'To His Coy Mistress' is written by Andrew Marvell in the 17th
Century. Marvell was one of the so-called metaphysical poets - a term
of mild literary abuse coined by Dr. Johnson. 'The Ruined Maid' was
written by Thomas Hardy in 1866. It is important to analyse the theme,
language, tone, characters and style of both poems in order to compare
and contrast them.
'To His Coy Mistress' is a lyric of seduction. It is about a young man
who tries to persuade a young girl to have sex with him. It seems that
he has made an attempt but fails, because the girl is unwilling to
yield her virginity.
The poem is an example of a carpe diem poem - 'carpe diem' is Latin
for 'seize the day'. The man expresses his sadness at the thought of
swiftly passing time and the shortness of life. He wants to persuade
the girl to grab the time that they have.
The poem splits up into three sections with different moods. The first
section contains lots of flatteries. Marvell has already expressed the
main point of this poem at the first two lines, 'Had we but world
enough and time, this coyness, Lady, were no crime.' He is saying that
if there is time, he can wait. He understands the young girl's modesty
and she wants to keep her virginity. The poem is lustful as the man
keeps on flattering the girl; he says that he could operate within the
confines of conventional courtship and devote appropriate time to
worship of her. 'Two hundred to adore each breast'. He assured her
that she deserves the most elaborate courtship imaginable - 'For lady,
you deserve this state'. He will spend lots of time waiting for her;
if there is 'time'.
However, the second section begins with a huge ...
... middle of paper ...
...coy mistress. However, the mistress might be
a rich woman and she might be happy with her present life while she
keeps her virginity. In general, the man is the one who is
disappointed if he cannot have sex with her.
In the ruined maid, Hardy is quite successful in teasing society's
hypocrisy in condemning prostitution. One may have a better life and
better position as a prostitute. However, in my opinion, I think
reputation is an important thing for women. I would tease the ruined
maid as well. I would rather be a poor country girl than a prostitute.
Even if she has a better life and is rich, she is totally shameful and
condemned by the public. Losing her virginity is an indignity, as is
being as 'ruined'. Not only should the prostitutes be blamed, but also
the men who pay them for sex should be humiliated. The men's
reputation should also be ruined.
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