`To his coy mistress` by Andrew Marvell and `Come. And be my baby` by Maya Angelous are two enchanting love based poems. Both poems are written in a persuasive style and try to uphold an argument. Nether are “romantic,” which is what people normally relate to love. In this essay we will be looking at how each of the poems portrays love, and what device’s it uses conveys its message and influences the reader. This essay will be contrasting both poems and stating which conveys its message best and how.
In the poem, `To his coy mistress` we hear the voice of the mistresses lover, or wishful lover. It is written in 1st person narrative, which in turn makes the poem more personal, so the poet, Andrew Marvell, is able to create deeper emotions related to love, conveying its message better. As a reader we may also feel slight empathy with the lover which enables us to relate our ideas of love with the speaker. `Come. And be my baby` uses the same narrative method as `To my coy mistress,` sharing most effects this method of narration has. There is hardly any contrast between the methods used, as this is the standard basis for most poems trying to create persuasive text.
In the first stanza of `Come. And be my baby.` Maya Angelou presents a picture of humans going no where fast in life by using the personification “The highway is full of big cars going no where fast.” She then continues on with the negative approach, stating that people everywhere are ruining their lives by abusing alcohol and drugs, “folk is smoking anything that will burn,” suggesting drugs and “people wrap their lives around a cocktail glass.” This vivid imagery is powerful in giving a destructive image but not romantic, which isn’t what we expect from love based poems, it’s in contrast to love. The word “glass” is maybe portraying human life and love, as its fragile and vulnerable, it’s nested on it own line to make it stand out more to the reader and has a longer lasting effect.
The next line in the stanza uses the word “you,” which is the first time it’s used in the poem, it starts making the poem personal and draws in the readers attention, in effect making the poem more persuasive. She then asks “where you’re gonna turn.” Which once again grabs the readers attention as it’s a question. Maya is then positive, and gives an answer to the question, stating “I got it. Come and be my baby.” Meaning, come and be hers to love. She is offering her wishful lover, something to wrap their life in, love, opposed to them spiralling to ruins by the abuse of alcohol and drugs, this line is contrasting the beginning of the stanza, destruction/love and is demanding making it more persuasive yet non-romantic. This is also saying that love is opposite to harm.
The next stanza starts off negative again, “some prophets say the world is gonna end tomorrow.” Time for all existence along with love is ending. Prophets which are normally associated with religious and holy times are now associated with death and destruction. In the next line, Maya makes a negative image of “blooming horror.” An oxymoron contrasting a loving word with horror. She then repeats the end of the last stanza, “you sit wondering what you’re gonna do. I got it. Come and be my baby.” The fact that these lines are repeated suggests that Maya wanted them to stand out, these lines contrast the rest of the poem and adds a twist to the poem. Each stanza starts negative then ends positive.
The negative parts portray the reality, the world is in the course of self destruction and people are struggling with life. The positive lines of the poem give an alternative to this way of life, a solution, as this is positive it makes these important lines more emphasised and the constant contrasting makes the poem more interesting as a whole. The poem is persuasive due to the use of words such as “you,” which makes it more personal and cages in the reader to the poem. Demanding words are used, “Come.” “I
Got it.” And “be my” also make it more persuasive.
‘To his coy mistress’ is a carpe diem poem, meaning, seize the day, also, its in conventional form, it has a thesis stating that “Had we but world enough, and time,” which is saying if we had all the time in the world, “A hundred years should go to praise.” Marvell flatters her in the thesis, telling his mistress all the things he could or would do if they had all of time. He then presents to her the antithesis, “But at my back I always hear times winged chariot hurrying near.” Time is running short, they do not have the time to pretend and hide their love, nor does he have the time to spend “two hundred years to adore each breast.”
In this section of the poem he seems to be less romantic and harsh, he uses abrupt phrases such as “Your quaint honour turn to dust; and into ashes all my lust” and “the graves a fine and private place”. Marvell then gives his solution, which is to make love now, and defeat time itself, “Now, therefore, while the youthful hue,” “we cannot make our sun stand still, yet we can make him run.” This attack on time is deemed as heroic and yields a dominant power, this may be seen as attractive and romantic.
The lines “thou by the Indian Ganges’ which is exotic and “I by the tide of Humber” which is dull and gloomy are in contrast. He then uses a an controversial image of end of the world with “till the conversion of the Jews.” He uses flattering lines such as “My vegetable love should grow vaster than empires, and more slow. A hundred years should go to praise.” He makes her feel worshiped and adored with lines “For, lady, you deserve this state, nor would I love at lower rate.” The comas before and after lady makes it empathised and makes it sound more inviting.
Marvell then changes his romantic diction to off putting imagery, “then worms shall try that long-preserved virginity,” this is saying that if you keep this shy act on much longer and preserve your virginity, the worm will take it once you died, the image created here would be worrying to the mistress and it may help persuade her. It continues on “and now, like amorous birds of prey,” this gives an image of vicious love, not so much romantic in contrast to the thesis of the poem. Marvell uses more abrupt diction with “and tear our pleasures with rough strife.” The very last lines of the poem are powerful in creating a heroic and passionate image, “though we cannot make our sun stand still, yet we will make him run.”
The language used in `To his coy mistress` is quite sophisticated. He uses alliteration to make his words stand out “long loves day,” this makes the poem flow more freely and smooth, therefore makes the words sound more delicate and soft. Marvell’s use of rhyming makes the poem run smooth and seems to emphasise his gentle whispering to exciting voice as he progresses into the poem.
The language used is persuasive, seductive, determined, flattering and extremely powerful to the reader. In “Come. And be my baby.” The language used is demanding, “Come.” There is no regular rhyming scheme in place. The last four lines of the 1st stanza are repeated again in the next stanza. The poem is split into 2 stanzas, with 9 and 8 lines. The text is demanding and persuasive, but not romantic. It’s a more modern language implemented.