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Andrew Marvell throughout his poem “To His Coy Mistress” uses many interesting poetic effects to capture his audience and to show his feelings.

Marvell’s poem is basically a light hearted letter to his mistress. Throughout he is persuading his Mistress to stop delaying the event of losing her virginity, and to let him fulfil his fantasies of doing this.

From the offset he has split his poem into 3 radically different stanzas like a syllogism. The first section taking time to show his mistress If he had the time he would spend all the time she wanted to build up to the event. “Two hundred to adore each breast:/ But thirty thousand to the rest.” [Lines 15-16]. The verb tense he uses here is conditional. This shows it might not be possible to do as he says.

Shortly into the second section of the poem, he shows that this is probably not possible and they will have to do things quicker. “But at my back I always hear / Time’s wing�d chariot hurrying near:” The words in which he now uses are now talking about the future somewhat. He is showing her that this is not possible and pointing out however that they do not have time on their side. He shows it would not be possible to take so long adoring each breast as such time does not exist. “Time’s wing�d chariot” hurrying near represents and somewhat personifies time as the charioteer. He uses “tempus fugit” here a lot, which means “time flies”. It also shows the end of time coming, death is shown as time being used up as the chariot approaches.

Time is spent in the second stanza showing to the Mistress that time is not something they have with them. He tries to show that they must get on with it. He uses the phrase “And yonder before us lie / deserts of vast eternity” [Lines 23-24]. This shows that they must use the time given or else the boredom would be the only thing left (death).

Another idea I like of Marvell’s is the use of “Coy” in the title. Coy is a word meaning shy, but also can imply she is flirtatiously hard to get which could show that Marvell knows of her true thoughts and her modesty. Also it is shown elsewhere in the poem. “And while thy willing soul transpires”. [Line 35] This shows he knows she is willing and burning with desire but needs further persuasion to let her inhibitions rest.

He uses Personification of time as a great effect. Firstly as “Time’s winged chariot” and then in the final two lines of the play. “Thus, though we cannot make our sun / Stand still, yet we will make him run”. This puts forward the image of the sun being personified as something which can be made to run is bold. It reduces the sun in scale to the level of a servant.

Overall I think that Marvell’s poem was intended as maybe a pun at his wife and was written in a lighthearted manner.



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