‘To his Coy Mistress’ is organised into 3 sections. In the first the man speaking flatters the shy lady by talking of how he would praise her body for an age to each part if he could. He talks about if time were not a problem he would spend it in praise of her. He is speaking in conditional text and tells a rude joke about his ‘vegetable love’ or the love he contains in his penis for her. This is a very pathetic form of love as it is not to do how he feels towards her as a person but how he is sexually attracted to her as a pretty object.
In the second section of the poem he says there is no time to praise her as he said as their looks will fade and they will eventually die. He is now talking in the future tense and he says that there is no time to spend pondering whether or not to have sex as soon they will be in the grave and none, ‘do there embrace. To end the poem he wraps up his argument by saying how as there is no time to waste so let us embrace our youth and just have sex. He talks about how they should make the sun run and how he wishes they would become one.
So this poem talks about love in the most lust full of terms. It talks about love as being the passion to have sex. This is done in a very witty way but the impression that we get is that this would be a lustful one night thing and no real long term love for the others personality would be considered after in a relationship. Browning’s poems talk about love in a different way. These are more awkward forms of ‘love’. These are the poems of ‘Porphyria’s lover’ and ‘My Last Duchess’. To begin with I will talk about Porphyria’s lover.
Porphyria’s lover is a poem where love becomes abnormal. A woman seeks shelter from a storm and the man welcomes her into his house and they fall in love. The climax is at a time where the love for on another is very intense and whereas some poems usually express the wish for an intense moment of love to stand still in time forever Porphyria’s lover takes this to the next level. To keep the moment of such wonderful and passionate love he passionately wraps the woman’s lovely hair around her neck and then strangles her until she dies.
He does this so that she and her love would never stray away from him and they could love each other forever. This poem talks about the obsession for love can become so intense for the involved that it becomes abnormal and affects the lover in a strange way. This is still not true love as if he had loved her he would have kept her alive but it is love that has been misunderstood. In comparison to ‘To his coy mistress’, this poem talks far more about love being a powerfully passionate emotion instead of a powerfully passionate desire.
The difference is the lust for sex and the lust for the continuation of love. So love is involved much more in ‘Porphyria’s lover’ than ‘To his coy mistress. Finally, Browning’s second poem, ‘My Last Duchess’. This talks about a man who is talking about his last wife. This wife he refers to is on his wall, framed like a trophy. The man is a very arrogant self centred man, and he talks as if he does not care at all about his past wife. He says how ‘all smiles stopped together’, which means that he killed her and now he is looking to wed the counts daughter.
This however is not due to his love for her but for power and status, as he wouldn’t care the least if she died. He expresses no form of love at all which is very sad as it is as if he cannot love, and due to this he just betters his status by using his wife as trophies, and discarding then as he wishes. So this poem is not about the lust for sex, or the lust for the continuation of love, but for the lust for power. In this love is not referred to at all.
At least ‘To his Coy Mistress’ and ‘Porphyria’s lover’ display emotion, but this poem does not, it merely displays a loveless relationship. In conclusion, the real love is not discussed in these poems, but different forms of love. The short lived love life of ‘to his coy mistress, ‘the abnormally obsessive love’ in ‘Porphyria’s lover’ and the love of power and status and not for the woman in ‘my last duchess’. In my view love is to adore a woman for her personality and the will to enjoy her company for eternity and this I feel is not found in these poems.