Marvell, Andrew (1621-1678) (DNB00)

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MARVELL, ANDREW (1621–1678), poet and satirist, son of Andrew Marvell the elder [q. v.], was born on 31 March 1621 at Winestead in Holderness, Yorkshire, and was educated under his father at the grammar school of Hull. He matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge, 14 Dec. 1633, as a sizar. A tradition, first recorded in Cooke's 'Life of Marvell' in 1726, states that shortly after entering the university he fell under the influence of some Jesuits, and was persuaded by them to leave Cambridge for London. His father discovered him in a book-seller's shop, and prevailed with him to return to the college (Cooke, Works of Andrew Marvell, ed. 1772, i. 5). He contributed two copies of verses to 'Musa Cantabrigiensis' in 1637, and on 13 April 1638 was admitted a scholar of Trinity College. He graduated B. A. in the same year, and the college records show that he left Cambridge before September 1641 (Grosart, Complete Works of Andrew Marvell, 1872, vol. i. pp. xxvii, xxxiii).

The next ten years of Marvell's life are extremely obscure. He spent four years abroad, probably 1642 to 1646, travelled in Holland, France, Italy, and Spain, and met and satirised Richard Flecknoe [q. v.] at Home. Two poems published in 1649, the one prefixed to the poems of Richard Lovelace [q. v.], the other in the collection on the death of Lord Hastings, afford evidence of his return to England. The lines to Lovelace, together with the stanzas on the execution of the king in the ' Horatian Ode,' and the satire on the death of Thomas May [q. v.], have been taken to prove that Marvell's early sympathies were with the royalist cause. They really show that he judged the civil war as a spectator rather than a partisan, and felt that literature was above parties.

Marvell first came into contact with the heads of the Commonwealth when Lord Fairfax engaged him as tutor to his daughter Mary, probably in 1650 or 1651. He lived for some time in Fairfax's house at Nun Appleton in Yorkshire, where he addressed to Fairfax his lines, 'Upon the Hill and Grove at Bilborow' and 'Upon Appleton House.' The poems on gardens and in praise of country life, and the translation from Seneca, in which the poet desires to pass his life 'in calm leisure' and 'far off the public stage,' belong to this period. By 1653 the delights of retirement had begun to pall, and Marvell sought for a post in the service of the Commonwealth. He had now become an ardent republican, and in his 'Character of Holland ' describes the new state as 'darling of heaven and of men the care.'

On 21 Feb. 1653 Milton, who was by this time totally blind, recommended Marvell's appointment as his assistant in the secretaryship for foreign tongues. He described him to Bradshaw, the president of the council of state, as 'a man, both by report and by the converse I have had with him, of singular desert for the state to make use of who also offers himself if there be any employment for him. … He hath spent four years abroad in Holland, France, Italy, and Spain, to very good purpose, as I believe, and the gaining of these four languages; besides, he is a scholar and well read in the Latin and Greek authors, and no doubt of an approved conversation, for he comes now lately out of the house of the Lord Fairfax, where he was entrusted to give some instruction in the languages to the lady his daughter. If, upon the death of Mr. Weckherlin, the Council shall think I need any assistance in the performance of my place … it would be hard for them to find a man so fit every way for that purpose as this gentleman' (Grosart, vol. i. p. xxxvii; Masson, Life of Milton, iv. 478; Hamilton, Milton Papers, p. 22). In spite, however, of this recommendation, Philip Meadows [q. v.] was appointed (October 1653). Meanwhile Marvell in a private capacity became connected with Cromwell, being chosen as tutor to Cromwell's ward, William Hut ton. With Dutton Marvell went to reside at Eton, in the house of John Oxenbridge, one of the fellows of the college. On 28 July 1653 he wrote thence to Cromwell, describing the character of his pupil, and thanking Cromwell for placing them both in so godly a family (Grosart, ii. 3; Masson, iv. 618; Nickolls, Papers and Letters addressed to Oliver Cromwell, 1743, p. 98). Oxenbridge, when his puritanism had lost him his English preferments, had been a minister in the Bermudas, and his experiences doubtless suggested Marvell's poem on those islands. In his epitaph on Mrs. Oxenbridge he celebrates the fidelity with which she had followed her husband 'ad incertam Bermudse insulam' (Grosart, ii . 6). At Eton Marvell learnt to know John Hales [q. v.] 'I account it no small honour,' he wrote in the 'Rehearsal Transprosed,' 'to have grown up into some part of his acquaintance, and conversed awhile with the living remains of one of the clearest heads and best prepared breasts in Christendom' (ib. iii. 126). He kept up also his acquaintance with Milton, who sent him in 1654 a copy of his 'Defensio Secunda,' which Marvell praised for its ' Roman eloquence,' and compared to Trajan's column as a monument of Milton's many learned victories (ib. ii. 11; Masson, iv. 620). In 1657, probably about September, Marvell was at last appointed Milton's colleague in the Latin secretaryship, at a salary of 200l. a year. In the summer of 1658 he was employed in the reception of the Dutch ambassador and of the agent of the elector of Brandenburg (Thurloe, vii. 298, 373, 487; Masson, v. 374). He continued to act under the governments of Richard Cromwell and the restored Long parliament, and was voted lodgings in Whitenall by the council of state (ib. v. 624; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1659-60, p. 27).

