What is a summary of Andrew Marvell's poem "The Definition of Love"?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Andrew Marvell's "The Definition of Love" is a highly complex poem, grounded in scientific and religious beliefs of its period. It describes an unrequited love, described in such general terms that it could be either a human love or the love of humanity for God. The human ideal of courtly love is usually unrequited, but in this it resembles Platonic images of love (as popularized in the Renaissance by Ficino's interpretation of Symposium) and other forms of agape, or heavenly love, which by its nature cannot be requited during corporeal life. Marvell describes the position of a love that may never be requited as grounded in fate, as it is understood in terms of the movements of the planets (astrology):

Therefore the love which us doth bind,
    But Fate so enviously debars,
Is the conjunction of the mind,
    And opposition of the stars.

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