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Robert Herrick vs. Andrew Marvell

            Throughout human history, many different forms of media have been used to respond to and refute a certain person's beliefs. In modern society, television and radio are two methods which are widely utilized. However, before these technologies were implemented into society, the spoken word and the printed words were the forms most widely put into action. When Johannes Gutenberg began work on the printing press in 1436, he had opened the door for a new way of communication, one which would dominate and change our world as we know it. Whether it was newspapers, stories, or poems, people utilized each to voice their opinions. This is clearly visible in the poetry of Robert Herrick and Andrew Marvell. Marvell's 1681 poem "To His Coy Mistress" is an indirect response to Herrick's 1648 poem "To The Virgins, To Make Much of Time." In his poem, Marvell uses many of the aspects of Herrick's poem, yet differs in many aspects in his central belief that young virgins should not wait to have sex.
             In 1648, Robert Herrick wrote a "carpe diem" poem in which he makes a call for all virgins to seize the day and get married. His main belief was that time is relentless, and the virgins are at their best when they are young and full of vitality. Once their youth is spent, their life is downhill afterwards. After stating his feelings and beliefs in "To The Virgins, To Make Much of Time", a response was made in 1681 by Andrew Marvell. In his poem "To His Coy Mistress," Marvell also applied a "carpe diem" mentality. However, Marvell felt that when virgins make the most of time, they should not marry; contrary, he believed that to seize the day, they should have sex as soon as possible. A woman's fertility and appealing nature to a man is fleeting and might not be here tomorrow. Hence, both parties should seize the day. This idea of how to seize the day is the underlying difference between Herrick and Marvell.

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