Philological Quarterly, Wntr 2001 v80 i1 p57(14)

The Persuasion of the Coy Mistress. Halli, Robert W., Jr.

Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2001 University of Iowa

There is general agreement that Andrew Marvell's "To his Coy Mistress" is a carpe diem, invitation-to-love, seduction poem couched in a syllogistic, or seemingly-syllogistic, argument: if we lived forever, your virginity would be appropriate; but we do not live forever, and therefore we should engage in sexual activity. (1) To this point commentators have assumed that the basis on which the speaker persuades the mistress to yield is the physical pleasure of sexual activity. That assumption sets "To his Coy Mistress" apart from Marvell's other poetry in at least two ways. First, it would be the only Marvell poem construed to present a celebration of sexual delight that is only a celebration of sexual delight. Second, it would depart from the pattern of Marvell's major poems which offer competing discourses on their subjects (e.g., innocence and experience in "The Nymph complaining for the death of her Faun," praise and criticism in "An Horatian Ode upon Cromwel's Return from Ireland"). But, if the primary grounds of persuasion is sexual pleasure, then that syllogism does not work. After all, desire for sexual pleasure with a particular partner is not likely to be eliminated by the prospect of spending eternity with that partner. If the syllogism works, then the primary ground of persuasion is not sexual pleasure. The difficulty commentators have had reconciling the poem's imagery, particularly in its third section, with their argument for sexual pleasure is reflected in a plethora of conflicting interpretations of "the dramas of mystery and incoherence," (2) Having to treat each image individually, these critics have been unable to produce a coherent organic reading of all the poem's elements. I believe the primary desire of the speaker, his basic ground of persuasion of the mistress to sexual activity, is not sexual pleasure, and is plainly revealed in the opening lines: "Had we but World enough, and Time, / This coyness Lady were no crime" (1-2). (3) The speaker desires extension in time and space beyond the confines of the earthly life span. And I believe the means of its achievement is that proposed in any number of earlier poems, including Shakespeare's sonnets and almost every epithalamion: the procreation of offspring, "That thereby beauties Rose might neuer die." (4) The persuasion of procreation does provide a coherent organic reading of all the elements of "To his Coy Mistress."

The impulse toward procreation was very strong in the early modern era. Ambrose Pare opens his book Of the Generation of Man with an explanation of this impulse in terms of religion. "God ... not onely distinguished mankinde, but all other living creatures also, into a double sex, to wit, of male and female; that so they being moved and enticed by the allurements of lust, might desire copulation, thence to have procreation. For this bountiful Lord hath appointed it as a solace unto every living creature against the most certaine and fatall necessity of death: that for as much as each particular living creature cannot continue for ever, yet they may endure by their species or kinde by propagation and succession of creatures, which is by procreation, so long as the world endureth." (5) Those who argue for the persuasion from pleasure fail to note that, in the seventeenth century, sexual pleasure was not viewed as an appropriate end in itself. Lawrence Stone says that "it was not until the eighteenth century that the pleasure principle began to be clearly separated from the procreative function." (6) Pare makes the relation of means and end absolutely clear: "A certaine great pleasure accompanieth the function of the parts appointed for generation ... that the kind may be preserved and kept for ever, by the propagation and substitution of other living creatures of the same kinde." (7) This biological imperative was reinforced by a social one. According to Jacques Gelis, "there is nothing worse than to die leaving no progeny." (8) Not just Marvell's lovers, but almost all his contemporaries desired extension to eternity through posterity.

