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Marvel's "To His Coy Mistress": a Baroque reworking of conventions

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  1. An ironical Petrarchan poetry
    1. The conventions
    2. Irony
  2. A carpe diem poem : eroticism and bravado
    1. The syllogism
    2. Eroticism
    3. Bravado
  3. A Baroque poem ; modern and subversive
    1. A Baroque reworking of conventions
    2. A Baroque vision of Time
    3. Death in To His Coy Mistress

Andrew Marvell (1621-1678) was an English Metaphysical poet. Marvell wrote several satirical poems against the corruption of the court, but they were published after his death (for being too subversive). ?To His Coy Mistress', though not about politics, is also a subversive poem. It is an invitation to physical love addressed by the speaker to his mistress who is, according to him, playing coy. The poem is a perfect example of a Carpe Diem. Carpe Diem is a phrase from the Latin poet Horace, meaning "seize the day". In this sense, Marcel, who is mostly referred to as a Metaphysical poet, could be considered as a Cavalier poet. The poem consists in 46 verses, divided in three parts (1-20) (21-32) (32-46); to follow the pattern of a logical argument, but we'll see that in other regards, we might rather see two halves; from the first line to the l.20 and l.20 to the end. The verses are mainly iambic tetrameters, and at first, appear as very regular. How does the poem, constitute itself as a subversive work while playing with the conventions and regularity?

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