Poems To His Coy Mistress and The Flea

Categories: Poems

Andrew Marvell and John Donne were both metaphysical poets who did not write for money, but for pleasure. Also both poets are writing about a male speaker who is pressurising their mistress to succumb to their sexual desire. In these poems we also can find some humorous lines, which were intended.

"Had we but enough, and time,

This Coyness, Lady, were no crime,"

The speaker indicates in the first two lines to his mistress that if they had all the time in the world she could wait long as she wanted, but he is saying they don't have that much time.

"Thou by the Ganges' side"

In the first stanza of this poem the speaker is exaggerating his love for his sweetheart. He explains that his love spans over time and various lands. He also makes the situation they are in seem so unimportant.

"Till the conversions of the Jews"

Out of both poems only Marvell uses biblical references to lure his lady into sexual relations.

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This is quite amusing because the Bible shows sex out of marriage as immoral and he is using it to constitute their love.

"My vegetable love should grow"

This line is a double on entendre. It firstly means he wants his love to grow, but also wants to be sexually aroused. Continuously in the first stanza he is showing how much adoration he has for her but throughout there is suggested phallic jokes.

Also there are jokes implied in John Donne's poem for instance the last two lines of the first stanza.

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Drama, "And pamper'd swells with one blood made of two,

And this , alas, is more than we would do."Drama, The poet is pointing out that sex is hunger which is supposed to be fed and should not be put to starvation.

"Two hundred to adore each breast,

But thirty thousand to the rest;"

His fire of love for his mistress will never "blow out". This is effective because he is trying to get his desired lady to trust him and would make her feel that that he is wanting this for her best interest, not to satisfy him!

In the second stanza the tone of the speaker darkened. In the first stanza he says how much he loves her and how he would never stop loving, then informs her that she will not stay young and beautiful and he will soon lose interest in her. The speaker contradicts himself and uses every tactic to for fill his wants.

He ridicules his Mistress when he says:

"Thy beauty shall no more be found"

This is diplomatic because it makes the Mistress think that she will soon be too old for sexual relations and he will not want her.

"Now therefore, while the youthful hue

Sits on thy skin like morning dew,"

In the third stanza of "The Flea" the speaker comes to the conclusion that while she is still young she should capture her opportunity to fulfil her life, as nothing else is important than the offer he is giving her. This is effective because she will feel that she is not fulfilled without this experience.

"Thus though we cannot make our sun

Stand still, yet we will make him run."

The rhyming couplet emphasizes that, as they cannot stop time they should seize the day and constitute their love for each other. The last line has a double on entendre, it firstly means they will make time come forward but also a phallic joke is made. Also The speaker is saying he is giving her a chance she may never come across again. He proves that the base of his love for her is plainly on her beauty but as her beauty fades so will his attraction towards her.

In the poem "The Flea" John Donne uses a tiny insect and its blood sucking abilities to influence his sweet heart that sex out of moral guidance with him is not wrong.

"It suck'd me first, and now sucks thee,

And in this flea, our two bloods mingled be;"

This idiom illustrates as the flea combines the two bloods from the male speaker and his mistress this echoes the union of sex. The poet proposes in this phrase, the flea has done an innocent act, which mirrors the act of sex neither being immoral or crime.

"Now let us sport us while we may"

This is similar as in the third stanza of to his Coy Mistress the poet presents us with the thought of sex being just a sport and not a partnership in love. I feel the use of the word "sport" degrades the special amalgamation of two people and suggests a lack of seriousness. The thought of killing for sport is both immoral and domining. So suggesting a sexual bond with sport makes an imperative matter sound trivial.

"Thou knows't that this cannot be said

A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead,"

The flea having taken her blood has not taken her virtue. This sets some humour in to the poem, as the poet suggest they could unite without courting. Making what she holds sacred seems to be outdated and juvenile.

This reminds me of a phrase in the second stanza in Marvell's poem

"And your quaint honour turn to dust,

And into ashes all my lust."

The word "quaint" suggests that her reputation is not important and she

Is therefore childish if she refuses him.

"Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare,

Where we almost, yea more than married are."

The speaker implies that this flea represents more than ordinary marriage as they are married together by blood in the flea.

In both poems the speakers contradict themselves, in "The Flea" the phrase

"This Flea is you and I, and this

Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is;"

This suggests that the flea is really important, as their blood is married in it, so it is all right to have sex. But in the first stanza the speaker persuades his mistress that sex out of marriage is not immoral but just a craving, which needs fulfilled.

Talking of marriage will give her a push into succumbing to his desire's, as it was very important for a girl to be married before sex.

Clearly she wants to kill the flea in line 16 and the speaker describes this as killing a part of him.

There is death mentioned in both poems in "The Flea" these following lines are used.

"Cruel and sudden, hast thou since

Purpled thy nail, in blood of innocence?"

In the third stanza she has clearly murdered the flea, She has destroyed their marriage in blood and their sexual union will not commence as their love is now gone.

Andrew Marvell is not as cautious with death compared to John Donne; he gives us a horrible image that his mistress will lose her virginity to something not human.

"My echoing song; then worms will try

That long preserved virginity,"

The speaker proposes that virginity is a waste of youth and once you have lost your attractiveness no one will want to have her virginity.

In the last three lines of this argument the sweetheart of the speaker falls into his trap of words because his response was that she will not lose any more of her honour by succumbing to his sexual desires, in the same way that she has not lost her life by killing the flea.

"Tis true, then learn how false, fears be;

Just so much honour, when thou yield'st to me,

Will waste, as this flea's death took life from thee."

Updated: Apr 19, 2023
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Poems To His Coy Mistress and The Flea. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/poems-to-his-coy-mistress-and-the-flea-2-essay

Poems To His Coy Mistress and The Flea essay
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