Andrew Marvell (1621 - 1678)
Marvell was one of the metaphysical poets, so-called because their
poems use a heady mix of complex conceits, dialectical argument, biting
wit, dealing with themes of love, death and nature -
and even all three together.
This poem is famous for the opening pair of couplets of the second
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
Should'st 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 alwaies hear
Times winged Chariot hurrying near:
And yonder all before us lye
Desarts of vast Eternity.
Thy Beauty shall no more be found;
Nor, in thy marble Vault, shall sound
My ecchoing Song: then worms shall try
That long preserv'd 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 hew
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 am'rous birds of prey,
Rather at once our Time devour,
Than languish in his slow-chapp'd pow'r.
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.