Marvell’s To his Coy Mistress Author(s): Walter A. Sedelow, Jr. Source: Modern Language Notes, Vol. 71, No. 1 (Jan. , 1956), pp. 6-8 Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press Stable URL: http://www.
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jstor. org Marvell’s To His Coy Mistress f for tightness on Reflecting the measure of Marvell’s celebrity we poetic organization, may find it ironic that the final,climactic lines in his mostwidelyacclaimedlyricremainformostreadersand critics essentiallydisjoined from the poem as a whole, and from their origin as well. AlthoughTillyard chose To his Coy Mistress as his allusionforthe typeof a highlyorganized(” plotted”) lyric,’ Marvell’s 2 demonstrated and Wallerstein and Tuve 3 have elaborately couplet images,the concluding Christian symbolic usage of traditional appears neverto have been loselyrelatedto the centralsignificance of the poem,nor to its Biblical source. T. S. Eliot, for example,in discussionof the poem never mentionsthe conhis distinguished for cluding lines,much less theircentralsignificance the whole,and 5 nor Macdonald has caughtthe 6 Margoliouth it appearsthat neither source of the images. Bradbrookand Thomas noted7 that “make but beyond our sun / Stand still” derivesfromJoshua and Jericho, that theirexplicationis this: that the lovers” are not Joshuas,they are gods,” for though they ” cannot controlTime, yet . .
it is whereby alone thatsuppliesthemotive powerof existence theirenergy Time is created. ” Whatthis does not do is showthat ” we will make him run” is also Old Testamentand that when seen against the of context its sourcein the Psalms we findnew essentialmeaningfor the coupletin the poem and forthe poem in the couplet. 8 on The modelforAddison’sOde (” The spaciousfirmament high”), Psalm 19 (” The heavensdeclarethe gloryof God “) reads in verses 4-6 (King JamesVersion): Their [i. e. , the heavens’] line is gone out through all the earth, 1E.M.
W. Tillyard, Poetry Direct and Oblique (London, 1934), p. 198. Ruth C. Wallerstein, Studies in Seventeenth Century Poetic (Madison, 1950). Rosemund Tuve, Elizabethan and Metaphysical Imagery (Chicago, 1947). 4 T. S.
Eliot, Selected Essays (New York, 1950), pp. 251-263; also, in Andrew Marvell . . . Tercentenary Tributes, ed.
W. H. Bagguley (London, 1922), pp. 63-78. 6 H. M. Margoliouth, ed.
, The Poems and Letters of Andrew Marvell, 2 vol. (Oxford, 1927). 6 Hugh Macdonald, ed. , The Poems of Andrew Marvell (London, 1952).
7M.C. Bradbrook and M. G. Lloyd Thomas, Andrew Marvell (Cambridge, Eng. , 1940), p. 44.
8 Margoliouth indicated (p. v) that he would not include unnecessary annotations, and perhaps the Joshua aspect of the image is obvious, but not so for the rest, for all Bradbrook and Thomas suggest here is Donne’s The Sunne Rising, with which the parallel is comparatively loose. 2 Modern LaLnguageNotes And their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, And ejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
His going forth is from the end of the heaven, And his circuit unto the ends of it. Disregardingfor the nonce the apparentlyincidental,but by no between”end of the world” and correspondence means irrelevant, “by the Indian Ganges’ side ” (when takenin antipodalconjunction with” by the tide/ Of Humber”), we noticethat in bothpsalm and withthe poemthe image of the sun as runnerappearsin conjunction idea of the onset of the physicalphase of love.This double coincibut not likelyto be accidental, far moreconclusive, denceis, perhaps, is far and, moreimportant, more significant the additionalmeaning of for the couplet and poem that a recognition the source provides, percept established of the evident, a it for,first, provides confirmation equivalent of intensity lovingin a brieftimethe thatwitha sufficient in experiencecan be achieved of slow-paced loving over a vast eternity(and we may urge that Time, the Sun, a strongman and would have to run long and hard to encompass runner hencea strong of the precise confirmation which see their accomplishment-for of below) ; second, the recognition Marvell’s sun as a bridegroom recalls us to the firstidea of the poem,for the bridemagnificently groom” comingout of his chamber. .
. who] rejoicethas a strong lover-and man to run a race,” is a splendidformforthe unhurried therebythe meaning of the third paragraph is enhanced by an as withthe first foil and a generalsense of unity contrast immediate is achievedby havingthe verylast line and last idea recall the first of third,the recognition the sun as a lines and firstidea; further, self-confident strong and perhapseven saunteringly “) (” bridegroom to “) casual (” comingout of his chamber whois to be compelled run for developed the poem’sthird brutality sustainsthe tone of vigorous if paragraph;fourth, the Sun (who createstime,and who by making also createsworld), if the Sun, man’s standpoint life possible,from bave to run hard, then he must create a would a powerful runner, vast amount of time and a vast amount of world indeed-” world enough and time” one would think,for after all if he won’t be of made to stand still (i. e. , to createan infinity time), this powerful runnerwill be “made to run” (i. e. , run hard) which is the next best thing (i. e. , to create a vast, if finite,time, and world), and VOL.
LXXI, January 1956 7 s all that was asked for anyway: “world enough and time,” not “infinityand eternity. ” Marvell may well have smiled as he thoughthow this runner’s ” goingforth from end of the heaven, And his circuituntothe / is the worldenough! And ends of it “-for all the worldmustbe precisely thus the lovers’ sense of their iron straitsbecomesthe conditionof liberation:theycan forcethe sun to be his ownundoing. theirperfect Amherst College WALTER A. SEDELOW, JR. Pope, Sheffield, Shakespeare’s and JuliusCaesar From 1721 through1724 Pope energetically pursuedtwo editorial tasks:he prepared publication collected for the works JohnSheffield, of Duke of Buckingham,and the plays of Shakespeare.His correspondencereveals that he was preoccupiedby his editorial duties, for in at least two lettersof 1721 and 1722, to Jacob Tonson and JohnCaryll,he pondered botheditions progress in ‘-clearly Sheffield and Shakespearewere at timesassociatedin his thoughts. It is my purposeto showthat,as a result,in his emendations Shakespeare’s of Julius Caesar Pope let his judgmentas editorbe influenced turns by of phraseand alterations Shakespeare’stext made by Sheffield in in his veryfreeadaptation,The Tragedyof Julius Caesar.
” Because Sheffield, all otherAugustan” improvers of Shakelike speare,considered himselfunder no obligationto followhis original closely,he did not consistently retain the basic structure Shakeof speare’s dialogueand action; often,in fact,he diverged wildlyfrom it.Obviously, onlythoseparts of Sheffield’s Caesar mostresembling Shakespearemay be consideredas having affected Pope’s decisions as editor,but a comparison them to parallel passages in Pope’s of edition of Shakespeare’splay will reveal that Pope took five suggestionsfromthem. Three of these are verbal alterations, one is a ” degradation of a passage Pope considered ” and the fifth doubtful, transfers speechfromone character another. a to Of thetwelve doublecomparatives superlatives Shakespeare’s and in 1 Pope to Tonson, George Sherburn, The Early Career of Alexander Pope (Oxford, 1934), p. 307; Pope to Caryll, Works of Pope, ed. Elwin and Courthope (London, 1871-1889), vI, 280. S Modern Language Notes