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In the poem “To His Coy Mistress”, the speaker says, “Had we but world enough, and time…I would love you ten years before the Flood, and you should if you please refuse till the conversion of the Jews” (lines 1 and 7-10). The speaker is stating if they had all the time in the world, they would have no need to rush their love making. With all the time they would want he would love her from the very beginning until the very end. The speaker refers to the “Flood” (line 8) as the flood of Noah’s Arc in the Bible, which indicates he would love her from the beginning of time. Next, the speaker says, “Till the conversion of the Jews” (line 10), which would indicate the end of time. In the Bible, it is believed that when Christ comes back for his people the Jews will convert to Christianity. Therefore when Christ returns, that will be the end times. In conclusion, the speaker is saying if they had time from the beginning to the very end, his mistress is welcome to continue being shy. In contrary, the speaker and his coy mistress do not have that kind of time to spare, which is the reason he is trying to convince his wife to surrender her virginity.
The speaker continues to argue that time is not in favor of his mistress’s nervousness or his age. For instance, he says, “But at my back I always hear time’s winged chariot hurrying near” (lines 21 and 22). In other words, he is saying his time is running out quickly. There can be many reasons why his time is running short, but according to the poem there is one reason he could be in a rush to make love with his mistress. The speaker says, “And yonder all before us lie deserts of vast eternity” (lines 23 and 24). “Deserts of vast eternity” (line 24) expresses his concern of not being able to have children, which would make him sterile. As men age, their sperm count becomes less and less, which makes conceiving a child nearly impossible.
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The last argument the speaker makes is the effort to reason with his wife. He says, “Now therefore, while the youthful hue sits on my skin like morning dew” (lines 33 and 34), which refers to the fact they need to make love and have children while they are young. The speaker says, “Youthful hue” in terms of the coloring of a young person’s complexion because youthful people have flush coloring, while old people tend to have pale coloring. The speaker points that out to show they are still young enough to make love and have children, but they will not be young forever.
Finally, in the poem, he seduces her and says, “And while thy willing soul transpires at every pore with instant fires, now let us sport us while we may” (lines 35-37). His mistress obviously rose to the occasion, and decided to make love with him. The speaker says, “Thy willing soul” (line 35) which would mean “your willing soul”, therefore the mistress was finally aroused and seduced. Next, the speaker says, “sport” (line 37), this means “making love”. The mistress and her husband finally made love during their youth. Making the assumption according to the poem, he was successful at seducing his wife. In the last two lines of the poem, the speaker says, “Thus, though we cannot make our sun stand still, yet we will make him run” (lines 44 and 45). In the Bible, Joshua commanded the sun to stand still making the day longer for him to conquer the Israelites in a battle. The speaker says, “We cannot make our sun stand still” (lines 44 and 45) meaning they cannot make the day any longer to preserve their youth. In reverse, he says, “We will make him run” (line 46) by making love and letting our time that is left be more pleasurable.
Despite the fact they are getting older, they will be able to enjoy the rest of their lives together in an intimate, pleasurable, and loving way. The speaker in this poem was trying to convince his wife to make love with him because his mistress was being very bashful. Throughout the poem the speaker had expressed his urgency to make love because time does not wait. The speaker was successful at his argument and seduced his wife, and she finally surrendered her virginity to him.