Andrew Marvell's to His Coy Mistress

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Marvell's To his Coy Mistress Author(s): Walter A. Sedelow, Jr. Source: Modern Language Notes, Vol. 71, No. 1 (Jan., 1956), pp. 6-8 Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press Stable URL: . Accessed: 29/12/2010 18:37 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at . JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at . . Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact

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Marvell's To His Coy Mistress
of for tightness on Reflecting the measure of Marvell's celebrity we poetic organization, may find it ironic that the final,climactic lines in his mostwidelyacclaimedlyricremainformostreadersand critics essentiallydisjoined from the poem as a whole, and from their origin as well. AlthoughTillyard chose To his Coy Mistress as his allusionforthe typeof a highlyorganized(" plotted") lyric,' Marvell's 2 demonstrated and Wallerstein and Tuve 3 have elaborately couplet images,the concluding Christian symbolic usage of traditional appears neverto have been closelyrelatedto the centralsignificance of the poem,nor to its Biblical source. T. S. Eliot, for example,in discussionof the poem never mentionsthe conhis distinguished for cluding lines,much less theircentralsignificance the whole,and 5 nor Macdonald has caughtthe 6 Margoliouth it appearsthat neither source of the images. Bradbrookand Thomas noted7 that "make but beyond our sun / Stand still" derivesfromJoshua and Jericho, that theirexplicationis this: that the lovers" are not Joshuas,they are gods," for though they " cannot controlTime, yet . . . it is whereby alone thatsuppliesthemotive powerof existence theirenergy Time is created." Whatthis does not do is showthat " we will make him run" is also Old Testamentand that when seen against the of context its sourcein the Psalms we findnew essentialmeaningfor the coupletin the poem and forthe poem in the couplet.8 on The modelforAddison'sOde (" The spaciousfirmament high"), Psalm 19 (" The heavensdeclarethe gloryof God ") reads in verses 4-6 (King JamesVersion): Their [i. e., the heavens'] line is gone out through all the earth, 1E. M. W. Tillyard, Poetry Direct and Oblique (London, 1934), p. 198.

Ruth C. Wallerstein, Studies in Seventeenth Century Poetic (Madison, 1950). Rosemund Tuve, Elizabethan and Metaphysical Imagery (Chicago, 1947). 4 T. S. Eliot, Selected Essays (New York, 1950), pp. 251-263; also, in Andrew Marvell . . . Tercentenary Tributes, ed. W. H. Bagguley (London, 1922), pp. 63-78. 6 H. M. Margoliouth, ed., The Poems and Letters of Andrew Marvell, 2 vol. (Oxford, 1927). 6 Hugh Macdonald, ed., The Poems of Andrew Marvell (London, 1952). 7M. C. Bradbrook and M. G. Lloyd Thomas, Andrew Marvell (Cambridge, Eng., 1940), p. 44. 8 Margoliouth indicated (p. v) that he would not include unnecessary annotations, and perhaps the Joshua aspect of the image is obvious, but not so for the...
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