My favourite poem

after 1681

Image via Wikipedia

My favourite poem is by Andrew Marvell, written in 1681 and is called “To His Coy Mistress“. It is found in the Norton Anthology of Poetry, Third Edition. I came across it while doing some units in an English Literature degree. I really fell in love with this poem. I spoke to my lecturer about it and discovered it was also his favourite. For some reason I felt validated by that 🙂

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do…

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

Shoudst 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;

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;

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

Times winged 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 honor turned 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 glow

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

Thorough the iron gates of life:

Thus, though we cannot make our sun

Stand still, yet we will make him run.

7 thoughts on “My favourite poem

  1. I’m pleased to find someone else who enjoys Marvell’s ‘To His Coy Mistress’, and who enjoyed my post on the poem. If you’d like to write about Marvell for my blog then please send it to hobbinol[at]gmail[.]com.

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