Sunday, January 29, 2012

Close reading of To His Coy Mistress

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To his Coy Mistress


1 Had we but world enough, and time,


This coyness, lady, were no crime.


Write my Essay on Close reading of To His Coy Mistress for me




We would sit down and think which way


4 To walk, and pass our long loves day;


5 Thou by the Indian Ganges side


6 Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide


7 Of Humber would complain. I would


8 Love you ten years before the Flood;


And you should, if you please, refuse


10 Till the conversion of the Jews.


11 My vegetable love should grow


1 Vaster than empires, and more slow.


1 An hundred years should go to praise


14 Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;


15 Two hundred to adore each breast,


16 But thirty thousand to the rest;


17 An age at least to every part,


18 And the last age should show your heart.


1 For, lady, you deserve this state,


0 Nor would I love at lower rate.


1 But at my back I always hear


Times winged chariot hurrying near;


And yonder all before us lie


4 Deserts of vast eternity.


5 Thy beauty shall no more be found,


6 Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound


7 My echoing song; then worms shall try


8 That long preservd virginity,


And your quaint honour turn to dust,


0 And into ashes all my lust.


1 The graves a fine and private place,


But none I think do there embrace.


Now therefore, while the youthful hue


4 Sits on thy skin like morning dew,


5 And while thy willing soul transpires


6 At every pore with instant fires,


7 Now let us sport us while we may;


8 And now, like amrous birds of prey,


Rather at once our time devour,


40 Than languish in his slow-chappd power.


41 Let us roll all our strength, and all


4 Our sweetness, up into one ball;


4 And tear our pleasures with rough strife


44 Thorough the iron gates of life.


45 Thus, though we cannot make our sun


46 Stand still, yet we will make him run.





Reaction / Close Reading Paper


To His Coy Mistress is, I believe, an extremely interesting and enticing poem about love. Love may be, perhaps, the most clich�d topic of poetry, but this poem has always been one of my favorites. I believe that this poem is written so suggestively, many writers must feel the need to expound upon its meaning. It is a dramatic monologue, in which the speaker is addressing his lady friend. This paper will combine a close reading or interpretation of the poem with my reactions to the poem itself.


The essential theme of this poem is the speaker attempting to persuade his coy mistress to have sexual relations with him. He (the speaker) appears to use three different tactics in order to convince his would-be lover to acquiesce. This poem includes an argument, a counter argument and a conclusion.


Had we but world enough, and time/ This coyness, Lady, were no crime. This line translates into if time and place were infinite, wasting time being modest and demure would be alright. He continues by saying, We would sit down and think which way/ To walk and pass our long loves day. These two lines are the speakers way of telling his mistress they could linger and decide slowly how to spend and/or consummate their love. I also believe that long loves day refers to the entirety of their love and not just the day at hand.


Love you ten years before the flood;/ And you should, if you please, refuse/ Till the conversion of the Jews. These lines are among my absolute favorite in this poem as they also carry a spiritual connotation in them. Ten years before the flood (which occurs sometime in Genesis after creation) until the conversion of the Jews (which is to happen at Armageddon) is a long passage of time. The speaker rhetorically expresses his clearly impossible ideas of timelessness intertwined with love. I feel this also clearly defines the newness of their relationship as these impractical ideas are often found in new love. Further more, My vegetable love should grow/ Vaster than empires and more slow shows the exaggeration of time and space that is also often associated with young love. I truly enjoy the use of vegetable in these lines as it implies the slow growing sense of the speakers love.


From the following lines, the speaker says that he would use hundreds of years to praise his lovers different body parts, and such an expression only foreshadows their lack of time which is inevitable in the poem An hundred years should go to praise/ Thine eyes, and on they forehead gaze;/ Two hundred to adore each breast, / But thirty thousand for the rest. Although the speaker declared that the lady did deserve such high praise, the fact is that such high praise was impossible, given their circumstances.


The second stanza, beginning with line 1, is where the speaker begins his counter argument. But at my back I always hear/ Times winged chariot hurrying near;/ And yonder all before us lie/ Deserts of vast eternity. This is the first change in the speakers tone. The speaker begins telling his mistress that they were losing time. The image he paints of the deserts suggests the uncertainties lying before the speaker and his lady.


Thy beauty shall no more be found, / Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound/ My echoing song; then worms shall try/ That long preservd virginity. In these lines, the speaker creates a terrifying image of the outcome if the lady should refuse his courtship. I believe the speaker essentially means if they dont enjoy themselves to the fullest at that very moment, they might not receive another chance. On the other hand, the speaker is trying to persuade his lover to accept courtship and to make love with him by telling her the horrifying image with sexual connotation (this referring to the worms taking her virginity).


In the last stanza, the conclusion, the meaning of the poem is elevated, because it talks about the universal human experience, not just courtly love. I believe this stanza is the climax of the poem. Now therefore, while the youthful hue/ Sits on thy skin like morning dew, / And wile thy willing soul transpires/ At every pore with instant fires. The images of morning dew suggest the quick passing and gradual disappearance of the ladys youth, and the words like transpires and instant fires suggest a sense of transience in human life.


In the final lines of the poem, Now let us sport us while we may;/ And now, like amrous birds of prey, / Rather at once our time devour, / Than languish in his slow-chappd power. / Let us roll all our strength, and all/ Our sweetness, up into one ball;/ And tear our pleasures with rough strife/ Thorough the iron gates of life. / Thus, though we cannot make our sun/ Stand still, yet we will make him run, the speaker reveals his desire to swallow time rather than to be swallowed. He called to his lady that they should gather their strength together into one ball, and conquer the tortures of life together. Here, the torture is implied by iron gates of life, which may also mean passages of time and life that each human must endure and experience. The last two lines are paradoxical, because the speaker had previously expressed his wish but he also wanted to make their sun run faster, which means that time could go faster, too.


In To His Coy Mistress, the speaker used many images and metaphors to express his opinions. The poem is special to me because the speaker did not take the conventional way to court his lady, and because the conclusion is not only the speakers feeling about courting the lady, but also everyones desire of not being devoured by time. Through this elevation, the meaning of the whole poem is expanded and elevated as well. As stated previously, this poem has always been on the top of my list of poetry. I may not have always understood what the poem meant, exactly, but the flow of the poem always captured my heart and held me to the reading. However, through this assignment, I have gained a better understanding of the underlying purposes of this poem and therefore, have increased the level of enjoyment I receive from the author and To His Coy Mistress.











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