During the 17th century the style of writing was changing from poems about death to ones whose subject was about living life to its fullest extent. This kind of writing was also known as carpe diem. Robert Herrick and Andrew Marvell were two of the first carpe diem poets. Although their styles were similar their subjects differed. Both Marvell and Herrick used metaphors in their writing. In To His Coy Mistress, Marvell writes, Had we but world enough, and time, This coyness lady were no crime,(414).
This is a metaphor saying that if they had all the time in the world to spend together that he would not be so worried about getting married right away. Herrick says in To the Virgins to Make Much of Time, And this same flower that smiles today Tomorrow will be dying,(416). This means that whatever man likes a girl today, tomorrow may like somebody else. Both Marvell and Herricks poems are in the form of an argument, they are trying to convince the young women in the poems to forget their morals and live life like it should be lived.
Both poets also used personification in their writing. Marvell personifies youth by comparing it to a drop of dew, Now therefore, while the youthful hew sit on thy skin like morning dew, (415). Here he is saying that like dew youth does not stay around forever. In Herricks poem he gives the sun life-like qualities in the line, The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun, The higher hes a-getting, The sooner will his race be run, And nearer hes to setting. (416). Herrick is saying that if these girls dont live life now that they will miss their prime and will not have any fun while they live.
Both Carpe Diem poets feel that young girls are not taking advantage of their youth and they are going to miss the best part of life. Although both poems had the same ways of getting their point across, the writers were trying to convince their readers of different things. Marvell is trying to get a woman to marry her, and Hertick is trying to get young women to fornicate while they are young. Though Marvell wants to marry his girlfriend she does not want to marry him now, so he tries to tell her that if they were going to live forever he would not need to marry her to show her his true love for her.
He tells her that he needs to marry her because he wants to be with her after he dies. Had we but enough time, and time, this coyness lady were no crime. (414), is saying that if time was not running out he would not need to marry her, but since it is she is the only person he wants to marry and he needs to do it before he dies. Marvells poem is trying to convince his girlfriend that she is his only true love and he wants to be with her forever. Herrick on the other hand, is trying to persuade young women to have carnal relations with men while they are still young.
Then be not coy, but use your time, And, while ye may, go marry; For, having lost but once your prime, You may forever tarry. (416), is claiming that once these young girls are old men will not want to be with them anymore. I prefer Marvell to Herrick because Marvell is trying to relate to his love for his girlfriend to her, and Herrick is just trying to get young women to copulate with men while they are young. Marvells poem is a declaration of his love to her. It is a truly heartfelt poem that was written to show his undying love for her.
It seems that he has tried to win over her love by showing her just how much her absolutely loves her, and wants to make their connection more than just love, he wants to make it right in the eyes of God. This pair of carpe diem poets wrote during the same time period and had similar styles but had contrasting subjects. Marvell wrote from the heart to his girlfriend to show his everlasting love for her by writing a poem about it to her, while Herrick told girls that if they dont couple while they are young they never will be able to.