The poem “To His Coy Mistress” is a perfect example of how placing love and sex together in a poem takes away from the work, leaving the reader less impacted by the poem as a whole. Love is an amazing emotion, something that no one can quite understand, and that never changes. Love has always been a large part of the human culture, something that will always be relevant, even in years to come. The need to be someone’s “one and only”, what they live for from day to day, to have someone care about you that much is priceless.
It is the need to be desired, and taken care of, that drives people to find love. You find someone with common interests, and you talk, you go out on a few dates, and then it happens-- you begin to fall for that person, completely in love. Love leads to commitment, and then marriage, something that is so sacred, you promise to “love and cherish” that one person “’til death do you part”, never leaving their side, hurting when they hurt, joyous when they are joyous.
An example of this from “To His Coy Mistress” is found in the beginning of the poem, “for, Lady you deserve this state, nor would I love at lower rate”, this is stated after the narrator tells a young lady about how beautiful, and wonderful she is, trying to sweep her away with loving words, attempting to make her fall in love with him. Once you have this sort of love, you can link sex with it, but only then. Sex is an act of love that has been reserved for a husband and wife, the marriage bed, this act of sex is not of lust, but out of pure feeling and trust for the other person.
By you giving your body to someone, you are showing them that you are also giving them your heart, proving your love to them, in the greatest way possible. Without love, sex is nothing but an action, being caught up in the moment, taking advantage of an opportunity that has been placed before you. In the next stanza of “To His Coy Mistress”, Marvell states this “that long preserved virginity, and your quaint honor turn to dust, and into ashes all my lust. ” Here, the narrator revels his true intentions, seeking only a one night stand, persuading the young lady to seize the opportunity, and spend the night with him.
Sex is thought of so casually now a days, hardly having any meaning behind it anymore, with that being said, you can have sex with anyone you choose to, obviously having no romantic emotions for the other person. Hooking up with someone after a night at the bar cannot be compared to the interaction between people who have been together for years, working on building their relationship and an emotional connection. To be able to take something so pure and sacred and make it apart of an interaction with a stranger takes away from the meaning of love and sex, you can no longer pair the two together.
For an author to link sex and love together in a poem, story, or essay is undermining the meaning and value of love, and the role it plays in sex. Marvell begins the poem wooing the young lady, “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” such romantic words that hint at love. Then the idea of love is washed away with lines like “the grave’s a fine and private place, but none, I think, do there embrace”, making the narrator’s true intentions of sex known.
By mixing love, and sex together, the poem’s meaning loses its impact, no longer being romantic, but only a well planned pick up line. “Let us roll all our strength, and all our sweetness, up into one ball and tear our pleasure with rough strife, thorough the iron gates of life” solidifies the narrator’s true intentions, separating love from sex. “To His Coy Mistress” clearly shows that love and sex cannot be linked together in literary works without undermining the principle of love and taking away from the message the author is trying to convey.