Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Poems and Elitism

The fine folks over at have a great gig this month. Instead of a poem and links a week by email, all month I've been getting a poem a day. This was today's poem, and a fine one it is. At 51, this poem resonates more than I wish, and is, for a 400 year old beauty, still relevant, wonderful and meaningful. The critical observations following the poem have been omitted here, but are well worth perusing. Sign up today, you won't be sorry. And while you're at it, write a check and donate to keep this elitist beauty alive for all of us. I do every year, but then I love thinking, writing, reading and talking, even though it doesn't play well in small towns. Come on now, would you really want a president who isn't smarter than you ?

"To His Coy Mistress"
by Andrew Marvell (1621–1678)

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.

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