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Andrew Marvell is the only puritan among the Metaphysical poets. But he is not a gloomy type of man like the puritans of his age. He is a humanist, a wit, and a poet. He is not against worldly and artistic amusement. In his attitude to love he belongs to the school of John Donne and like Donne, he gives importance to the intellectual elements such as witty conceits, a blend of passion, and thought in his love poems.

In writing love poetry, Marvell was greatly influenced by the Elizabethan poets. He has a tendency to describe his beloved in hyperbolical terms. The lover in "To His Coy Mistress" says,

"My vegetable love should grow Vaster than empires, and more slowly."

If the lovers really had enough time, he would spend a hundred years praising his beloved's eyes and gazing at her forehead, he would spend two hundred years admiring each of her breasts, and he would spend thirty thousand years praising the remaining parts of her body. Marvell shows his sensuality by preferring body to soul, lust to love. His fierce and violent passion may be noted in the following lines:

"Let us roll all our strength, and all our sweetness up into one ball, And tear our pleasures with rough strife, Through the iron gates of life."

Marvell believes that the human passion for love suffers a decay in death. So he proposes to utilize the present moment in enjoying the pleasures of life.

Like Donne Marvell blends passion with intellect and reason. While he expresses his passion for the love he uses witty and intellectual conceits and logical arguments. "The Definition of Love" is a notable example of the argumentative love lyric. The poem begins with an intellectual conceit. He says that his love was "begotten by Despair/upon Impossibility". "Magnanimous Despair" alone could show him so divine a thing as love. He could have achieved the fruition of his love, but Fate drove iron wedges and placed itself net him and the fulfillment of his love. Fate grew jealous of two perfect lovers and did not permit their union, because the union of two lovers would mean the ruin of the power of Fate. Finally, he describes the love between him and his mistress as the conjunction of the minds and the opposition of the stars. The whole poem is a kind of logically developed argument in which the passion itself is almost forgotten and the speaker's chief concern is to establish the utter hopelessness of true love.

To sum up, the poems of Andrew Marvell are masterpieces of metaphysical poetry. In his love poems, Marvell, in an ironical strain, takes an opportunity to denounce woman's tricks, artifices, and coquetry. His feelings issues from a heart truly deep and passionate, and the love which is demanded is violent and forceful.


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