Serious Humor in To His Importunate Mistress, by Peter de Vries

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There are two sides to every story. Where one might see love and passion another sees burden and indifference. Such is the case with Peter de Vries “To His Importunate Mistress”, a comedic parody of the 17th century work by Andrew Marvell, “To His Coy Mistress”. Peter de Vries uses satire and rhyme as a way to present a humorous approach to the reality and consequence of a modern day extra-marital affair.

While poetry is a literary art that takes on many somber subjects, some feel that humor and profound thought reside on opposite ends of the spectrum. In reality, the use of humor can open a pathway to a new perspective, yet still maintain depth and meaning. With “To His Importunate Mistress”, the narrator accomplishes this by separating concepts and finding their opposite meaning; dividing words, gender and symbols. While the subject being parodied is a somber story of love, Peter de Vries presents the tale of adultery with less merit.

The opposing view begins with the title and establishes a tone by substituting the word coy with importunate. When one reads the word coy, its syn...

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