As sexual metaphors pass in and out of the language, employed as euphemisms for private acts and as witticisms to spark conversation, what endures is the capacity for comparison. Some writers, like Wilmot and Jonson, become at times obsessed with sexual metaphor; more restrained poets, like Shakespeare, employ sexual metaphor to enhance rather than to overpower meaning. Marvell. a better than average poet, uses sexual metaphor discriminately, to enhance a theme, to swell a progress. Nowhere is this efficiency perhaps better displayed than in "Daphnis and Chloe," a neglected piece which Marvell set in the pastoral tradition. The piece narrates the frustrating finale of an assignation that appears to have been scheduled for the afternoon. We learn ultimately that Daphnis has been elsewhere for the previous night and has plans for tonight that do not involve Chloe, so we are faced essentially with the randy story of a young man willing and able to love three women in twenty-four hours. Between the two ladies of the evening, Phlogis and Dorinda (102, 103), there is Chloe, who is around when Daphnis, as he tells us, "rid to take the air" (104). She is a good girl torn by dilemma. She will not give Daphnis what he wants, yet she does not want him to leave: "But she neither knew t' enjoy, / Nor yet let her lover go" (7, 8). A true gallant, Daphnis helps her through the problem by raising his seige (20), unwittingly forcing her to impulsive generosity. She will give him a quick satisfaction: "Love in her language breathed / Words she never spoke before" (25, 26).



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