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Poetry Paragraph

Poetry Paragraph


First and Foremost:

  • This  paragraph is based on the poem “To His Coy  Mistress,” by Andrew Marvell, on pages 528-529.  Also, read pages  527-528 for information about carpe diem poems.
  • The assigned topic for this paragraph appears just before the rubric.
  • The rubric with information about the grading your paragraph appears at the bottom of this page.
  • Your  work is automatically subjected to a plagiarism check when you submit  it.  If you submit your work early and need to make changes due to the  plagiarism check, make them and resubmit your work before the  deadline.  


  • to  use the components of effective writing
  • to learn about MLA parenthetical references and works cited entries
  • to become acquainted with the eBook Collection (Gale) database (as applicable)


Read these resources because  they supply important information about how to enhance your reading of  the poem and how to cite borrowed information. 

Points to Guide Your Reading of the Poem and Your Writing of Your Paragraph:

The speaker presents his mistress with a three-part argument to  persuade her to consummate their relationship now rather than later.     At the time when Marvell wrote the poem, the term “mistress” was used to  refer to a young unmarried woman.

  • In lines 1-20, the speaker presents the if  part of the argument in which he tells the mistress that if they had an  eternity, he would have no problem with the mistress’s coyness (her  unwillingness to make a commitment).
  • In lines 21-32, the speaker presents the but part of the argument in which he tells her that they do not have an eternity.
  • In lines 33-46, the speaker presents the therefore  part of the argument in which he tells her that because they do not  have an eternity, they must consummate the relationship now rather than  later.

With these three parts in mind, you may wish to organize the contents of your paragraph this way:

  • Begin with a topic sentence that (1)  names the poem, with quotation marks around the name of the poem; (2)  includes the words “carpe diem” or synonyms of those words; and (3)  explains the link between this poem and the theme carpe diem.
  • In the next sentence(s), focus on  lines 1-20 by identifying the overall subject of them and quoting  specific lines to illustrate that subject, such as lines 3-7.
  • In the next sentence(s), focus on  lines 21-32 by identifying the overall subject of them and quoting  specific lines to illustrate that subject, such as lines 25-30.
  • In the next sentence(s), focus on  lines 33-46 by identifying the overall subject of them and quoting  specific lines to illustrate that subject, such as lines 37-40.
  • End with a concluding sentence if you wish.

The Assigned Topic:

  • Write a paragraph of 200-250 words.
  • In  the upper left-hand corner of your paragraph, include your name,  followed by my name (Mr. Leonard), the name of the class (ENC  1102-31843), and the due date of the paragraph.
  • Give your paragraph a title.
  • Double-space the contents of your paragraph.
  • Explain how “To His Coy Mistress,” by Andrew Marvell, is an example of a carpe diem poem.

A Visual:

  • The couple in this painting by Szinyei Merse Pal probably resembles the one in “To His Coy Mistress.”

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