Andrew Marvell • Was born in Winestead, South Yorkshire, England, on March 31, 1621. • His father was a minister. • The family moved to Hull, in the county of Humberside, when Andrew was three. There, he grew up and attended school. • In 1639, a year after his mother died, Marvell received a bachelor's degree from Cambridge University's Trinity College. • His father died in 1640. Between 1642 and 1646, Marvell traveled in continental Europe, visiting France, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and Italy.
Andrew Marvell • In 1651, he accepted a position at Nun Appleton, Yorkshire, as tutor to 12-year-old Mary Fairfax, the daughter Sir Thomas Fairfax, commander of the Parliamentary army in the 1640's during the English Civil Wars. • Marvell remained in that position until 1652. • While at Nun Appleton, he wrote several of his most acclaimed poems, including "To His Coy Mistress" and "The Garden." • Between 1653 and 1657, he served as a tutor to a ward of Oliver Cromwell, the lord protector of England, Ireland, and Scotland during the Commonwealth period (1653-1658).
Andrew Marvell • Marvell had praised Cromwell in a 1650 poem, "An Horatian Ode upon Cromwell's Return from Ireland." • In 1657, Marvell served under the great scholar and poet John Milton in the foreign office and in 1659 was elected to Parliament to represent Hull. • Marvell was best known during his lifetime for his political achievements and his political satires in prose and verse. • His best poetry was published in Miscellaneous Poems 1681 from a manuscript his housekeeper found while going through his belongings shortly after his death in 1678.
Andrew Marvell • Often dismissed for his lewdness, Marvell didn't become very popular until T. S. Eliot wrote an essay praising him for his ability to shift between high seriousness and humor. • Eliot presents several allusions to the poem in "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock."
Andrew Marvell • Startling comparisons or contrasts of a metaphysical (spiritual, transcendent, abstract) quality to a concrete (physical, tangible, sensible) object. • Marvell compares love to a vegetable (line 11) in humorous metaphor • Mockery of idealized romantic poetry through crude or shocking imagery • lines 27 and 28 "then worms shall try /That long preserved virginity” • Gross exaggeration (hyperbole) • line 15 "two hundred [years] to adore each breast”
Andrew Marvell • Expression of personal, private feelings. • those the young man expresses throughout the poem • Presentation of a logical argument, or syllogism. • In "To His Coy Mistress," this argument may be outlined as follows: • (1) We could spend decades or even centuries in courtship if time stood still and we remained young. • (2) But time passes swiftly and relentlessly. • (3) Therefore, we must enjoy the pleasure of each other now, without further ado. The conclusion of the argument begins at Line 33 with "Now therefore." • http://www.eaglesweb.com/Sub_Pages/marvell_poems.htm
Andrew Marvell • presents a familiar theme in literature -- carpe diem • The young man is impatient, desperately so, unwilling to tolerate temporizing on the part of the young lady. • He and the lady must take advantage of the moment • “sport us while we may” • His motivation appears to be carnal desire rather than true love; passion rules him. Consequently, one may describe him as immature and selfish.
Andrew Marvell • The word "coy" tells the reader that the lady is no easy catch • Evasiveness, hesitancy, modesty, coquetry, reluctance; playing hard to get • The word "mistress" can mean • lady, manager, caretaker, courtesan, sweetheart, lover
Andrew Marvell • If they had “world enough, and time” they would spend their days in idle pursuits, leisurely passing time while the young man heaps praises on the young lady. • But they do not have the luxury of time • “time's wingéd chariot” is ever racing along • Before they know it, their youth will be gone; there will be only the grave. And so, the poet pleads his case: Seize the day.