The two poems I am going to discuss are metaphysical poems by two metaphysical poets. They are ‘To his coy mistress’ by Andrew Marvell and ‘Twickenham Garden’ by John Donne. The metaphysical movement reacted against the pastoral poems of the 17th century. The poetry of Donne and Marvell uses modern images of the time to express ideas about ‘real’ and physical love as well as the spiritual side.
In this poem Andrew Marvell expresses his feelings about love and time by showing how he wants to make love physically with his mistress before time runs out or before they get too old.
At the beginning of the poem, lines 1-4 Andrew is saying that there is not enough time and he finds this shy lady indecisiveness annoying and irritating. Later on in the forthcoming lines he writes,
“Thou by the Indian Ganges side
Shoust rubies find, I by the tide
Of Humber would complain.”
In these lines he is comparing her in an exotic picture of being in India finding rubies and him by the river Humber. This also shows that if this happened he could accept it, as time does not apply to him. Also to travel to India would have taken years in the 17th century. Marvell would complain but he could put up with it because time would not need to be considered. This shows that he finds her really rich and important to be able to travel to India and he is left in Hull alone by the river. This is a good way to contrast between the two pictures.
In the following three lines he is implying that if he had infinite time they could love each other forever. He uses the exaggerations of time to create a bigger impact for a flattery effect. For example he compares the length of time with the conversion of the Jews. Jews will never take place therefore representing an immeasurable amount of time.
In the following couple of lines he is metaphysically comparing his love for the lady as a ‘Vegetable love’. He is saying that his love is still growing stronger.
In lines 13-18 Andrew, has gone back to saying if he had an unlimited amount of time what he would do. He wants to spend the time gazing upon the lady, looking at various parts of her body. The poem also states the part of the body he is most interested in.
‘Two hundred to adore each breast
And the last age should show your heart’
Following on in the last two lines in the first verse. He is says,
‘For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love you at a lower rate’
He is expressing to the lady that she deserves this treatment that he wants to give her. But really he means the opposite, he is trying to fast track, to win her over so that she will sleep with him.
In the second part of Andrews argument he creates an effect by personifying time.
‘Times wingï¿½d chariot hurrying near’
He says that he can always hear and feel time running out quickly.
Andrew changes the direction of his argument, so he is lacking time. This explains why he wants their relationship to develop at a quicker rate. In lines 23 and 24 he sees his afterlife, when he is dead. All he can see is a dull boring place. Andrew use a metaphor to emphasise his picture of his after life.
‘Deserts of vast eternity’
The word ‘Desert’ suggests an empty and a difficult place to go, the above quote emphasises the time that a dead person will have.
He develops his argument in the next five lines. He talks about when she dies all her beauty will be gone and nobody with her, telling her how pretty she is. The climax of his argument is when he tells her the honour she is trying to keep is worthless. The poem tells her that when she dies, the worms in the ground will take her virginity and her honour away from her.
‘Worms shall try
That long preserved virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust’
In the last two lines Andrew makes a humorous joke, he expresses that although the graves a private place but, they cant make love in the grave. This rhyme defuses the image the reader has just been given.
In the concluding part of this poem, Andrew clarifies what he wants them to do now. He starts by describing in lines 33-36 that while they are still young and still have passion they should make love now, rather than waiting till their, ‘Instant fires’ to die out. Andrew uses the words ‘instant fires’ to describe their immediate passion they have. In the next four lines he tells her, when they make love, it should be physical. He uses the image of amorous birds making love as an example of what they should be doing. In addition to this they should be hungry for each other.
‘and must not be wasting time,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapt power’
The quotes provide a powerful image of his ideas of power and passion.
He continues the argument in the next four lines by suggesting they should make love some more. He also uses an effective metaphor to describe how he needs to break her down.
‘Thorough the iron gates of life’
The last two lines conclude the poem. Andrew uses personification of the sun to say they cannot make the sun stop, for example they cannot stop time but they still can use the lime left to do what they intended to do. So in this way it is an equivalent to beating time.
In the next poem, John uses unrequited love. This means the love is not returned, for example the woman he loves does not love him back.
In the beginning of the first verse he expresses the extent of his sad feelings by using such effective adjectives.
‘Blasted with sighs, and surrounded with tears’
John is sad because his love does not love him, he has come to the garden to find peace and a new start. He also states that using his senses the garden sooths him and cures everything apart from his love still does not love him back.
‘And at mine eyes, and at mine ears,
Receive such blames, as else cure everything’
In lines 5-7, John explains that he is trapped within his love. He uses the image of a spider’s web to describe his feelings. He feels that this spider’s love changes everything good he possesses in to bad disgusting things.
‘The spider love, which transubstantiates all,
And can convert manna to gall.’
In the last two lines in the first verse he describes he garden as true paradise, referring to the Garden of Eden and he has brought the serpent into the garden.
In verse 2, lines 1-3, the words winter, benefit and frost creates a reflective mood and reminds us of death. John uses these words because he feels sadness, that everything he is connected to turns to frost, lifeless. In line 4, a metaphysical technique is used, it is called ‘Metaphysical conceit’ this is used to emphasis how humiliated he feels. The first 4 lines creates the mood of sadness and loneliness. In line 6 John has capitalized ‘Love’ he does this because he personifies it. He used love as if it was a person who is in charge of him. John expresses his feelings to love, asking love for peace.
‘Love let mee,
Some senslesse peece of this place bee;’
Following in lines 7-8 there is a tone of depression, the tone is achieved by the long sentence structure and is also helped by the onomatopoeia, ‘groane’.
‘Make me a mandrake, so I may groane here,
Or a stone fountaine weeping out my year.’
Continuing his argument in lines 1-4 in the 3rd verse he says that the lovers come, to his fountain and take his tears which represents true love. Then he says to taste his tears and their partners tears and taste hem, if the partners tears don’t taste like his then her live is not true. In the next two line the tone changes from bitterness to being forthright sounding. John achieves this tone by addressing directly, he is being bold and honest. The effects are strong, getting his warning about what he thinks of women through clearly.
‘Alas, hearts do not in eyes shine,
Nor can you more judge womans thoughts by tears,’
In the last two lines John repeats the words ‘true’ and ‘truth’ 3 times. This constructs an effective emphasis of what he feels. He explains that he that she is already married and truthful to her husband, therefore she cannot return his love.
These two poems showed different aspects of love in different perspectives. Out of the two poems I preferred Twickenham Garden. I preferred this poem because of its effective use of metaphors and adjectives, with brings the poem to life. Throughout poem the tempo changes as well giving it even more excitement and feel. I fought these aspects made the poem more moving and interesting.