To His Coy Mistress

Andrew Marvell

 
Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, Lady, were no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To walk and pass our long love's day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side
Shouldst rubies find: I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast;
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart;
For, Lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.
   But at my back I always hear
Time's wingèd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song: then worms shall try
That long preserved virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust:
The grave's a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.
   Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
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-chapt power.
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

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Featuring lines from
"To His Coy Mistress"
     
by Andrew Marvell
 
About "To His Coy Mistress"

Often dismissed for his lewdness, Marvell didn't become very popular until T. S. Eliot wrote an essay praising him for his abililty to shift between high seriousness and humor. This particular poem was first published after Marvell's death, by his housekeeper.

Poems by This Author

Bermudas by Andrew Marvell
Where the remote Bermudas ride
The Definition of Love by Andrew Marvell
My Love is of a birth as rare
The Garden by Andrew Marvell
How vainly men themselves amaze
The Mower Against Gardens by Andrew Marvell
Luxurious man, to bring his vice in use
The Mower's Song by Andrew Marvell
My mind was once the true survey
The Picture of Little T. C. in a Prospect of Flowers by Andrew Marvell
See with what simplicity


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