University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Comparing: In Paris with You; His Coy Mistress
Both poems are about love – love that has been lost, damaged and tainted. In Paris with You is the bitter tale of a man who tries to move on from a lover that has left the man broken, biting and bleak, his poem is a woeful tale of the breakdown of what was clearly a precious relationship that had soured over time leading the man into a spiral of distress and Paris. The title itself suggests his biting personality In Paris with You – when you initially read it ideas of romance and love fill your mind but upon reading the poem all these thoughts go out the window and you realise the narrator’s vexation towards this person and the negative connotations they carry from the narrator’s point of view. Countering In Paris with You is His Coy Mistress a poem about an age old love that is dominated by lust and fuelled with an intense passion, the poem shows that the narrator’s appetite for lust can turn spiteful and the cruelty shown towards the women in the second stanza indicates the fickle nature of the narrator which is further proved in stanza three.
The second poem is different from the first in the sense the narrator seems to have more respect for the woman he compares her to “rubies” and countless mentions of his adoration and dedication towards her, he complains that her “coyness” has distanced the two and exaggerates it as he subtly mentions the River Ganges and Humber two different locations which he uses not just to compliment her and her beauty but also to suggest the space they share between them. However this does not hinder his ‘love’ for her as he calls it a “vegetable love” that “should grow” which implicates themes of a natural, healthy love that is fresh and genuine, a love that is “vaster than empires” invoking thoughts of power and might – influential even. Opposing His Coy Mistress is In Paris with You the narrator treats the women like a slave someone who he sees as an object to distract himself from the woman who “bamboozled” him, he uses nautical imagery such as “hostage” and “marooned” to describe his situation which suggests his feeling of confinement and restriction and why he may not want to go sightseeing in Paris because he wants to stay hidden away from the harsh sunlight and cruel world staying secluded in his own private island of misery with only his new ‘lover’ to keep him company.
In the second stanza of His Coy Mistress the narrator changes his mood towards the woman changing his love-struck attitude to one that is enraged and resentful, he spites her by suggesting “worms shall try that long preserved virginity” simultaneously mocking her chastity and her pride. He shows contempt by repeatedly acting like she is unwanted by all except death because of her “coyness” he says her “quaint honour shall turn to dust” to pressure her in a way by suggesting what she is doing now is useless and holds no meaning much like In Paris With You when the narrator repeatedly infers that what they do in Paris is not at all significant and is a band aid – a quick fix for his previous lover. Unlike In Paris with You His Coy Mistress turns remorseful and apologises indirectly by slowly coaxing her to embrace their lust and embrace and empower their love while In Paris with You remains the same unapologetic and laced with innuendos till the very end.