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 complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow;
A 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;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, Lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.
But at my back I always hear
Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
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 into ashes all my lust:
The grave’s a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.
Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapped power.
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Through the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.
I wish the colours the poet (Andrew Marvell) used in painting love in the first stanza are still ceremonious if one looks out through the window. But we know time will ever chase and eventually overtake us.
This poem sounds to me like the milky way. Everyday they say there is another of those strange plantery bodies.
I think the poem is all stored up in the stanza three, like precipitates sitting at the bottom of a cornical flask.
Now let us sport us while we may, And now, like amorous birds of prey, Rather at once our time devour
The imagery used here is quite powerful and sexual but it could be explaining something more powerful. Who has seen the birds of prey keep their food for the morrow? Or who has seen same birds shut their eyes because the sun was too intense?
But stanza two looks like a medicine; a bitter one. Not a placebo.
Note: ‘To his coy mistress’, over the ages have had mixed perceptions and notions from critics as opposed to the initial perception of the poet’s notion.
Please chew that medicine in stanza two and drop your comment below.