a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


The news


Andrew Marvell's To His Coy Mistress
Diana Athill Writer
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

'Had we but world enough and time,/This coyness, lady, were no crime./We could sit down…' No, I can't, really. I mean, I could a little while ago. 'But at my back I always hear/Time's winged chariot drawing near;/And yonder, all before of us lie/Deserts of vast eternity./…/The grave's a fine and private place,/But none, I think, do there embrace'. It's a wonderful poem. I love it. And I loved The Garden one, too. 'Stumbling on melons.'

[Q] Is To His Coy Mistress, is it an argument that would succeed with a… a reluctant girl, do you think?

Oh yes. I mean, I hardly needed urging. I'd quite decided while I was at school that I was going to be seduced as soon as possible. I did the minimum amount of work and went to about three lectures and decided, 'Oh well, why bother to go to their lectures when one can read their books?' And then never did read their books.

Diana Athill (1917-2019) was a British literary editor whose publishing career began when she helped André Deutsch establish his company. She worked with many notable writers, namely Philip Roth, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean Rhys and VS Naipaul. Following the publication of her memoirs, she came to be hailed as an author in her own right.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is a London-based television producer and director who has made a number of documentary films for BBC TV, Channel 4 and PBS.

Tags: To His Coy Mistress, The Garden, Andrew Marvell

Duration: 1 minute, 11 seconds

Date story recorded: January 2008

Date story went live: 23 December 2008