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“To His Coy Mistress” by Marvell and “The Flea” by Donne

“To His Coy Mistress” is a well-known poem by Andrew Marvell, in which the speaker addresses his lover, who is reluctant to be intimate with him. Even though the speaker seduces his lady, it is mostly a carpe diem poem full of profound contemplation about the brevity of life. “Had we but world enough and time, / This coyness, lady, were no crime,” writes Marvell, implying that the lifespan is too short for hesitation. Indeed, the poem made me think that in this fast-flowing rhythm of life, people often have no time for open and sincere feelings. It is hard to disagree that passionately loving each other and embracing every moment of intimacy is the best thing lovers can do before life passes. The poem leaves the light feeling of sadness because, in the modern world, people often underestimate the importance of vivid emotions and the time of intimacy spent with their loved ones.

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For me, “The Flea” by John Donne is a unique way of depicting love through the image of an insect. The speaker sees the flea, which bit both him and a young lady, as a symbol of their oneness. It is interesting to see that even something as prosaic as a blood-sucking insect may symbolize a sexual desire for a passionate man. At the same time, the important image of the poem is the speaker’s and the woman’s blood mixed inside the flea’s body, which has its own romantic symbolism. This poem made me look at erotic poetry in a different way and proved that sensuality and intimacy can be expressed even through something far from being romantic. Besides, Donne’s work makes a significant contract with the typical seduction poems, where intimacy is usually depicted as an elevated act.

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StudyCorgi. "“To His Coy Mistress” by Marvell and “The Flea” by Donne." February 13, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/to-his-coy-mistress-by-marvell-and-the-flea-by-donne/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "“To His Coy Mistress” by Marvell and “The Flea” by Donne." February 13, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/to-his-coy-mistress-by-marvell-and-the-flea-by-donne/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) '“To His Coy Mistress” by Marvell and “The Flea” by Donne'. 13 February.

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