But at my back I always hear
Time’s winged chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Reference:- The given stanza has been taken from “To His Coy Mistress” written by Andrew Marvell. The poem was published in 1681.
Context:- ‘To His Coy Mistress’ is a metaphysical poem about a anonymous person who doesn’t reveal any physical or biographical details about himself. He, as the speaker attempts to persuade his resistant lover that they should have sexual intercourse before the world ends. He explains that if they had all the time in the world, he would have no problem with their relationship moving this slowly. The woman is also anonymous in the poem.
Explanation:- In the given lines, the poet gives her a huge gigantic but, he tells her that life is short but death is forever. The speaker hears something behind him. “Time’s winged chariot”, to be exact. Here, it is like, he’s being chased down by Time’s hybrid car and doesn’t say who’s driving. But we can assume it’s probably ‘Time’. Then, he seems to have a hallucination and tells the mistress, look at all this sand.
The future is just endless sand and we’re all going to die. In other words, he warns her that when she is in the coffin, worms will try to take her “virginity” if she doesn’t give herself totally before she dies. If she refuses to be with him, there will be repercussions for him too. All his desire will burn up ‘ashes’ for all time.
In the poem ‘To His Coy Mistress’, the poet asserts that Time’s winged chariot is always near. The speaker’s rhetoric changes from an acknowledgment of the lady’s limitless virtue to insisting on the radical limitations of their time as embodied beings. Once dead, he assures the lady, her virtue and her beauty will die in the grave along with her body as it turns to dust. Likewise, the speaker imagines his lust being reduced to ashes, while the chance for the two lovers to join sexually will be lost forever.
The poem written in the form of a dramatic monologue and has divided into three stanzas or poetic paragraph. The poem is written in iambic tetrameter using rhyming couplets. And literary devices like apostrophe, allusion, personification, simile and metaphor has used.