had to work hard to get what you wanted because it was rarely handed to you on a ‘silver plate’.

Because this poem was set in mid 17th Century, the people of this time were very different with their approach with love. People were not so prompt and ready at the click of a finger. Nevertheless there was also a mortality limit to think about. As medicinal technology had not as been so advanced as ours in the 21st Century their life expectancy was very short, about thirty/forty years. This meant that some people felt hurried. This was occasionally noted in the second poem with sudden burst of quotes from other famous writers such as “But at my back I always hear, Time’s winged chariot hurrying near” meaning that time they are limited on which how much time they have left on this earth and that they had to ‘do it’ now or else they would die and would have accomplished nothing but wasted breath.

The poem ‘Easy’ had been the more modern approach to love in relationships. You can tell because of the use of language in the poem, and the way the writer sets it. There is no rhyming pattern at all, and each line is short. It seems more like a play, or a story. The language may be in ‘slang’ but the imagery it conveys is more vivid as young teenagers like ourselves have seen situations like this before where as with the second poem, it is more ‘bound up’ due to it being written about three hundred years ago, meaning different dialect and different situations. In ‘Easy’, there is a picture in your mind of a party incident; music is blaring, alcohol being consumed like water and everybody is trying to have a great time no matter what the consequences could be. Everybody is in that party for themselves and nobody notices what the person next to them is doing.

“He swaggers downstairs and stops

To see who might be looking, hesitates

And joins a group who loll against the wall;”

It seems like whom ever this ‘guy’ is has just finished what his first intentions of coming to the party were. The poem says that this person is pleased with himself; he walks down with an air of defiance and a vain opinion of himself. He tries to see who is looking at his display of superiority, stops because his conscience might be saying ‘you did wrong’ or doubts because that his friends would think badly of him but instead his ego wins over and lets him ‘lie’ his way in. The poet continues with this same person preparing what he is to say to his gang,

“Only a slight exhalations indicates relief at being asked.

Slowly he draws breath,

Like a drum roll preceding the wire act”

It seems that he has been waiting for this moment of being asked of his ‘glorious triumph’. He breathes out a little because he’s finally been asked. There’s probably a grin on his face, this only shows total immaturity of Peter’s characters, just right for the age he may be depicting, young, crude, not knowing much of the world yet. He slowly draws his breath so as he can collect his thought because he’s not completely sure of what he’s going to say. “Like a drum roll preceding the wire act”. I think this suggests that this person is nervous, the writer uses simile “wire act” and anyone who does anything at altitude have rights to be scared and anxious.

The writer is introducing more of this character’s arrogance,

“And he smiles a lazy smile

And …

Stage whispers, “First time y’ know: hers, not mine of course.”

This ‘male-macho’ attitude is old and beginning to get unbearable. It is not as if he is telling the truth, maybe he is but he’s giving his friends a bad impression about the girl, mocking her innocence and inexperience. “And his audience lean back appreciatively” the writer shows not disgust from the gang but toleration of this attitude towards women, treating them like trash.

The poem has a quick, short but dramatic and meaningful ending. While the girl is scorned, the gang are transfixed with the story and are envious because it wasn’t them in his position. They do not know that the main character of this poem had shattered the reputation of the girl.

” ‘Did you really?’

‘Oh yeah, too right’….

While upstairs,

Mascara tears

Rain black

Into the basin.”

Everyone is having a good time apart from the girl upstairs who regrets everything she had just done. The short lines are concise and convey the largest impact. Andrew Peters uses brilliant Metaphorical skills with “Mascara tears Rain black Into the basin” Peters suggest that the girl is facing so much trauma that her tears fall with such volume that they were like rain.

‘To his Coy Mistress’ is different in its way of structure and use of vocabulary. This poem has a rhyming pattern, which to me only makes the poem seem elegant but not better. Unlike Andrew Peters, Andrew Marvell’s poem is more of a ‘one on one’. There clearly is a one-way conversation between the speaker and the listener. In A. Peters’ poems, he describes the ‘scene of the crime’. What I mean by this is that he is telling what is happening to the characters at that precise moment, but with the second poem we are only seeing a man trying to win over his mistress.