As long as "To his Coy Mistress" is seen merely as "the most famous seduction poem in English" (9) my procreative reading seems to contradict both logic and the age's social code. In these terms, Berhard Duyfhuizen establishes the possibility of pregnancy as a convincing reason for the refusal of the speaker's overture: "the Mistress' coyness is her only means of protecting what seventeenth-century society defined as her moral and economic value--her virginity. The momentary sensual ecstasy extolled by the speaker carries for the listener the cost of social `ruin' and possibly pregnancy out of wedlock." (10) It is certainly true that the woman is unlikely to be persuaded that sexual activity outside of marriage is desirable on the grounds that through it she may become pregnant. It is also true, however, that such a result would leave the speaker without legitimate issue, acknowledged extension into world enough and time, unless he was married to the mother of his offspring. Despite the universal critical assumption that the speaker is urging the mistress to sexual relations outside the bounds of marriage, there is nothing in the poem itself which necessitates, or even suggests, that conclusion. It is quite possible that the speaker's frustration stems not from the mistress' coyness about engaging in fornication but from her coyness about accepting a proposal of marriage which would sanction sexual relations leading to procreation. These worldly concerns seem more appropriate in "To his Coy Mistress" than they would in other Marvell poems because this poem is more "of the world" than most of Marvell's lyrics. As Thomas Wheeler has noted, "the speaker is not talking to a shepherdess or to a woman whose name implies a pastoral or a mythical setting. She is simply 'Lady.' While that form of address seems a bit stilted for a lover, it does not allow the woman to escape into some fictitious literary never-never land. Furthermore, the speaker locates himself in England by his reference to `the Tide of Humber,' a real river, not a name from poetic tradition." (11) Even with this reference to the river flowing through Marvell's hometown of Hull there is no reason to read "To his Coy Mistress" autobiographically. There is, however, every reason to note that it embodies a much more "realistic" fiction than we find normally in Marvell's poetry.

The poem's long and leisurely opening section details the optimum circumstance: the immortality of the individuals themselves. If they will live forever in their persons, the lady can remain "coy" or virginal with impunity, and they will extend through "World enough" in lines 3 through 7:

   We would sit down, and think which way
   To walk, and pass our long Loves Day.
   Thou by the Indian Ganges side
   Should'st Rubies find: I by the Tide
   Of Humber would complain.

"and Time" in lines 7 through 10:

      ... I would
   Love you ten years before the Flood:
   And you should if you please refuse
   Till the Conversion of the Jews.

That last event was thought to be one of the signals of the end of "Time," Doomsday, and the beginning of eternity. In this first section, the specific lines whose reading is most clearly affected by my premise of procreation are 11-12: "My vegetable Love should grow / Vaster then Empires, and more slow." The "vegetable" soul of human beings, which we share with plants, lies below our animal, rational, and spiritual souls. According to Cleanth Brooks, and many others, its qualities are growth and propagation. (12) I believe that Marvell's contemporary readers would notice that, in the postulated world without death, the lovers do not propagate as they should, but "grow" forever, in a sort of inappropriate vegetative monstrosity: "Vaster then Empires." This excessiveness may also be reflected in the blazon of lines 13-20 in which Marvell's speaker, like Shakespeare's, would immortalize both the exterior and interior beauties of the beloved, whose immortality is "deserve [d]" because of her exquisiteness. (13) Although he does not mention procreation, William J. Galperin correctly notes that "the speaker's belligerence in this first section stems ... from an erotic instinct seeking to preserve and perpetuate." (14)

The "if-then" postulate of the opening section is contradicted savagely by the famous bleakness of the second section's "But," and "World enough, and Time" become "Desarts of vast Eternity" (24) in the face of the undeniable extinction of the non-procreative individual:

      But at my back I alwaies hear
   Times winged Charriot hurrying near:
   And yonder all before us lye
   Desarts of vast Eternity.
   Thy Beauty shall no more be found;
   Nor, in thy marble Vault, shall sound
   My ecchoing Song: then Worms shall try
   That long preserv'd Virginity:
   And your quaint Honour turn to dust;
   And into ashes all my Lust.
   The Grave's a fine and private place,
   But none I think do there embrace.

