Tuesday, 13 September 2011

My favourite poem...

is this one.

To His Coy Mistress
Andrew Marvell

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 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 would grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow;
An hundred years would 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 vaults, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long preserved virginity.
And your quaint honour turned 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 amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapped power.
Let us roll all our strength, and all
Our sweetness, up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Through the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.


- if I'm feeling overwhelmed (or cynical...) I like that people have always always tried to sweet talk others into bed. The details of the world might change, but the important bits tend to stay the same;
- if I'm feeling romantic, the descriptions of how he wants to love and adore her for the rest of time are delicious;
- however I feel, being reminded to seize the day is always welcome. The last two lines are my favourite... we can't stop time, but we can make sure we get the very best out of it.

Relevant pages from my sketchbook:

Carpe diem, boys and girls.

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