In this second poem we see a different sort of intimacy. There is constant perpetual persuasion, by any means possible, through beautiful verses that show devotion and love to worries of limited time. There are three main parts to this poem of logical arguments: Thesis, antithesis and synthesis. In the first line verse, its contents are filled with a statement of, ‘if I had enough time, I would wait, praise and adore you’. In the second verse Marvell writes a counter statement, ‘There isn’t enough time’ this character ‘butters up’ his lady and builds up a trap for her to fall in.

Marvell is clever and entices the lady, one making her approve that if there was enough time that she would be praised, once she is lured to that, he sets the ‘trap’ off and says, ‘we don’t have time’ and so saying that he cannot wait and praise her. The ‘trap’ has captured its prey and the only way it can be let out is with a solution in the third verse; the synthesis. Now because they don’t have time Marvell says that they should just sleep with each other now. Clever, deceitful and manipulative. Is there any difference to A. Peters’ ‘Easy’?

It seems not, because the words here are less crude. Because Marvell is a Metaphysical poet, this hides the sharpness and wickedness of his seduction. Examples from the three verses of such excellence are:

“Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side

Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide

Of Humber would complain…”

The Indian Ganges is said to be of exotic location. He compares himself to the mistress as he, the humble Humber, and her, the Ganges of beauty and unsurpassable grace.

“An hundred years should go to praise

Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;

Two hundred to adore each breast,

But thirty thousand to the rest….

..For, lady, you deserve this state,

Nor would I love at lower rate.”

Here Marvell uses Metaphysical poetry and mixes it with romance. He says that if there was time, a hundred years must go into praising her beauty, two hundred more to adore each of her breasts but thirty millenniums for the rest of her body as it deserves it so, meaning he will love her for ever. The writer is saying that this lady deserves this treatment and nothing less.

In the second verse, Marvell brings in worry, as the first attempt of persuasion did not work,

“But at my back I always hear

Time’s winged chariot hurrying near;

…Thy beauty shall no more be found

Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound

My echoing song; then worms shall try

That long preserved virginity,

And your quaint honour turn to dust,

And all my ashes all my lust

The grave’s a fine but private place

But none I think do there embrace”

Marvell is saying that they do not have much time left and that if she stays so shy and timid, she will die a virgin. Marvell it trying to show the mistress a sense of reality; he’s not getting anywhere with persuasion so he tries to ‘pop’ her off ‘cloud nine’. Marvell puts a horrible vision in your mind of a vault full of worms passing in and out of her bones. He says that all of his attempts were useless and that even he does not wish to agree with this concept.

In the last verse we are told of the writers resolution; that they could stop this worry if they make love with each other now.

“Now let us sport as while we may

And now, like am’rous birds of prey”

Marvell is saying that while they still can, do it, because they won’t stall young and enthusiastic about life in the future coming years. If you notice the apostrophe in amorous, this is a form of writing adapted by great romantic writers of the time.

“And tear our pleasures with rough strife

Thorough the iron gates of life.

Thus, though we cannot make our sun

Stand still, yet we can make him run”

I think this means that they cannot stop time: that they cannot stay young forever and waste it on unconditional adoration. ‘Giving it a run /run for its money’ meaning that they will endeavour to do it with the best of their abilities, and take it to it’s full potential. (a little confusing but at least this poem ends on a high note)

Both poems are fantastic; they have different styles of writing but still show us an image they were trying to portray with their words. I think both writers are trying to make us aware that we should respect our partners and that we have no control over time. No control meaning we cannot turn it back when we do something we regret, and that we don’t have enough of it. I think the message is to use the time we have wisely and not let the pressure of anticipation get to us. Everything will come in the right time, so we shouldn’t hurry it but when it does to take it to the full.

Cite this page

Comparing Easy by Peters with Marvell's To his Coy Mistress. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from

Comparing Easy by Peters with Marvell's To his Coy Mistress
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