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Lust in Andrew Marvell's Poem, To His Coy Mistress

""Awaits" is usually explained by calling "hour" the subject and the line an unhappy inversion. Another explanation is that "awaits" has been "attracted" into the singular by "all that wealth e'er gave", and that the four clauses in lines 33f. are the subject after all. "Attraction" leading to non-agreement of subject and verb, (cf. Smyth, Greek Grammar, sec. 925f.) is not unusual in Greek and Latin poetry, and is, in my opinion, at least as likely an explanation for "awaits" as inversion. An inversion so extensive and so ill-prepared for seems unlikely to me in an otherwise carefully crafted poem like the Elegy."

Furthermore MacDonald incorporates symbolism in the poem to enhance its meaning....

"The meaning of this word is crucial to the 'Epitaph'. G[ray]. does not mean simply that the poet has been made melancholy (= gloomy) because his education made him aware of abilities which he has been unable to fulfil; if that had been the case the 'And' of this line would have logically been a 'But'. The favourable sense of 'melancholy', implying a valuable kind of sensibility, though not found in Johnson's Dictionary, was becoming fashionable at this time. The heightened sensibility of the melancholy man ideally expresses itself in benevolence and other social virtues, rather than merely in solitary wandering, although that usually precedes it. Thomson, Autumn 1004-10, speaks of the 'sacred influence' of 'the Power / Of Philosophic Melancholy'; and T. Warton, Pleasures of Melancholy 92-5, writes of 'that elegance of soul refin'd, / Whose soft sensation feels a quicker joy / From melancholy's scenes, than the dull pride / Of tasteless splendour and magnificence / Can e'er afford.' See also Ode to Adversity (p. 72), where Melancholy is associated with Wisdom, Charity, Justice and Pity. Thus the melancholy which marks the young man explains not merely his solitary wanderings and sad wisdom about life, but the social virtues described in the next stanza."

The poem tells a story of blood, death, loyalty and honor.

In the Andrew Marvell poem “To His Coy Mistress,” I would argue over the issue of love versus lust.

"The most striking parallel with this stanza occurs in Thomas Warton's Five Pastoral Eclogues (1745) ii 20-3, 28-36: 'Then let me walk the twilight meadows green, / Or breezy up-lands, near thick-branching elms, / While the still landscape sooths my soul to rest, / And every care subsides to calmest peace / ... / The solitude that all around becalms / The peaceful air, conspire[s] to wrap my soul / In musings mild, and nought the solemn scene / And the still silence breaks; but distant sounds / Of bleating flocks, that to their destin'd fold / The shepherd drives; mean-time the shrill-tun'd bell / Of some lone ewe that wanders from the rest, / Tinkles far off, with solitary sound; / The lowing cows ...' In ll. 47-8 a 'weary reaper' appears: 'along the vale, / Whistling he home returns to kiss his babes' (see l. 24 below). The 'silence ... save where' formula , in this stanza and the passage from Warton above, had become relatively common in descriptions of evening by the 1740s: e.g. Akenside, Ode to Sleep (1744) 18-20: 'No wakeful sound the moonlight valley knows, / Save where the brook its liquid murmur pours, / And lulls the waving scene to more profound repose'; Collins, Ode to Evening 9-12; and T. Warton Senior, Poems (1748) p. 117: 'Here what a solemn Silence reigns, / Save the Tinklings of a Rill.' Further examples are given in ll. 9-12n below."

"And here may be the best place to note after Dr Phelps that the 'whole atmosphere of Collins's Ode is similar to that of the Elegy. Cf. especially stanza 10,

''And hamlets brown, and dim-discovered spires,
And hears their simple bell, and marks o'er all
Thy dewy fingers draw
The gradual dusky veil.'' '
Dr Phelps notes also that Joseph Warton's verses contain some of Gray's pictures, and something of the same train of thought: e.g.:
''Hail, meek-eyed maiden, clad in sober grey,
Whose soft approach the weary woodman loves,
As homeward bent to kiss his prattling babes
Jocund he whistles through the twilight groves.''
add:
''Now every Passion sleeps; desponding Love,
And pining Envy, ever-restless Pride;
A holy calm creeps o'er my peaceful soul,
Anger and mad Ambition's storms subside.''
The latter stanza might well be the form in embryo of the four rejected stanzas quoted infra, n. on . Dr Phelps remarks that ''the scenery as well as the meditations of the Elegy were by no means original: they simply established more firmly literary fashions which were already becoming familiar.''
And certainly if the opening stanzas of the Elegy as we now have them were written as early as 1742, their composition was in no way affected by the poems of Warton and Collins; the same must be said even if the 'autumnal verses' of the letter of Sept. 11, 1746, were the Elegy. The spirit of gentle melancholy was in the air; and in 1746 and 1747 found in three young poets, Collins, Joseph Warton and Thomas Warton, that voice to the world at large which is found again in Gray in 1750. For in 1747 Thomas Warton published anonymously these lines, which he had written in his 17th year (1745):
''Beneath yon ruin'd abbey's moss-grown pile
Oft let me sit, at twilight hour of eve
Where thro' some western window the pale moon
Pours her long-levell'd rule of streaming light;
While sullen sacred silence reigns around,
Save the lone screech-owl's note, who builds his bow'r
Amid the mould'ring caverns dark and damp,
Or the calm breeze, that rustles in the leaves
Of flaunting ivy, that with mantle green
Invests some wasted tow'r:
''
where resemblance to the Elegy is closest of all.
Between these three poets communication of ideas was probable; but at this date even Thomas Warton, with whom he afterwards corresponded, was an absolute stranger to Gray. And Gray is so far from feeling that in any of these there were 'kindred spirits' who might 'enquire his fate' that he writes, Dec. 27, 1746:
'Have you seen the Works of two young Authors, a Mr Warton and a Mr Collins, both Writers of Odes? it is odd enough, but each is the half of a considerable Man, and one the counterpart of the other. The first has but little invention, very poetical choice of Expression, and a good Ear, the second a fine fancy, model'd upon the Antique, a bad Ear, great variety of Words, and Images with no choice at all. They both deserve to last some Years, but will not.'
So little are men conscious of that 'stream of tendency' on which they themselves are borne."

