What are the characteristics of the kind of love the speaker describes in the first section of "To His Coy Mistress"?

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iandavidclark3 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Andrew Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress" is famous for its proposition that one must find love during the brief extent of youth, as humans are finite creatures and are not blessed with infinite amounts of time. The first section, however, does not promote this theme. Rather, the first section of the poem discusses an idealistic form of love free from the confines of time and the restrictions of mortality. For example, the speaker says "My vegetable love should grow / Vaster than empires, and more slow" (11-12), and this quote suggests that, in an ideal world, love would not be restricted by time. Indeed, the speaker imagines a paradise in which lovers would be forever young and able to spend ages getting to know one another. As such, the ideal love discussed in the first stanza posits a setting that would allow couples eternal youth free from mortality. Marvell uses this idealistic setting in order to set up the poem's later contrast with reality and the unfortunate need to rush courtship and outrun the merciless onset of time. 

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To His Coy Mistress

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