This poem seems quite simple; Andrew Marvell attempts to expedite the brevity of life and the swiftness of time to seduce his mistress. In the first stanza, Marvell flatters his mistress with kind words and sweet compliments. He insists on his enthusiasm to wait for her. Marvell writes, “I would love you ten years before the flood, and you should, if you please, refuse till the conversion of the Jews.” From ten years before the flood to the conversion of the Jews are thousands of years apart. Marvell exclaims that he will wait for her, and he finds satisfaction in admiring her beauty until she articulates her desire to emerge in a sexual relationship with him.
Marvell presents a case that few women could deny, but he quickly turns the flattery into a disguised threat. The compliments he pays to his lover promptly evaporate because of his efforts to convince her to have sex. In the first stanza Marvell expresses his desire to spend all the time in the world to admire her beauty, but in the second stanza Marvell communicates his true intent. The second stanza displays the briefness of life and the brevity of beauty. Instead of using time to glorify his mistress, Marvell manipulates time against her beauty. Her shyness hinders him from his true plan, but Marvell anticipates the real...
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...y. Perchance, when Marvell exclaims, “ . . . then worms shall try that long preserv'd virginity,” he intends for the best. Marvell comprehends that time moves rapidly and hopes that his mistress recognizes this fact before her hour glass empties. Although Marvell seems very rude and abrupt in certain predicaments, tough love deems necessary.
Marvell polishes the poem off by reiterating his affection for his mistress. Although Marvell’s methods appear obscure, he displays undeniable love for her. Marvell’s patience runs thin with his mistress, but his love does not. Even though Marvell comes off as a bit demanding, with reevaluation, I believe Marvell’s true character shines through. His love and compassion for his mistress may seem harsh, but in the situation his harshness could save her from her doom. Marvell loves his mistress and only craves the best for her.
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