Poetry is a form of literary art in which language is used to create an expression of art and beauty. Many poetic writings are written individually and range from poetic drama, hymns, lyrics and prose poetry. The usage of repetition, verse form and rhyme is also very common in poetry. The two poems written by Marvell and Donne can be classified as a type of romance poem, but yet differ in how they express the levels of love in each poem. Each writer’s usage of repetitions, word choice and metaphors are used to allow readers to recognize what the main idea is about and the feelings of the speaker.
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The two poems are written to illustrate a relationship between two people who are both so obsessed with each other, it is expressed in the poems that they are “in love”. The word “Coy” in “To His Coy Mistress” is defined as a shy or modest person, illustrating that the poem is being written for a shy and bashful woman. Marvell uses classic carpe diem to write this poem, meaning to ‘seize the day’. The speaker in this poem tries to persuade his young mistress to accept his advance “Let us roll all our strength and all our sweetness up into one ball, and tear our pleasures with rough strife through the iron gates of life”. The female seems to be hesitant and plays hard to get, in the way the speaker describes her body gestures “long preserved virginity,’ quaint honor”(lines 5, 843). The poem was written during the 1600s in a time when virginity was a sacred thing to treasure before marriage. So the rebellion tone of the story is against traditional practices during the 1600s.
“A Valediction: Forbidding Morning” by John Donne, is another poem written by a male speaker to his female companion. The poem is a letter written to his wife; explaining to her the current state of his love for her and how he is preparing for his journey without her. He seems to be stating that he wants his wife not to be sad about him leaving, “No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempest move” (line 6, 916). He does express that he personally feels that his departure from his wife feels like death to him, but not as great because he know he will be with her again alive or in heaven. “As virtuous men pass mildly away â€¦ and whisper to their souls to go â€¦twere profanation of our joys—To tell the laity of our love” (lines 1-8). Donne continues to compare the couple’s love to the strength of gold. His love for her can expand through distance but it will remain strong “Not a breach, but an expansion â€¦like gold to airy thinness beat” (lines 22-24). The love for the wife that the speaker has seems to be treasured greatly, in both a physical and spiritual way.
Both poems contain abstract relations of mental attachment that builds an understanding of the emotional state that each character metaphorically relates with. “My vegetable love” (line 10, 843), the speaker relates his love with vegetable growth, which is slow and unconscious. The metaphor is ironic because the condition of the situation is tense, but the speaker does know that he does not have enough time and that his impassioned love is growing quickly and consciously. He ends the poem with a ‘seize the day’ tone, hoping that his mistress accepts his advances. While Donne’s poem uses metaphors of “earthquakes”(line 9, 916) and “celestial spheres” (line 11), to describe the magnitude of the love that the couple share, almost beyond human understanding. He uses this to explain how two different major events can either bring harms and fears, or innocence of silence. The two poems do show familiarity of signifying love, through emotional expressions and emotional attachments. They do differ greatly in how each speaker expresses the magnitude of their love for their mistresses.
Andrew Marvell’s, “To His Coy Mistress and John Donne’s “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning”, both are about love but have different magnitudes of it. Marvell’s poem “To His Coy Mistress”, the speaker is more focused on the physical attraction he has for his mistress. His only accomplishment is to coitus her rather than waste his time on winning her love. The poem seems to break free from the traditional values that society would have for an unmarried couple. Marvell’s free spirited character addresses the fact that life should be lived to the fullest and life should not be taken serious. The speaker does not conceive the true, ardent love and fails to go beyond the realm of physical beauty. He tries to persuade his mistress to have passionate sex with him and does it seductively, “Now let us sport us while we may, and now, like amorous birds of prey, rather at once our time devour than languish in his slow-chapped power” (line 7, 843). Compared to “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning”, Marvell does not express the speakers love for the mistress or how his love will grow after they have these sexual fantasies with each other. The poem is written of a man that is persuading to lure his mistress into his bed rather than a man who is spiritually connected with the female, like Donne’s does.
In Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” by Donne, the story addresses the true spiritual love that a couple has for one another. The male speaker comforts his wife of the days ahead, that they will be apart from one another. He describes to her that if they shall never see each other again, they will still be together spiritually. That nothing will ever separate their love they have for each other, and no distance or object will stand in their way. “As stiff twin compasses are two; Thy soul the fixed foot, makes no show-Yet when the other far doth roam, It leans, and hearkens after it, And grows erect, as that comes home” (lines 26-32, 916). The main theme in Donne’s poem is that true love will continue on during life and even after death. He illustrates this in lines one through two, in the notion of after life, “A virtuous men pass mildly away, an whisper to their souls to goâ€¦”(lines 1-2).
Each poem has been wonderfully written by each author to portray certain characters to the reader. As we read each poem we cannot help but to relate somehow with the characters in the poems. “To His Coy Mistress” could be comprehended as a very adventurous and gutsy person who wants to break free from tradition. Many readers can feel a sense of familiarity with this poem because they might have the same outlook in life and traditional values. Or “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning”, was written in regards to a strong love between a man and a woman. A male or female reader can relate to this poem because it signifies the ‘true love’ that someone could feel for another person. Often husband and wife know only the physical, earthly love, weep and sob when they are separated during a period of time. But Donne’s explains the real, true love that his character has for his wife. The couple shares a physical and spiritual love that can never be separated in distance.
We often find ourselves connected with certain poems that move us in an emotional way, or poems that inspire us mentally. Whatever poem that one could closely relate to, depends on the strong choice of words that the author has chosen to write the poem with. Comparing and Contrasting “To His Coy Mistress” and “Valediction: Forbidding Mourning”, has caused me to appreciate both Marvell and Donne’s works. They both have been written into beautiful love poems and that contain metaphysical conceits to allow us to appreciate the emotional part of each poem, that both contain drama, tones and rhymes. The contrast in each poem is like a looking glass into the emotional state of each author and the imagination that led to the creation of the poem. Contrasts also help each poem to be uniquely different from the other. When we do not, ” take a poem and hold it up to the light like a color slide—-water-ski across the surface of a poem waving at the author’s name on the shore” (lines 2-11, 790), like Collin’s asks us to. We will never know or appreciate the true meaning of each poem that, that author worked so hard to create for his/her readers.
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