Though Waller's 'Panegyric' gained more contemporary fame, Marvell is the poet of Cromwell and the Protectorate. In the summer of 1650 he had written the 'Horatian Ode upon Cromwell's Return from Ireland,' first published in 1776. In 1653 he composed the Latin verses to be sent with Cromwell's portrait to Christina of Sweden. In 1655 he published, though anonymously, his poem on 'The First Anniversary of the Government under his Highness the Lord Protector,' which breathes unbounded admiration for Cromwell and complete confidence in his government. In November 1657 he celebrated the marriage of Mary Cromwell and Lord Fauconberg in two pastoral songs, in which the bride and bridegroom appear as Cynthia and Endymion,and the Protector as 'Jove himself,' Another poem written in the same year, describing Blake's victory at Santa Cruz, is throughout addressed to the Protector, and was probably presented to him by the poet himself. This series of Cromwellian poems closes with the elegy, 'Upon the Death of his late Highness the Lord Protector,' which of all the poems on that subject is the only one distinguished by an accent of sincerity and personal affection. Marvell gave Richard Cromwell the same unwavering support. 'A Cromwell,' he observes in the elegy, 'in an hour a prince will grow,' As member for Hull in Richard Cromwell's parliament he voted throughout with the government against the republican opposition. 'They have much the odds in speaking,' says one of his letters, 'but it is to be hoped our justice, our affection, and our number, which is at least two-thirds, will wear them out at the long run' (Aitken, Marvell's Poems, i. xxix).

At the Restoration, however, as Marvell's political poems were, with one exception, unpublished, his devotion to Cromwell and his house did not stand in his way. He was again elected member for Hull in April 1660, and for a third time in April 1661. Marvell owed his elections partly to his connection with various local families, and partly to his own efficiency as a representative of local interests. Hull kept up the old custom of paying its members, and the records of the corporation show that Marvell and his colleague, Colonel Anthony Gilby, regularly received their fee of 6s. 8d. per day 'for knights' pence, being their fee as burgesses of parliament 'as long as the sessions lasted (Grosart, ii. xxxv). Marvell, on his part, vigilantly guarded the interests of his constituents, and regularly informed the corporation of the progress of public affairs and of all private or public legislation in which they were concerned. A series of about three hundred letters of this nature is preserved among the Hull records, and has been printed by Dr. Grosart (Marvell, Works, vol. ii.)