Just as "vegetable Love" "Vaster then Empires" is inappropriate in its non-reproductive excessiveness, so are "Desarts of vast Eternity" inappropriate in their non-reproductive barrenness. (15) If the desire of the speaker is solely for sexual delight, lines 25-27 are no persuasion at all. Without reproduction, whether or not they achieve such delight they will lose at death both her "Beauty" and his "ecchoing Song," a male creative impulse embodying the female subject in preservable form. Recollection of Shakespeare's sonnets impresses us with the significance of this failure of the art of poetry and song to immortalize. It leaves us with Shakespeare's only other possibility: begetting children. Although the physical delights of sexual relations involve nerve endings throughout the bodies, the emphasis here is entirely on the destruction of the generative organs: "that long preserv'd Virginity," "your quaint Honour," "my Lust." The words "quaint" and "honour" refer to the female sexual organs, and their linkage with "dust" suggests that, through its parallel linkage with "ashes," "Lust" may well refer to the male sexual organs. The point is not just that the grave ends the possibility of pleasure in embracing, but that it ends the possibility of embracing as a means to the much more important preservation of self through posterity. Although we normally take line 31's "fine" in its modern adjectival sense of "excellent" because of the following parallel with "private" and the later implied contrast of the "But" clause, "The Grave's a fine" makes perfect early modern sense with the word's first two definitions as a substantive in the OED: "Cessation, termination," and "End of life, decease, death."

If we accept the generative premise behind "To his Coy Mistress," the images of the third section, those cryptic, discontinuous, incomplete images, become lucid, continuous, and complete. Its opening couplets, which have attracted most commentary for the textual argument over "hew," "dew," "glue," and "lew" as rhyme words, spell out an important concern of fertility. "Now therefore, while the youthful hew / Sits on thy skin like morning dew" (33-34) clearly suggests the moistness of the woman; "And while thy willing Soul transpires / At every pore with instant Fires" (35-36) just as clearly suggests her warmth. The conjunction of appropriate moistness and warmth is essential to female fertility, as specified by the pseudo-Aristotle in Book 10 of The History of Animals: "The humidity ... shows that the uterus is in a fit state to receive what is given it" and "the body becomes heated. In all that are in this state, the uterus is in a healthy condition for childbearing." (16) So these lines suggest that the exterior reflects the interior, and that the coy mistress is "Now" perfectly suited for procreation.

But what of that "willing Soul"? Several commentators suggest that the woman is persuaded by the harsh second section of the poem and is now eager to embark upon the hedonistic delights of sexual pleasure. (17) But there is not another word in the poem to support such a conclusion. And, if she is acquiescent, then why does the speaker continue with the rough and painful images of the last lines? Another reading is suggested by the classical treatise on the nature of the soul most influential in the early modern age. What does the soul will? What does it desire? According to Aristotle, all souls first desire reproduction: "to make another thing like themselves ... so that in the way that they can they may partake in the eternal and the divine. For all creatures desire this and for the sake of this do whatever they do in accordance with their nature." (18) So the persistent coyness of the mistress is in opposition to the inherent desire of her soul for procreation, which is revealed in her body's assuming and manifesting the warmth of fertility.

The last ten lines of "To his Coy Mistress" have been the most difficult for earlier commentators. Though they disagree strongly over many points of interpretation, there is a general agreement on the shape of this passage. "Now let us sport us while we may" (37) is an invitation to the delights of sexual play. "And now, like am'rous birds of prey, / Rather at once our Time devour, / Than languish in his slow-chapt pow'r" (38-40) says "let us have sexual relations, and shorten our lives in so doing," recalling the belief that each sexual act shortened a life span by a day. "Let us roll all our Strength, and all / Our sweetness, up into one Ball" (41-42) says "let us have sexual relations." "And tear our Pleasures with rough strife, / Thorough the Iron gates of Life" (43-44) says "let us have sexual relations." "Thus, though we cannot make our Sun / Stand still, yet we will make him run" (45-46) says "though we cannot extend our lives, yet we can shorten them in sexual relations." Note that there is much repetition here and not much forward movement of ideas.

