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10 of the Best Andrew Marvell Poems Everyone Should Read

The greatest Marvell poems

Andrew Marvell (1621-78) is widely regarded as one of the greatest English poets of the seventeenth century. His work is often associated with the Metaphysical Poets. But which are Marvell’s best poems? Below we’ve selected ten of Andrew Marvell’s most famous and popular poems and said a little bit about them. Click on the title of each poem to read the poem – and, in several cases, to access more information about it.

To His Coy Mistress’. As well as being a seduction lyric, ‘To His Coy Mistress’ is also a carpe diem poem, which argues that we should ‘seize the day’ because life is short. Marvell, addressing his sweetheart, says that the woman’s reluctance to have sex with him would be fine, if life wasn’t so short. But such a plan is a fantasy, because in reality, our time on Earth is short. Marvell says that, in light of what he’s just said, the only sensible thing to do is to enjoy themselves and go to bed together – while they still can. Read the rest of this entry

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A Short Analysis of Andrew Marvell’s ‘To His Coy Mistress’

A summary of a classic poem of seduction

‘To His Coy Mistress’ is one of the most famous poems of the seventeenth century, and probably the most famous poem Andrew Marvell (1621-78) ever wrote. It’s a classic seduction poem, which sees Marvell endeavouring to persuade his would-be lover, or ‘mistress’, to go to bed with him. As well as being a seduction lyric, ‘To His Coy Mistress’ is also a carpe diem poem, which argues that we should ‘seize the day’ because life is short. Here is Marvell’s poem, followed by a brief summary and analysis of its language and meaning.

To His Coy Mistress

Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down, and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love’s day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews. Read the rest of this entry

A Short Analysis of Andrew Marvell’s ‘Bermudas’

A reading of a classic Marvell poem

Fancy a voice to a tropical paradise? Andrew Marvell (1621-78) provides just the poem in ‘Bermudas’. Marvell is one of the most critically acclaimed and studied poets of the seventeenth century, and his work is often associated with the Metaphysical Poets. In this post we’re going to offer a brief summary and analysis of ‘Bermudas’, one of his finest poems, which is written in tetrameter rhyming couplets.

Bermudas

Where the remote Bermudas ride
In th’ocean’s bosom unespied,
From a small boat, that row’d along,
The list’ning winds receiv’d this song.
‘What should we do but sing his praise
That led us through the wat’ry maze
Unto an isle so long unknown,
And yet far kinder than our own? Read the rest of this entry