A Collection of English Poems, 1660-1800

By Ronald S. Crane | Go to book overview

ANDREW MARVELL
(1621-1649-1678)

To His Coy Mistress1

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 Loves Day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges side 5 Should'st 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. 10 My vegetable Love should grow
Vaster than Empires, and more slow.
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine Eyes, and on thy Forehead Gaze.
Two hundred to adore each Breast: 15 But thirty thousand to the rest.
An Age at least to every part,
And the last Age should show your Heart.
For Lady you deserve this State;
Nor would I love at lower rate. 20

But at my back I alwaies hear
Times winged Charriot hurrying near:
And yonder all before us lye
Desarts of vast Eternity.
Thy Beauty shall no more be found; 25 Nor, in thy marble Vault, shall sound
My ecchoing Song: then Worms shall try
That long preserv'd Virginity:
And your quaint Honour turn to dust;
And into ashes all my Lust. 30 The Grave's a fine and private place,
But none I think do there embrace.

Now therefore, while the youthful hew
Sits on thy skin like morning lew,
And while thy willing Soul transpires 35 At every pore with instant Fires,

____________________
1
Written cir. 1646-50. Published in Miscellaneous Poems, 1681. Text of first
edition. I have adopted Margoliouth's emendation of "glew" to "lew" (i.e., 'warmth')
in l. 34.

-41-

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