Andrew Marvell writes an elaborate poem that not only speaks to his coy mistress
but also to the reader. He suggests to his coy mistress that time is inevitably
ticking and that he (the speaker) wishes for her to act upon his wish and have a
sexual relationship. Marvell simultaneously suggest to the reader that he/she
must act upon their desires, to hesitate no longer and seize the moment?before
time expires. Marvell uses a dramatic sense of imagery and exaggeration in order
to relay his message to the reader and to his coy mistress. The very first two
lines of the poem suggest that it would be fine for him and his mistress to have
a slow and absorbing relationship but there simply isn? enough time. He
uses exaggerations such as ?ove you ten years before the Flood?and
?n hundred years should go to praise? ?wo hundred to adore each
breast; But thirty thousand to the rest.? These exaggerations imply that the
speaker would wait many many years until his coy mistress was ready, but there
isn? enough time. The reader can also visualize the deep love the speaker
contains for his coy mistress through the imagery. For example, the speaker
suggests that his vegetable love should grow, and vegetables only get larger and
more ripe as they grow, analogous to his love, but vegetables grow very slow.
His love is so great that it would grow ?aster than empires, and more
slow? meaning that if there was enough time, his love for her would be immense.
The speaker in this poem is suggesting that his coy mistress is well worth all
of these praises, but considering the situation with such little time, there is
no period for such high praise. The speaker in this poem seems frustrated; he
delicately tries to inform his coy mistress that their death is near, and they
still have not had sexual intercourse. In lines 17-33 the poem seems to lose the
exaggeration sense and suddenly becomes serious. He (the speaker) reinsures his
coy mistress that ?ou deserve this state?(state of praise and high
acknowledgment), ?ut at my back I always hear, Time? winged
chariot hurrying near? Andrew Marvell uses and interesting image in line 22 (the
line mentioned above) when suggesting to his coy mistress that death is near. He
substitutes the word ?eath?for a more gentle, delicate term of ?ime?
winged chariot? This term was probably used to prevent from frightening such a
coy mistress. Marvell continues to involve the reader? imagination
through unimaginable images. What do ?eserts of vast eternity?look like?
In fact, Marvell probably used such abstract images to suggest to his coy
mistress that their future is indeterminable, and ?hy beauty shall no
more be found? Perhaps, beauty is what the coy mistress is so concerned with and
the speaker in this case is trying to frighten her to have sex with him quicker.
He continues to use intense imagery when describing to his coy mistress that
even after death the ?orms shall try That long preserved virginity? The
speaker now abstractly describes that holding on to your virginity for life is
no good, because her body will be raped of worms and her virtue will turn to
dust after death. The last stanza strongly urges for him and his coy mistress to
act now and let us roll all our strength and all Our sweetness up into one ball?
Through the imagery in this stanza he the speaker seems irritated by the
pressures of time, and the stubbornness of his coy mistress. Marvell uses action
words and images to portray the speaker’s short patience such as instant fires?
birds of prey? time devour? and tear our pleasures with rough strife? take him
run? These images create an instant picture in the reader’s mind that depict the
speakers anxiety. Also, in lines 33, 37, and 38 Marvell uses the word how? to
imply that the speaker wants he and she to take action immediately. Marvell
created this poem with a universal theme, a theme that urges everyone to act
upon their wishes immediately before time expires. Marvell never informs the
reader that the speaker in the poem is dying of old age or illness, but he the
speaker is growing impatient because he believes that death may just sneak up
unexpectedly. By ignoring the reasons for death and stressing the reasons to
take action, the reader should receive the message and take action, because time
could just stop ticking (according to Andrew Marvell).