I read the poem, and had to read it again and again.

The use of the word “idle” offers the first clue as to one of the main themes of the poem....

"Gray himself quotes here in illustration:

''Ch'i veggio nel pensier, dolce mio fuoco,
Fredda una lingua, e due begli occhi chiusi
Rimaner dopo noi pien di faville.''
Petrarch, Son. CLXIX. CLI.
He had already, I believe, made the translation of this sonnet, which is preserved among his Latin poems; perhaps even the turn which he has given to it in the lines
''Nos duo cumque erimus parvus uterque cinis,''
and
''Ardebitque urna multa favilla mea,''
may have set him on embodying in this place of the Elegy the passage quoted. Petrarch's words serve Gray's purpose best if severed from their context. In this sonnet the poet plays with the image of flame. He is burning; all believe this, save her whom alone he wishes to believe it; his ardour, of which she makes no account, and the glory he has given her in his rhyme, may yet inflame a thousand others:
''For in my thought I see, - sweet fire of mine!---
A tongue though chilled, and two fair eyes, though sealed,
Fraught with immortal sparks, survive us still.''
Mitford quotes Chaucer, Cant. Tales, Reeve's prologue (3880):
''Yet in our ashen cold is fire yreken.''
But the Reeve is speaking of the passions of youth surviving in old age."

"Gray probably took this expression from Paradise Lost, III. 88, the only place in Milton's poems where 'precincts' occurs: 'Not far off Heaven in the precincts of light.' Bradshaw.
Note that Milton accentuates the word on the last syllable, Gray, in modern fashion, on the first."

Plath’s usage of allusion calls the reader to bring their own knowledge to the poem....
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This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

"For the allusions to Hampden (1594-1643), Milton (1608-1674), and Cromwell (1599-1658), the student should refer to a History.
Instead of these three names there are, in the Original MS., Cato, Tully, and Caesar; but the change to well-known characters of our own country has added to the vividness as well as fixed the nationality of a poem that has been translated into so many languages.
It is noteworthy that both Hampden and Milton lived in Buckinghamshire - the county in which is the Stoke-Poges Churchyard. Hampden was M.P. for Buckingham, and it was as a resident of that county that he refused to pay ship money. Chalfont, in which is the cottage where Milton finished ''Paradise Lost,'' is only a few miles from the ''Churchyard'' of the ''Elegy.''
Mitford quotes the following from Plautus as the thought in brief of this stanza and lines : - ''Ut saepe summa ingenia in occulto latent, / Hic qualis imperator, nunc privatus est.'' - Captiv. iv. 2."

"had damp'd Eton, with depress'd repress'd written above."

"In Table-talk, Guardian Newspaper of Jan. 25, 1871, under the head ''Stanzas published in great poems and afterwards rejected'' there are given besides the well-known lines ''There scattered oft,'' &c. which Gray indeed wrote but never published, the following which he certainly neither wrote nor published:

''Some rural Laïs, with all conquering charms,
Perhaps now moulders in this grassy bourne,
Some Helen, vain to set the fields in arms,
Some Emma dead, of gentle love forlorn.''
(I owe this quotation to the Rev. Lewis Hensley, Vicar of Hitchin.)
There is no trace whatever, as far as I can discover, connecting these lines with Gray. They seem to be the work of some early champion of the claims of Womanhood.
The stanza in Fraser MS. follows of present text."

"silent with noiseless written above, E[ton College MS.]."

"In Table-talk, Guardian Newspaper of Jan. 25, 1871, under the head ''Stanzas published in great poems and afterwards rejected'' there are given besides the well-known lines ''There scattered oft,'' &c. which Gray indeed wrote but never published, the following which he certainly neither wrote nor published:

''Some rural Laïs, with all conquering charms,
Perhaps now moulders in this grassy bourne,
Some Helen, vain to set the fields in arms,
Some Emma dead, of gentle love forlorn.''
(I owe this quotation to the Rev. Lewis Hensley, Vicar of Hitchin.)
There is no trace whatever, as far as I can discover, connecting these lines with Gray. They seem to be the work of some early champion of the claims of Womanhood.
The stanza in Fraser MS. follows of present text."

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