To His Coy Mistress By Andrew Marvell

To His Coy Mistress By Andrew Marvell

The Better Poem

Work Time

Complete a Quick Write.

  • Which of the two poems, Shakespeare’s or Herrick’s, is the better poem? Explain your answer.

Open Notebook

Join in a conversation about the two poems by Shakespeare and Herrick. You may share your Quick Write response. Refer to information from the “Carpe Diem” informational text.

Clear up any questions you have about the two poems.

"To His Coy Mistress"

Work Time

Another carpe diem poem along the lines of Shakespeare’s and Herrick’s is Andrew Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress.”

After hearing the poem read a couple of times, work with a partner to make sentence sense of the poem.

  • After each sentence (not line) write a brief paraphrase.
  • Generate questions if you run into problems with understanding.
  • Stop when you reach the break at line 20.

"To His Coy Mistress," Lines 1-20

Work Time

Begin the class conversation by sharing any words or passages from the poem that you don’t understand.

Discuss these questions to demonstrate your understanding and give your opinions about the poem.

  • In what sense could coyness be a “crime”?
  • Why, in lines 5–7, would the speaker of the poem be complaining?
  • Explain the lines, “And you should, if you please, refuse / Till the conversion of the Jews.”
  • How does the writer use humor to make his point? What’s funny?
  • Has the writer gone too far and crossed over into crassness?

"To His Coy Mistress," Lines 21-32

Work Time

Read and annotate lines 21–32 of “To His Coy Mistress.” Once again, mark any passages or words you don’t understand and be prepared to share those with the class.

Record your answers to the following questions and then submit them to your teacher.

  • In the first part of the poem, the speaker says they can take all the time in the world. In the beginning of the second part, starting on line 21, what is behind the speaker and what does he face ahead of him?
  • Because we can’t stop the passage of time, what is inevitable about all our lives?
  • What, according to the speaker, are the consequences of his mistress’s dying?

Open Notebook

"To His Coy Mistress," Lines 33-46

Work Time

Finish “To His Coy Mistress.”

  • Read and annotate lines 33–46.
  • Discuss this part of the poem with your partner.
  • If you finish early, go back to the “Carpe Diem” informational text to review what the author says about Marvell’s poem.

Important Lines


Consider “To His Coy Mistress.”

  • Choose one or two lines from the poem to share that you really like or that you think are important.

Share them with your partner. You will share them with the rest of your classmates during the next lesson.