I do not agree with this statement as I think that it is a very stereotypical view of both sexes. Men do not just want sex and women do not just want romance, I think that as a whole both sexes are different and every relationship is based on a different thing. Love is a universal feeling, and I don’t think it would be right to just say it is only about sex or just romance. I think that love is a strong emotion to show that you really care for someone and that you would do anything for them or even just to be with them.
The poem I first studied was heavily based on sex (physical love) it was titled “to his coy mistress”; it was about a man who sent his lady friend a letter basically asking for love. But more importantly in the time that the sonnet was written, it was highly frowned upon in society if you had sex before you got married, but still the author asks for it quite blatantly. Another poem I have studied entitled “How Do I Love Thee? ” takes a totally different view on love.
In this sonnet the author (a women) basically explains to the receiver (her soon to be husband) about how much she loves him and wants to marry him and wants to be with him forever. This theme is more of a mental love, not so much of the physical side of love. Sonnet’s when these authors where writing them where traditionally about love, they usually where written in the form of a letter to impress the receiver. The two poems are quite different in the way in which they are written and the way they are written about specific types of love.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “How Do I Love Thee? is about her, as an author conveying her love to her lover, who she will soon marry. This poem is heavily based on mental love, “I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach”, not so much of physical side of love. However “To His Coy Mistress” by Andrew Marvell is heavily based on physical love. There is also a real emphasis on time and how it will run out so they should get on with love, before “into ashes all my lust”, basically in that quote he says that he will only be interested in her for a while, not in a long relationship.
Also there is a lot of religious imagery in the poem “How Do I Love Thee? ” E. g. the author uses religious words “saints” and “God”. The asking for sex in the first poem, “To His Coy Mistress” is in my opinion blatant, he says “long preserved virginity” this is basically asking her to stop being a virgin. In the time that these poems are written it is unheard of to have sex before marriage, but it did often occur but to both parties it was always kept a secret.
There is an emphasis on time aswell in “To His Coy Mistress”, “Time’s winged chariot hurrying near” is personifying time, it means that time and therefore death are getting near. The author uses this personification to emphasise the rush on their relationship, because if they leave it too late she will not remain pretty therefore being a shallow relationship it will end. I think that the mental type of love is more romantic as the sexual love will not last and I don’t think it is very nice to use people for sex. I think the mental love is more romantic because the lovers want to spend the rest of their life with each other.
Also I think it is more probable that their love is real if it is mental not just physical attraction because you know whether the person really does love you or not. There is a lot of flattery in “To His Coy Mistress”, probably because he wants to have sex with her. However I think it is used by him to try and make the love seem real, however I think it is a bit obvious when he starts saying about the time they have, and how it is running out. Also, Andrew Marvell mentions sex a lot in “To his Coy Mistress”. He uses passionate language like “every pore with instant fires”.
This means that every part of his body is literally on fire when he is near her. His physical need for her is obvious and he says that he will spend “Two hundred to adore each breast”. This is saying that he will spend his time admiring her body and not her personality which shows his eagerness for sex. When he talks about time he mentions that they are near, he only says this because he fears that her body’s beauty will fade away. Andrew Marvell says that death is hurrying near and how they must get together and love before death catches them up.
The grave’s a fine and private place” is used by Marvell to emphasise the fact that in death they will be on their own and therefore they must make best use of the time they are given e. g. they should have sex. “Deserts of vast eternity” shows how time is passing by and that it will slip past them quickly. Andrew Marvell emphasises time passing by very well and then death drawing near. On contrast to this Elizabeth Barret Browning mentions that death is the beginning of her love, “I shall but love thee better after death” means that she will love him more after death than she did before.
This emphasises that she wants to be with the person because she actually loves them and nothing can prevent that. Whereas Andrew Marvell just wants sex so death will stop that and so will his love for his “Coy Mistress”. In the two poems there is an underlying theme about death and how the authors view this. In “To His Coy Mistress” death is the end and the end of love, it is non-avoidable and it’s inevitable. However, in “How Do I Love Thee? ” death is only a small object in the way of life and it shouldn’t stop their love “I shall but love thee better after death”.
In fact she say’s it will improve their love, she maybe referring to the quote “absence makes the heart grow fonder”. Another theme is time, in both poems it is there but in “To His Coy Mistress” it is more obvious. Andrew Marvell wants a quick and sexual relationship, “The long pressured virginity” he doesn’t want it to last because he makes her aware that after a while he will not be interested, “Thy beauty shall no longer be found”. Whereas in “How Do I Love Thee? ” the emphasis is not on time because she is not bothered about how long they have, “by sun and candlelight”.