Thursday, October 26, 2006

Poetry Thursday 3

Having been given the rather urgent assignment of interviewing one of my favourite authors of fantasy-for-adults this afternoon, I haven't yet finished reading my current book, so I've decided to offer you a Poetry Thursday this week. Part of this poem by Andrew Marvell is recited by Abel Darkwater in Jeanette Winterson's Tanglewreck which I reviewed yesterday. Darkwater repeats the following lines to Silver:

But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.

And I thought I would share the entire poem with you.

To 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.

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.

Andrew Marvell


Unknown said...

I've heard parts of this poem quoted, but never read the whole thing. It really made me smile!

Michele said...

It's actually quite naughty - in that he's basically just trying to cajole her into bed with him - but in a fun way !

Unknown said...

I got that - that's what made me smile!

Michele said...

I figured you probably did get that, but I thought others might not, which is why I mentioned it...