But if these lines describe procreation, they assume a very different shape. I agree with these readings of lines 37-40, with the addition that procreation "devours," eats up, uses time in a positive way as well as the negative way of shortening the procreative individual's life through the sexual act. More telling is the next couplet: "Let us roll all our Strength, and all / Our sweetness, up into one Ball." Margarita Stocker notes that "Literally, in sexual union they combine masculine `strength' with feminine `sweetness.'" (19) I do not deny that these lines may suggest the union of bodies, though the critics' explanations of copulating lovers as a ball are more ingenious than persuasive, but I believe that they are much more clearly involved with procreation than with pleasure. It was believed that conception occurred with the conjoining of the male and female seed or "sparme," strength and sweetness. "So that eche of them worketh in other," according to Thomas Vicary's A Profitable Treatise of the Anatomie of Mans Body, "by the way of the mans seede and the womans seede mixte together ... there is ingendred Embreon." (20) The duality made unity is well figured in the sphere which, itself, figures various stages of gestation. Pare tells us that the new embryo, "this concretion or congealing of the seede, is like unto an egge." (21) Next, according to early modern treatises, within the womb "for the child's body the resting position, the `spherical or oval situation,' was the best preparation for adult life." (22) The fetal position is a ball, as is the pregnant womb in early modern anatomical drawings showing the stages of development. (23) And, of course, the exterior of the pregnant woman's abdomen takes this shape, as Marvell notes, accumulating images of roundness in "Eyes and Tears" (p. 16):

   Not full sailes hasting loaden home,
   Nor the chast Ladies pregnant Womb,
   Nor Cynthia Teeming show's so fair,
   As two Eyes swoln with weeping are.

The sphere is, of course, as M. C. Bradbrook has noted "the commonest symbol of Eternity," (24) and is thus a perfect figure of the speaker's desire for immortality through procreation.

The ball-enclosing womb is the second container of mortality in the poem, contrasting with the central section's tomb, its frequent companion in rhyme throughout the early modern period. As the tomb contains decay, so the womb contains growth, its opposite. As Joseph J. Moldenhauer has pointed out, the very term "Vault" not only denotes a grave but connotes female sexual organs as "one or another of certain concave structures or surfaces normally facing downward" (OED). (25) Insofar as is possible, the pregnant womb is the worldly antidote of the tomb.

So, in lines 43 and 44, "our Pleasures" becomes the full-term baby to be torn "with rough strife, / Thorough the Iron gates of Life." Even allowing for defloration, the image of that couplet seems unsuitable for copulation. It is a singular straight movement of transit, rather than a succession of entrances and exits, through the "gates of Life." Throughout early modern treatises, the process of birth is seen as a "strife," often involving "tearing." Indeed, referring to such treatises, Gelis begins the chapter on "Birth" in his History of Childbirth with these words: "Nine months of close dependency culminate in a brief but intense physical encounter, the labour and birth. Two partners suddenly become rivals in a `war' of which the outcome is doubtful. Birth is an experience of `unequalled combat.'" (26) At least two types of "tearing" may be involved in childbirth. If the mother's own strength is insufficient completely to effect the birth, the midwife must "seize the child and drag it" through the birth canal. (27) And, of course, the mother herself may suffer, according to Eucharius Rosslin, "injury/ tearing/ and rupture of the womb/ or various veins in the womb." (28) So the procreative premise makes clear the referents of "strife" and "tear," and makes just as clear the site of this battle, the pelvic girdle, "the iron gates of Life." Earlier commentators on that phrase either look away from the body to such things as "the Iron Gate, which separates the upper from the lower Danube," (29) or, following their pleasure premise, they do not look deep enough into the body and so conclude the gates are the labia. (30) Traditionally, the birth process is depicted as a movement through a door or gate, as Gelis notes: "Since Antiquity, medical orthodoxy, under the influence of Hippocrates and Galen, had insisted that it was the child ... which came `knocking at the door' asking `Dame Nature to open to him.' The midwife was the `porteress,' helping the door to open from the outside of the mother's womb, if necessary." (31) The appropriateness of the pelvic girdle as gate of life is self-evident, but why are Marvell's "gates" plural, and how is "Iron" an adjective suitable for them? Into the seventeenth century the belief persisted in some quarters that the bones constituting the pelvic girdle separated one from another in the birth process to allow the mother an easier delivery. Pare noted that the child "commeth into the world [by the] separation of the bone called Os Ilium from the bone called Os Sacrum, For unlesse those bones were drawne in sunder, how could [a childe] come forth at so narrow a passage.... Not only reason, but also experience confirmeth it; for I have opened the bodies of women presently after they have died of travell in childe-birth, in whom I have found the bones of Ilium to bee drawne the breadth of ones finger from Os Sacrum: and moreover, in many unto whom I have been called in great extremity of difficult and hard travell, I have not onely heard, but also felt the bones to crackle and make a noise, when I laid my hand upon the coccyx or rumpe, by the violence of the distension. Also honest matrons have declared unto me that they themselves, a few daies before the birth, have felt and heard the noise of those bones separating themselves one from another with great paine." (32) I believe the plurality of allegedly separable bones constituting the pelvic girdle is reflected in the plural "gates." As we know, and as Marvell and his contemporaries in the latter half of the seventeenth century knew, (33) these bones do not separate during childbirth. The gates have become "Iron," unyielding, staunch: the sense in which Marvell uses that word in "Last Instructions to a Painter" (p. 147) in describing "Iron Strangeways" (279). So the couplet "And tear our Pleasures with rough strife, / Thorough the Iron gates of Life" makes perfect sense as description of a birth.