Twice during the early part of the reign of Charles II Marvell was for some time absent from his parliamentary duties. In 1663 he was in Holland on business of his own; but though John, lord Belasyse [q. v.], the high steward of Hull, urged that a new member should be elected in his place, the corporation simply sent him 'a courteous and prudent' letter of recall (ib. ii. 86). In July 1663, by leave of parliament and his constituents, Marvell accompanied Charles Howard, first earl of Carlisle, in his embassy to Russia, Sweden, and Denmark in the capacity of secretary. He did not return till January 1665, though the mission was originally intended to take only one year (ib. ii. 93–7, i. xlviii). An account of the mission, containing Latin letters and speeches composed by Marvell, was printed in 1669, 'A Relation of three Embassies from his Sacred Majesty Charles II to the great Duke of Muscovy, &c, performed by the Earl of Carlisle in the Years 1663 and 16&4,' 8vo [by Guy Miège]; reprinted in Harris's 'Collection of Voyages,' 1705, vol. ii.; copious extracts are given by Grosart (ii. 100–82). In 1671 Marvell again contemplated absenting himself from parliament. 'I think it will be my lot,' he writes, 'to go on an honest fair employment to Ireland,' but the plan came to nothing (ib. ii. 392).

As a member of parliament Marvell rarely intervened in debate, and as late as 1677 concludes a speech with the apology that he was not used to speak there, and consequently expressed himself with abruptness (Grey, Debates, 1763, iv. 324). He had some influence, however, and Edward Philips attributes Milton's impunity at the Restoration largely to Marvell, who in the House of Commons acted vigorously in his behalf and made a considerable party for him (Letters of State, by Mr. John Milton, to which is added an Account of his Life, 1694, p. xxxviii). On 17 Dec. 1660 he complained to the house of the exorbitant fees which the serjeant-at-arms had exacted of Milton, and succeeded in getting the question referred to a committee (Old Parliamentary History, xxiii. 54). In 1667 Marvell spoke twice during the discussions on Clarendon's impeachment, and also made a violent attack on Arlington (Grey, i. 14, 36, 70; cf. Bebington, Arlington's letters to Sir W. Temple, 1701, p. 226). His most important speech, however, was one delivered upon the second reading of the Bill for Securing the Protestant Religion, on 27 March 1677, in which he opposed the bill on the ground of the exorbitant power which it would give to the bishops if a catholic prince ascended the throne (Grey, iv. 321; cf. Grosart, iv. 338-53). The anger of the supporters of the bill is the best testimony to the effectiveness of this speech. Two days later, on the pretext that Marvell had struck another member and disputed the Authority of the speaker, it was moved that he should be sent to the Tower, but there proved to be so little foundation for the charge that the motion was dropped (Grey, iv. 328).

Marvell's political influence was due more to his writings than to his action in parliament, and the value of his parliamentary position consisted in the unequalled opportunities it gave him for observing contemporary politics. His letters to his constituents Are, as a rule, simply a colourless record of facts, but in a few to private friends he speaks out. He notes the king's continual demands for money and his squanderings of the public treasure. One of his happiest pieces of prose satire is a sham speech of Charles II on the state, of his finances (Grosart, ii. 431). In one letter he complains that all promotions, spiritual and temporal, pass under the cognisance of the Duchess of Cleveland; in another, that those ministers are most in favour who, like Lauderdale, deserved a halter rather than a garter. Abroad, he says, 'we truckle to France in all things to the prejudice of our honour;' at home 'the Court is at the highest pitch of want and luxury, and the people full of discontent. Never had any poor people so many complicated mortal incurable and dangerous diseases' (ib. pp. 314, 390, 392, 395).

Parliament, which should have cured these ills, had become the subservient tool of the government. ' In such a conjuncture,' writes Marvell in 1670, ' what probability is there of my doing anything to the purpose ? ' He came to despair of effecting anything by parliamentary action. ' We are all venal cowards except some few,' The old 'country party,' which he had celebrated in his ' Last Instructions to a Painter ' (11. 240-306), was now broken up, and the ranks of the ' constant courtiers' had been so swelled by ' apostate patriots ' that it ' was a mercy they give not away the whole land and liberty of England' (Grosart, ii. 317, 320, 394).

