by: Andrew Marvell (1621-1678)

      AD we but world enough, and time,
      This coyness, lady, were no crime.
      We would sit down and think which way
      To walk, and pass our long love's day;
      Thou by the Indian Ganges' side
      Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
      Of Humber would complain. I would
      Love you ten years before the Flood;
      And you should, if you please, refuse
      Till the conversion of the Jews.
      My vegetable love should grow
      Vaster than empires, and more slow.
      An hundred years should go to praise
      Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
      Two hundred to adore each breast,
      But thirty thousand to the rest;
      An age at least to every part,
      And the last age should show your heart.
      For, lady, you deserve this state,
      Nor would I love at lower rate.
      But at my back I always hear
      Time's winged chariot hurrying near;
      And yonder all before us lie
      Deserts of vast eternity.
      Thy beauty shall no more be found,
      Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
      My echoing song; then worms shall try
      That long preserv'd virginity,
      And your quaint honour turn to dust,
      And into ashes all my lust.
      The grave's a fine and private place,
      But none I think do there embrace.
      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 am'rous birds of prey,
      Rather at once our time devour,
      Than languish in his slow-chapp'd power.
      Let us roll all our strength, and all
      Our sweetness, up into one ball;
      And tear our pleasures with rough strife
      Thorough the iron gates of life.
      Thus, though we cannot make our sun
      Stand still, yet we will make him run.

"To His Coy Mistress" is reprinted from Miscellaneous Poems. Andrew Marvell. London: Printed for Robert Boulter at the Turks-Head in Cornhill, 1681.




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