My argument for a persuasion of procreation obviously locates a pun in that last couplet: "Thus, though we cannot make our Sun / Stand still, yet we will make him run" (45-46). As a heavenly body, the "Sun" is interpreted in Biblical terms by almost all commentators, for example: "The final couplet ... recommends that the lover should not imitate Joshua's sun, which stood still, but David's, which came forth like a bridgroom to run his race." (34) Neither of these suns seems to have much to do with the preceding lines if those lines describe the pleasures of sexual activity. There is, however, one sun which stands still which would be as well known to Marvell's contemporaries as those of Joshua and David, and which fits in perfectly through the pun with the persuasion through procreation. Zeus stopped the sun to lie with Alcmene, not primarily for sexual pleasure, but to produce his son Heracles. According to Diodorus Siculus, "when Zeus lay with Alcmene he made the night three times its normal length and by the magnitude of the time expended on the procreation he presaged the exceptional might of the child which would be begotten. And, in general, he did not effect this union from the desire of love, as he did in the case of other women, but rather only for the sake of procreation." (35) Here is the ground of comparison. Like Zeus and Alcmene, Marvell's speaker and coy mistress can procreate, even if they cannot stop time as can the father of the gods. Indeed, applying the idea that each act of intercourse shortens life by a day, the speaker adds to the procreative comparison the contrast of stopping the sun versus making it run faster than normal. Paradoxically, the lovers extend themselves through time by shortening their life spans. Turning to the other referent of the pun, son as male child, we find only comparison. Neither set of parents can immobilize its boy. Heracles ran famously, perhaps most notably in his pursuit and capture of the golden-horned Cerynitian deer, (36) and the son of Marvell's speaker and his mistress will also run, moving through the world during time. The specification of a male rather than a female child, while sexist, is desirable both for traditional social reasons, and also for one alleged biological reason. According to Rosslin, "a boy is much easier to deliver than a girl," (37) and thus causes, presumably, less "strife" and "tearing."

In conclusion, this new reading of Andrew Marvell's "To his Coy Mistress" does not obviate an argument that the mistress should yield "that long preserv'd Virginity" because sexual activity will be delightful. After all, she is called to "sport" and, in my reading, the baby in her womb is described as "our Pleasures." But the persuasion from procreation does make logically coherent sense out of the postulation, contradiction, resolution which structure the poem's three movements, and it does provide an organic unity of interpretation for all the poem's images. Through copulation Marvell's lovers gain pleasure; through procreation they gain "World enough, and Time."

