“The Coy Mistress” and “Corinna’s going A-Maying”
Judging from the structure of the two poems, at first glance they seem to be very different; however, but in terms of context we can conclude that the stories beneath the works are almost alike. To compare the poems we must look at the technical side of the contents and how the meanings were delivered by the sentence structure. In the first poem entitled “The Coy Mistress” that was written by Andrew Marvell it goes about a woman who is quite slow in responding to the author’s sexual advances, and in the first part of the poem he emphasized how he would love a woman if only they had enough time to stay together. At the same time, the author of poem “Corinna’s going A-Maying” Robert Herrick points out ways on how to enjoy pleasures of life before it passes by.
The contexts of the story inside the two poems are different but the common element for both of them is that they are generally addressed to a woman. When Robert Herrick describes how he wants Corinna to stay with him and enjoy the delights brought by the spring mornings. This thought came to the writer while on “the light hangs on the dew locks of the night” (Herrick 72). He means that staying indoors on beautiful sunny day is not usually a good idea. Now, Andrew Marvell’s poem is laid down in a more persuasive manner. To prove that, we can only mention that he would greatly admire the woman’s body even if he spent a century without the woman’s refusal.
There is also a sad manifestation in Andrew’s poem since it contains the stanza wherein he points to an extraordinary short duration of life and that when the time is over there is no opportunity to enjoy each other’s company, because it’s impossible to embrace in the graves. Taking into consideration this particular idea, the writer gives a strong persuasion for the woman to comply with his requests and due to the fact that life is short and people should do all possible to get as much benefits from it as they can.
The structure of “To his Coy Mistress” was based on Iambic Tetrameter and some couplets in rhythm are used there. It should be noted that the first stanza used is “Had we” and that is ten couplets in general (Marvell 51). The same pattern was used for the second, six, and the third stanzas. Despite the fact that all of them were written in tetrameter, the writer is also known for the use of iambic pentameter writing. Besides, the theme of the poem follows the traditional conventions of carpe diem love poetry.
Talking about the “Corinna’s going A-Maying” Poem, it is for sure of more positive character where the young man wants to take the young woman on an engagement and waste no time to enjoy their life together. The poem may sound similar to the context of that of Andrew Marvell, but it is in fact entirely different in terms of structure and the theme selected. It is also written in carpe diem conventional style, but when we say about carpe diem here, we simply mean to capture the day instead of placing your trust in the coming days or the future.
Robert Herrick’s work captures a different tone in his portrayal of a story; it uses a positive and happy tone with a bit of exuberant and joyful tone and with the great hope for the happy future. In this poem a couplet rhyme is also used, but the only difference is that this poem ends in masculine rhyme with only one syllable per couplet except for the final couplet. The structure of the poem is laid down in iambic pentameter with a combination of iambic tetrameter. The lines used in pentameter consist of five pairs of syllables or in other term – five feet. On the other hand, the tetrameter lines deal with four pairs of syllables.
Marvell, Andrew. The Complete Poems. Ed. Elizabeth Story Donno. Middlesex: Penguin, 1986.
Herrick, Robert. Corinna’s Going a Maying. Seventeenth-Century English Poetry. Ed. Miriam K. Starkman. New York: Knopf, 1967.