To His Coy Mistress

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  • Created by: Natalia
  • Created on: 22-03-13 09:41
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  • To His Coy Mistress
    • Quotes
      • "Had we but world enough, and time, This coyness, Lady, were no crime"
        • If only we had unlimited time your shyness wouldn't be a problem.
        • Suggests her shyness is an offence, wrong, a sin.
      • "Indian Ganges"
        • Large river in India, worshipped as a goddess.
      • "Humber"
        • A river in the North of England - Marvell's local river. Not romantic.
      • "the Flood"
        • Reference to the Old Testament exaggerates the time scale, emphasising his sarcasm.
      • "Till the conversion of the Jews"
        • Something that will never happen or is unlikely to happen.
      • "My vegetable love should grow Vaster than empires, and more slow; an hundred years"
        • Overstates his love to the point of being comic.
      • "eyes ... forehead ... breast"
        • Focuses on her physical attributes.
      • "Two hundred ... thirty thousand ... An age"
        • He exaggerates the time he would spend on flattery if there were no limits.
      • "you deserve this state, Nor would I love at lower rate"
        • He tells her she's worth spending all this time on and he does want to be able to lover in this way.
        • Reference to prostitution.
      • "But at my back I always hear Time's winged chariot hurrying near"
        • Metaphor from Greek mythology - Helios the Sun god rides his chariot across the sky. Shows the passing of time.
        • Love is a myth.
      • "Deserts of vast eternity"
        • Contrasts vastness and nothingness of death with how brief but full of possibilities life is.
      • "then worms shall try that long preserved virginity, And your quaint honour turn to dust"
        • He tells her she'll die and be buried a virgin to be eaten by worms. He's trying to shock her into giving him what he wants.
      • "The grave's a fine and private place, But none, I think, do there embrace"
        • Sarcasm
      • "Now"
        • Repetition makes it sound like a call to action.
      • "willing soul"
        • Assumes that she is willing - he is ignoring what she wants, or is trying to convince her what she wants.
      • "instant fires"
        • Passionate language
      • "like amorous birds of prey ... devour"
        • Simile draws attention to the power and passion of these creatures to emphasise his desire for immediate satisfaction.
        • Sexual male predator, violent.
      • "let us role all our strength and all Our sweetness up into one ball"
        • Wants them to be united.
      • "rough strife"
        • Violent language and imagery suggest he may be getting impatient with her.
      • "Thus though we cannot make our sun Stand still, yet we will make him run"
        • Defiantly standing up to time - time will have to run to keep up with them.
  • Suggests her shyness is an offence, wrong, a sin.


Paul Dutton


A detailed mind map on the poem which contains useful key quotes.

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