28 April 2011

until tomorrow, His Coy Mistress

Had 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.

Baron de Meyer

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.
Andrew Marvell 1681



  1. This is really marvelous -- the great poem and the remarkable photo. Marvell seems to be breaking out all over favorite places today -- I think you might like to try this also. Curtis Roberts


  2. Perhaps my favorite poem of all time.

  3. I do believe you're missing a stanza, right where the picture is:

    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.


  4. Not editing. I'm quoting. I found the complete poem easily enough on the web, but now I'm reading from P. 175 of "The Major Poets: English and American,"edited by Charles M. Coffin. You really did just drop a stanza. Why not just correct it, or explain why you edited the poem?

  5. Anon- I did intentionally edit that out because I wanted to - I did not care to hare the stanza you cite here-worms, vaults, dust-etc- as I just had a tragic death in my very close family and felt I would leave that off for the moment since today was about a wedding- though obviously death is a daily part of life for us all. forgive my sensibilities and I do hope this satisfies as sufficient explanation really.



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