To His Coy Mistress Literary Devices

What are some examples of literary terms in this poem?

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Here are some additional literary devices in this poem:

Repetition

As the speaker addresses this woman who has captivated him, he wants her to believe that she should be intimate with him—and now. He artfully conveys this sense of urgency through repetition in these lines:

Now therefore, while the youthful...

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Here are some additional literary devices in this poem:

Repetition

As the speaker addresses this woman who has captivated him, he wants her to believe that she should be intimate with him—and now. He artfully conveys this sense of urgency through repetition in these lines:

Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
This is a seductive man, and his intended lover is "coy," as noted in the title. He's pressing her to give in to his desires through this repetition.
"Deserts of vast eternity" conveys the dry and empty future before them when they are old and have lost their youthful beauty and passions. This furthers the idea that she should act now, while she remains an enticing young woman.
Consider this line:
We would sit down, and think which way
The repetition of the w sound in these lines conveys a hollow emptiness, which focuses the "coy mistress" on the hypothetical. He says that if they had all the time in the world, he could play her coy games. But the reality is that time is ticking.
Apostrophe
This entire poem is a spoken address to a "lady":
Had we but world enough and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
A direct address to a person (or object) who cannot respond is literary apostrophe. (It would be fun to hear this lady's response to the speaker's attempts of persuasion!)
Enjambment
Numerous lines end without any punctuation, such as this one:
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
This again feels as if the speaker is rushing through his efforts of persuasion, hoping to rush the lady to agree and submit to his desires as well.
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The speaker uses a metaphor in the phrase, "and pass our long love's day," in which he compares the lifespan of his and his coy mistress's love, so to speak, to a day.  The speaker employs another metaphor when he refers to his "vegetable love" that grows slowly but just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

He uses allusions when he refers to the Ganges, a river that flows through India, as well as the Humber, a tidal estuary in England.  An estuary is a partially enclosed water body near a coast; its waters are brackish, and it generally connects to the sea.  He says that if time were no issue, they could take leisurely strolls at this bodies of water.

He uses hyperbole (exaggeration) to say that if he and his lover were not doomed to run out of time, he would spend a hundred years praising her eyes and forehead, two hundred years on each breast, and thirty thousand years to praise all the rest.  The implication is that she is so beautiful that it would take all this time to appreciate her.

The speaker uses personification to characterize "Time" as the driver of a "winged chariot" that is constantly behind him, chasing him.  The sun is personified in the last few lines when the speaker says that they (he and his mistress) will "make him run."

The speaker uses a simile when he says that his lover's youth sits on her "skin like morning dew," returning to the comparison of the life of their love to a day; it is young and new now.  Another simile compares the lovers to "amorous birds of prey."

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To answer your question, I'll make a list of literary devices (literary terms) that Marvell used and how he used them.

  • Rhyme: particularly end of line; the poem's rhyme scheme is very easy to trace.
  • Couplet: the entire poem is written in couplets, or two lines that rhyme and have the same meter.
  • Meter: the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables; each couplet has the same number of syllables.
  • Allusion: making reference to people or events in history, mythology, or literature; the speaker says he would love her "ten years before the Flood."
  • Hyperbole: exaggeration; the speaker says that "an hundred years" should be spent to praise her eyes and "thirty thousand to the rest"
  • Simile: youth sits on her skin "like morning dew."

This is a brief list of the devices Marvell used in the poem. I hope it will help you to find more.

 

 

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