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To His Coy Mistress

by Andrew Marvell

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What are two explicit allusions to Andrew Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress"?

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Andrew Marvell's poem "To His Coy Mistress" is a poem that makes many allusions and also calls forth many allusions in other works. Let's look at a selection of both.

The poem itself alludes to the Bible when the speaker says that if he and his beloved...

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had all the time in the world, she could refuse him "Till the conversion of the Jews" and it wouldn't matter. Thisallusion is all about the end times and hints at St. Paul's comments about such in Romans 11. The speaker also mentions "ten years before the flood," referring to the story of Noah in the Biblical book of Genesis.

On the other side of the question, other authors have alluded to Marvell's poem in their own works. Annie Finch's poem "Coy Mistress" presents the lady's response to Marvell's speaker, answering his arguments with wit and common sense. A. D. Hope also attempts such a response in his poem "His Coy Mistress to Mr. Marvell." This poem is a good deal sharper than Finch's contribution and is really quite entertaining.

Further, T. S. Eliot in "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" at least echoes Marvell in his discussion of time and his allusion to a ball. The speaker in Eliot's poem lacks (on purpose) the depth and expanse of Marvell's speaker, for Eliot's speaker leads a shallow life that is lacking in meaning.

Other echoes and allusions to Marvell may be found in everything from the Ursula K. Le Guin story "Vaster than Empires and More Slow" to Virginia Woolf's Orlando: A Biography to Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms.

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