Wrath at the degradation of his country and at the seeming hopelessness of the struggle explains the bitterness of Marvell's satires. Any weapon seemed legitimate, and every scandal was pressed into his verses. The satires show the development of his political opinions. In 1667 he attacked Clarendon and the court party, and hoped that with a change of ministers all would jet go well again. By 1674 he had discovered that the secret of the misgovernment of England was the king's character: 'for one man's weakness a whole nation bleeds.' In 1672 he held that Charles, with all his faults, was preferable to his bigoted brother, but in 1675 he had come to the conclusion that things would never be better till the reign of the house of Stuart was ended. Instead of constitutional monarchy he preached republicanism, and held up the republics of Rome and Venice as patterns to England.

Satires so outspoken were necessarily printed in secret or circulated in manuscript, but on one question Marvell found opportunity to appear more openly and reach a wider audience. The oppressive ecclesiastical policy of the government was notoriously the work of the ministers and the episcopal-cavalier party rather than the king, and it might be assailed with less danger and more prospect of success than civil tyranny. The most prominent champion of intolerance was Samuel Parker [q. v.], afterwards bishop of Oxford, who published in 1670 'A Discourse of Ecclesiastical Polity, wherein the Authority of the Civil Magistrate in matters of External Religion is asserted, the mischiefs and inconveniences of Toleration are represented, and all pretences pleaded in behalf of Liberty of Conscience fully answered.' This was followed by two other anti-non-conformist pamphlets, 'A Defence and Continuation of Ecclesiastical Polity,' 1671, and in 1672 by a preface to Bramhall's ' Vindication of himself and the Episcopal Clergy from the Presbyterian Charge of Popery.' Parker wrote, as Baxter complains, ' the most scornfully and rashly and profanely and cruelly against the nonconformists of any man that ever yet assaulted them.' Marvell undertook to answer Parker, and not to merely defend the principle of liberty of conscience, but, in Wood's phrase, ' to clip the wings ' of Parker for the future. With this intent he published in 1672 and 1673 the two parts of the 'Rehearsal Transprosed.' The title was suggested by the Duke of Buckingham's ' Rehearsal,' and Parker is throughout dubbed Mr. Bayes, on account of his supposed resemblance in character and style to the hero of Buckingham's play. In this, as in all Marvell's pamphlets, there are occasional passages of grave and vigorous eloquence, out in dealing with Parker he 'relied more on ridicule.' This pen-combat between our author and Marvell,' says Wood, 'was briskly managed, with as much smart cutting and satirical wit on both sides as any other perhaps of late hath been, they endeavouring by all the methods imaginable, and the utmost forces they could by any means rally up, to blacken each other's cause and to set each other out in the most ugly dress : their pieces in the meanwhile, wherein was represented a perfect trial of each other's skill and parts in a jerking, flirting way of writing, entertaining the reader with a great variety of sport and mirth, in seeing two such right cocks of the game so keenly engaging with sharp and dangerous weapons,' The buffoonery which had been so effective a weapon against solid divines like Baxter and Owen proved a weak defence against Marvell's wit, and all the laughers were on Marvell's side.

'From the king down to the tradesman,' adds Burnet, ' his books were read with great pleasure' (Wood, Athenæ Oxonienses, ed. Bliss, iv. 231 : Burnet, Own Time, ed. 1836, p. 478). Marvell had handled the difference between the royal policy and the clerical policy with such discretion that Charles himself intervened on his behalf when the licenser wished to suppress the second edition of the first part ot the 'Rehearsal Transprosed.' 'Look you, Mr. l'Estrange,' said Lord Anglesey, 'I have spoken to his Majesty about it, and the King says he will not have it suppressed, for Parker has done him wrong, and this man has done him right ' (Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. p. 618; cf. art, I/Estrange, Sir Roger), to some extent Marvell's object in writing was attained. Parker was effectually humbled. He made no attempt to answer the second part of the 'Rehearsal Transprosed,' and confined himself to posthumously libelling Marvell (Btshop Parker, History of his own Time, translated by Newlin, p. 332). Burnet goes so far as to say that Parker's party was humbled too.