University of Alabama


(1) A good survey of the many interpretations of this poem is found in French Fogle's article, "Marvell's `Tough Reasonableness' and the Coy Mistress," in Kenneth Friedenreich, ed., Tricentenary Essays in Honor of Andrew Marvell (Hamden, Connecticut: Archon, 1977), 135-6.

(2) Derek Hirst and Steven Zwicker, "Andrew Marvell and the Toils of Patriarchy: Fatherhood, Longing, and the Body Politic," ELH 66 (1999): 640.

(3) The Poems & Letters of Andrew Marvell, ed. H. M. Margoliouth, 2nd ed., 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952), 1:26. All further citations of Marvell are from this edition.

(4) William Shakespeare, "Sonnet 1," Shakespeare's Sonnets, ed. Stephen Booth (Yale U. Press, 1977), 5.

(5) In The Workes of That Famous Chirurgian Ambrose Parey, trans. Thomas Johnson (London, 1634), 885. Pare's argument is, in part, derived from Aristotle, as we shall see shortly.

(6) The Family, Sex, and Marriage in England 1500-1800 (New York: Harper, 1977), 262.

(7) Generation, 886.

(8) History of Childbirth: Fertility, Pregnancy and Birth in Early Modern Europe, trans. Rosemary Morris (Cambridge: Polity, 1991), 188.

(9) Alicia Ostriker, "Anne Sexton and the Seduction of the Audience" in Sexton: Selected Criticism, ed. Diana Hume George (U. of Illinois Press, 1988), 3.

(10) "Textual Harassment of Marvell's Coy Mistress: The Institutionalization of Masculine Criticism," College English 50 (1988): 417.

(11) Andrew Marvell Revisited (New York: Twayne, 1996), 91.

(12) "Andrew Marvell: Puritan Austerity with Classical Grace," in Poetic Traditions of the English Renaissance, ed. Maynard Mack and George deF. Lord (Yale U. Press, 1982), 219-28. This is intimately tied to the primary desire or "will" of the soul according to Aristotle, which will be discussed shortly.

(13) As has several times been noted, the exaggerated terms of the speaker's praise are traditional. "The hyperbole derives from the old blazon or catalogue of a mistress's beauties, and is anticipated by Cowley in `My Diet,' The Mistress (1647), stanza 3:

   On a sigh of pity I a year can live,
   One tear will keep me twenty at least,
   Fifty a gentle look will give,
   A hundred years on one kind word I'll feast:
   A thousand more will added be,
   If you an inclination have for me;
   And all beyond is vast eternity."

Frank Kermode and Keith Walker, "Notes," Andrew Marvell, ed. Kermode and Walker (Oxford U. Press, 1990), 288. Of course, the argument Cowley pursues in "My Diet" is not at all like that pursued by Marvell. For his readers, Marvell's "vast Eternity" (24) refers not to Cowley primarily, but to "Vaster then Empires" (12), as I shall discuss shortly.

(14) "Marvell and the Death Instinct: `The Iron Gates of Life,'" in Psychoanalytic Approaches to Literature and Film, ed. Maurice Charney and Joseph Reppen (Fairleigh Dickinson U. Press, 1987), 258.

(15) Jules Brody notes a somewhat similar relation of these phrases as he limns "the vicissitudes of the word vast, whose recurrence in `Deserts of vast eternity' effectively inverts `vegetable love' growing `Vaster than empires, and more slow.' The robust lushness of metaphorical vegetation has been leveled and withered by the devastations of fleeting time." "The Resurrection of the Body: A New Reading of Marvell's `To His Coy Mistress,'" ELH 56 (1989): 62.

