“To His Coy Mistress” and “Ode on a Grecian Urn” demonstrate to the reader that although one should physically “seize the day”, one should also use his imagination to unleash the true beauty of things. Keats and Marvel convey this fact in the course of their poems. As Keats indited, “Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard / Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on; / Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear’d,” (11-13). Listening to music is wonderful, but the music that one imagines is even more amazing.
He goes even deeper into the reader’s imagination by combing the thought of the action and the impossibility of it being fulfilled. As Keats said in regard to one “Bold Lover,” never, never canst thou kiss,” (17), and goes on to say that “She cannot fade,”(19) and “For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair! ” (20). When one thinks in what context the poem is truly being said the images created are just downright impossible. Theses impossibilities allow the mind to start thinking deeper. Marvel’s technique is a bit different.
He is very realistic for he knows that “at my back I always hear / Time’s winged chariot hurrying near;” (21-22), and thus one should enjoy life to the fullest. But he also wishes for the reader to realize that the imagination is an excellent channel for making life more enjoyable. In “To his Coy Mistress” though he does the imagining for the reader as demonstrated by the following lines, “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” (6-7).
The technique in which Keats and Marvel make use of to unleash the true beauty of humanity is quite different. But in fact they are trying to demonstrate the same idea, using their own approach. Keats’s approach involves use of irony, impossibilities, and opposites. He compares the urn to a “Sylvan historian, who canst thus express / A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:” (3-4). It seems to be ironic that the urn, which is silent, can tell a better tale than a historian can. Later he creates and image of “More happy love! more happy, happy love!
/ For ever warm and still to be enjoy’d, / For ever panting, and for ever young;” (25-26). In reality it is impossible for love to be “for ever warm” and for “ever young”. Keats creates images like these to make sure the imagination kicks in upon reading. Marvel on the other hand is interested in seizing the day, and facilitates for this by using the ideal if time was endless and contrasting it to the truth of life, death. In the beginning of his poem he goes on to say that if time had no boundaries and no end that “My vegetable love should grow / Vaster than empires, and more slow” (11-12).
He later contrasts the eternalness of his love to the fact that “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. ” (25-30). He practically spits in the woman’s face saying that your going to die soon, and you wont be beautiful forever in this world so better I take your virginity then the worms.
He goes on to say that “The grave’s a fine and private place, / But none I think do there embrace. ” (31-32). This might seem to be very crude upon a first reading, but Marvels approach is ingenious. He is telling the reader that even if life is to short, it should be enjoyed to the fullest extent possible physically and mentally. In “To His Coy Mistress” Marvell discusses a control over time, which is a theoretical and imaginative concept that was conjured by the writer.
In “Ode on a Grecian Urn” Keats discusses the control of things that are not subject to time and a control of the imagination. These two poems show the reader that one should physically “seize the day” and use his imagination to unleash the true beauty of things. Both Keats and Marvel are trying to unleash the true beauty of humanity, but each uses its own approach. Keats uses irony and opposites whereas Marvel is interested in a “carpe diem” outlook on life using the ideal if time had no end and contrasting it to the reality of death.