To His Coy Mistress and The Passionate Shepherd to His Love poems, by Andrew Marvell and Christopher Marlowe respectively, share several characteristics as well as striking differences. Generally Marlowe calls to task the pastoral tradition approach to sexuality through carpe diem while Marvell 'seizes the moment' through striking imagery and illusions of timelessness to seduce his woman. They are the same in that they are blatant call to sex through pledges of impossibility.
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Marvell's poem calls to task the 'carpe diem' concept in order to persuade a lady he had fallen in love with to bed. Like, Marvell, Marlowe, a Shakespeare's product, uses the same concept to eventually capture the romantic state of a man who never wanted to part with his woman. The man throws himself to her promising her endless commitment and a future life full of bliss. The two poems are rather different in approach but use different ways to persuade their target women to behave in similar ways.
The concept of Carpe diem, also known as the 'seize the day' in poetry reveals itself in the creation of timelessness, (Robert 2007). Timelessness in many cavalier poems becomes more concrete in the manner in which time is made to move too slow and at times very first. Furthermore, according to Robert (2007), the manner of carpe diem poetry is very predictable and systematic. Many of the poems informed by this concept usually take an apostrophic state defining some stages in life like youth or in love as temporary and rushing time towards the future where time goes slowly to allow for maximum exploration of the expected bliss. Some themes explored during the much hated temporary state are melancholic and euphoric.
Marvell's To his Coy Mistress employs metaphor and hyper imagery in order to explore the heroic endurance and imaginative quality of its themes through carpe diem. At the start of the poem though Marvell does not move to use this features outright, he instead expresses how he hopes his love to the subject woman to be like: of utmost tranquility and out drawn. He runs away from starting with the aspect of death and says 'had we but world enough, and time... I would love you so much and so well...' He will come later explore the advantages of carpe diem not focusing on the inherent instability of his love but its purported splendor and prosperity. Marvell uses the carpe diem concept with utmost alacrity and moves on with haste to tell his woman at the penultimate line that he 'hear[s] times winged chariot hurrying near', makes his final submissions to state that it is because of all the things that are happening so fast that she, the targeted woman, must sleep with him. He uses vulgar language and shocks many audiences when he writes that. ''... worms shall try...That long preserv'd virginity'.
On the other hand, Marlowe's The Passionate Shepherd to his Love approaches carpe diem at a more personified perspective. In a more sequential and clandestine move, Marlowe begins by persuading his woman to take him in as a friend and finally, aided by the central theme of a powerful love in the future, he uninterruptedly moves in to seduce her, (Robert 2007). He ponders the imagined wonderful life they will have in the future and his unending future commitment to her. He writes of the future their companionship, 'There we shall sit upon the rocks...There I shall make thee a bed of roses...' He 'seizes the time' to use outright flattery defining her as exotic and making her the eternal subject of his life with whom he will spend long hours walking having no time to do anything else.
Unlike, The Passionate Shepherd to his Love, To his Coy Mistress brings in the issue of timelessness and explores states of temporality and permanency. Marvel talks of his love growing slowly overtime, then hurriedly to become bigger than empires and later slowly and gently. The growth that Marvell talks of here needs a lot of time than that spent by normal human beings in a lifetime. What Marvel says is that time is not at all worth of consideration which is characteristic of many poems in his period. It appears that when the future comes and they are still in love, they will attain immortality so that he can take ages loving her.
To conclude, the two poems are similar and different in various ways. The Passionate Shepherd to his Love uses the pastoral tradition approach in the manner in which sexuality is approached in a rather ideal and ridiculous way: the man vows to do the impossible on if the woman accepts his pleas. The poem To his Coy Mistress uses illusions and superb imagery to explore the depths of love that the persona has to his subject woman. While their approaches to love are different, the two poems call to task the concepts of cape diem.
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