To His Coy Mistress

Poster¡G Flora Hsiu at 12:12:15 3/24/98 from

In the first stanza, the speaker praises his coy lover. The speaker says his lover and he had ¡§world enough and time.¡¨ That means they have enough place and time to enjoy their love life. They don¡¦t have to worry about anything. The second line ¡§This coyness, lady, were no crime¡¨, I guess, means the speaker thinks the coyness is natural and also encourages the lady to be open-minded and accept his love. In lines 3-4, the speaker talks to the lover about how they can spend their long love¡¦s day. It also shows they can hold the time freely and give their own way. They don¡¦t fear the obstruction of time or of any outward factors. In line 8, the speaker says that he would love his lover ¡§ten years before the Flood.¡¨ We know, in Bible, the Flood means the punishment and destruction of human beings. However, why does the speaker put emphasis on ¡§ ten years before the Flood¡¨? and why does the lover have to refuse his love until ¡§ the conversion of the Jews¡¨? I really don¡¦t know what it means. Maybe the two phrases are about the stories and classical allusions in Bible. In lines 11-20, the speaker may devote himself and his all time to prove and demonstrate how deep, loyal, and honest his love is.
Then in the second stanza, the speaker guides the subject ¡§carpe diem¡¨ to the poem in a skillful and ingenious way and transforms the subject ¡§ taking hold of time¡¨ with his wit to let us find out his deep comprehension between the lines. The speaker says the speedy chariot of time always catches up with us. And limitless and enormous eternity is waiting for our coming. Because of the boundlessness of eternity, we seem to pursue the eternity all our life, but we never can catch it. In spite of the flowing and passing of time, everything will be removed and destroyed, including his lover¡¦s beauty, his echoing song, his lover¡¦s virginity, his odd honor, and his desire. Lastly, the speaker says the grave meaning the ending of life is not a good place to enjoy and rest. The speaker suggests that the lover should enjoy the present time as much as possible.
In the third stanza, the speaker ends the poem by challenging time. Time seems to be a powerful and indifferent animal to devour the perfect and beautiful things in the world. Nevertheless, the speaker still persuades his lover to defeat the devour of time with all the strength and love. They had rather be withered away right now than suffering all their life. Even though they don¡¦t condescend to be with time, they can¡¦t do anything with the passing of time. The sun will run forever and it will not stand still for us. It proves that they can¡¦t resist the beating of time. Under the pressure of time, they are always failures.


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