(16) Aristotle, History of Animals, trans. Richard Cresswell (London: Bell, 1907), 284, 282. Although it is now generally believed that the tenth book was not written by Aristotle, he was certainly considered the author of all this highly popular and influential work throughout the early modern period, whose commentators, such as Laurent Joubert, emphasize this idea: the ideal womb is "well complexioned, of a good heat and not excessively moist." Erreurs Populaires et Propos Vulgaires Touchant la Medecine et le Regime de Sainte (Bordeaux, 1579), 364 cited by Gelis, 59. Interestingly, Tertullian, in talking of intercourse, associates moistness with the body ("skin") and heat with the soul in the same way as does Marvell: "This natural union of the sexes, therefore, which brings man and woman together in common intercourse, is performed by both soul and body[,] ... the body suplying fluidity, the soul, warmth." "On the Soul" in Apologetical Works and Minucius Felix Octavius, trans. Edwin A. Quain, S.J. (New York: Fathers of the Church, 1950), 244. Oddly, in discussing the appropriate moistness of the fertile womb, Johnson's translation of Pare uses the words "glew" and "dew" only a sentence apart. If the womb is too dry it "will chap and chinke this way and that way, and on the contrary, with moisture it will close and joyne together againe as it were with glew." After an intervening sentence we find that "the menstruall matter falling at first like dew into the womb is very meet and fit to nourish the seed." Generation, 933. Gelis provides a fine discussion of the relevant medical background, as do Audrey Eccles, Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Tudor and Stuart England (Kent State U. Press, 1982) and Thomas Laquer, Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (Harvard U. Press, 1990).

(17) Donald M. Friedman contends that "her portrait is given only in images that convey her readiness and her eagerness for love." Marvell's Pastoral Art (U. of California Press, 1970), 185. Kermode and Walker contend that "despite her professed coyness, her amorous spirit shows in her flushed face; it breathes through every pore" (289).

(18) De Anima, trans. Hugh Lawson-Tancred (Hammondsworth: Penguin, 1986), 165. Aristotle admits, of course, that the mortal individual will not achieve immortality: "Now the living creature cannot have a share in the eternal and the divine by continuity, since none of the mortal things admits of persistence as numerically one and the same, but in the way that each creature can participate in this, in that way it does have a share in it, some more some less, and persists not as itself but as something like itself, not numerically one, but one in species" (165).

(19) Apocalyptic Marvell: The Second Coming in Seventeenth-Century Poetry (Brighton: Harvester, 1986), 226.

(20) (London, 1577), M3v. Pare notes that conception depends on this conjunction of seeds taking place within a womb properly warm and moist: "Generation or conception cannot follow without the concourse of two seeds, well and perfectly wrought in the very same moment of time, not without a laudable disposition of the womb both in temperature and complexion." Generation, 887.

(21) Generation, 891.

(22) J. Duval, Des Hermaphrodits, Accouchemens des Femmes et Traitement qui est Requis pour les Relever en Sante, et bien ... Elever leurs Enfants (Rouen, 1612) cited by Gelis, 51.

(23) Perhaps the most easily accessible of many examples are the drawings in J. Rueff, The Expert Midwife (1637) which are included as Plate 4 in Eccles.

(24) Andrew Marvell (Cambridge U. Press, 1961), 44.

(25) "The Voices of Seduction in `To His Coy Mistress,'" TSLL 10 (1968): 200-1.

(26) 141. Gelis does not identify the specific sources of the words "wars" and "unequalled combat."

(27) Gelis, 160.

(28) The Rose Garden. for Pregnant Women and Midwives, trans. Wendy Arons (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 1994), 71. Rosslin's work was published in English translation in 1540.

(29) Kermode and Walker, 289.

(30) Dennis Davison, "Notes on Marvell's `To his Coy Mistress,'" N&Q; 203 (1958): 521.

(31) 141. Again, Gelis omits sources of internal citations.

(32) Generation, 899-900.

(33) The English Midwife (London, 1682), cited by Howard W. Haggard, Devils, Drugs, and Doctors: The Story of the Science of Healing from Medicine-Man to Doctor (New York: Harper, 1929), 55-58.

(34) Kermode and Walker, 289.

(35) The Library of History, trans. C. H. Oldfather, 10 vols., The Loeb Classical Library (Harvard U. Press, 1935), 2: 369.

(36) Diodorus Siculus, 385, and Gods and Heroes of the Greeks: The Library of Apollodorus, trans. Michael Simpson (U. of Massachusetts Press, 1976), 93.

(37) Rose Garden, 47.