Nothing more than eagerness to learn more
Andrew Marvell's justly famous "To His Coy Mistress" is a metaphysical poem. The theme expressed in it is carpe diem or, for non-Latinists, seize the day. Another famous poem in this tradition is Robert Herrick's "To The Virgins to Make Use of Time," which begins "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may." Marvell's poem is usually excluded from secondary level textbooks because of its explicit sexuality, despite the fact that its author was a Puritan who never married and the son of a Calvinist Anglican preacher.
Were that not sufficiently incongruous, this seduction poem is presented in the form of a logical syllogism. The opening "if" segment lacks that subordinating conjunction that is more elegantly presupposed by the conditional tense of "Had we but world enough and time." The mediate inference is presented in the second verse paragraph beginning with "But," and the deduction in the concluding stanza commencing with "Now therefore." Such strict adherence to logical argument befits the author who was an important political figure in the Cromwell protectorate in England.
That having been said, let us turn to the wit and genius of the imagery and argument of the poem. With regard to the title, be aware that the adjective "coy" at the time of writing had none of its modern-day suggestions of playful teasing. The word then was a synonym for reluctant or modest. Also "mistress" meant unmarried woman and bore no suggestion of extra-marital relationship. The lady addressed in the poem is reluctant to accede to the speaker's pleas because she wishes to maintain her "quaint Honour" or her virginity.
In verse paragraph 1, the "speaker/seducer" makes concrete the abstractions of "Had we but world enough and time." Spatially, she might search for rubies on the shores of the Indian Ganges River while he voices his unrequited desires by England's Humber River.Temporally, he would sue for her affections beginning ten years before the...