Encouraged by his success, Marvell made two more essays in ecclesiastical controversy. In 1676 he defended Herbert Croft, bishop of Hereford, against some 'animadversions' on his pamphlet, 'The Naked Truth,' which had been published by Dr. Francis Turner, master of St. John's College, Cambridge. Turner was ridiculed much as Parker had been, and compared to Mr. Smirke the chaplain in Sir George Etheregea play ' The Man of Mode.' Croft wrote to thank Marvell for the 'humane civility and Christian chanty' with which he had taken up his cause against the 'snarling curs' who had assailed him (Grosart, ii. 488-91). In April 1678 Marvell took part in a controversy about predestination between John Howe and Thomas Danson [q.v.], but he was hardly qualified to treat a purely theological question. Much more effective than either of these two pamphlets was the 'Account of the Growth of Popery and Arbitrary Government in England, which was published towards the end of 1677. It dealt with the history of the reign from the long prorogation of November 1675, and undertook to prove that there had been for many years

  • a design carried on to change the lawful

government of England into an absolute tyranny, and to convert the established protestant religion into downright popery,' Written in a plainer and more forcible style than Marvell's earlier pamphlets, and with all the boldness and directness of his satires, it produced an immediate sensation. The government offered a reward of 100/. in the 4 Gazette ' for the discovery of the author, and greater sums were privately promised. Marvell was suspected, but makes a jest of the suspicions in one of his letters. ' Three or four printed books,' he writes, 'have described — as near as it was proper to go, the man being a Member of Parliament — Mr. Marvell to have been the author ; but if he had, surely he would not have escaped being questioned in Parliament or some other place' (ib. ii. 631). Legal punishment, however, was not the only danger an obnoxious writer had to fear. Marvell's life had been threatened during his controversy with Parker. In a private letter (quoted by Cooke) he mentions ' the insuperable hatred of his foes to him, and their designs of murdering him,' and uses these words : ' Praeterea magis occidere metuo quam occidi ; non quod vitam tanti a?stimem,sed ne imparatus moriar' (Marvell, Works, ed. Cooke T 1772, i. 13). Hence his sudden death, on 18 Aug. 1678, at once gave rise to the rumour that he was poisoned. A contemporary poem on his death concludes with the lines : —

Whether Fate or Art untwined his thread
Remains in doubt. Fame's tasting register
Shall leave his name enrolled as great as theirs
Who in Philippi for their country tell.

('On his Excellent Friend, Mr. Andrew Marvell,' attributed to Shefheld, duke of Buckingham, Poems on Affairs of State, i. 123, ed. 1702). The suspicion, however, was groundless. Dr. Richard Morton (1635?-1698) [q. v.], in his ' Pyretologia,' published in 1602, describes Marvell as dying of a tertian fever, ' through the ignorance of an old conceited doctor.' An ounce of Peruvian bark would have saved him, but instead of that he was given an opiate, and copiously bled (Grosart, vol. ii. p. xliv). He was buried in London in the church of St. Giles-in-the-Fields, ' under the pews in the south side' (Aubrey, Letters from the Bodleian, ii. 438). The corporation of Hull voted 50l. out of the town chest for his funeral and gravestone, but the opposition of the incumbent is said to have prevented the erection of the monument. The epitaph intended to have been engraved on it is given by Cooke (Maetell, ed. 1772, i. 35; cf. Grosart, vol. ii. p. xlvii). A monument with a slightly altered version of the epitaph was erected by Marveil's grandnephew, Robert Nettleton, upon the north end of the church in 1764 (Thompson, Marvell, iii. 482, 491-3).

Marvell's earliest biographers, Cooke and Thompson, both assert that he was never married, and that the Mary Marvell who claimed to be his widow, and published his poems, was simply the woman with whom he lodged. On tue other hand, the ' Administration Book of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury' shows that administration of his goods was granted to his relict, Mary Marvell, and to a creditor, John Green, on 19 March 1679, and it is to be presumed that she gave proof of her marriage. He left no children (Grosart, vol. i. p. Iii ; Cooke, p. 34; Thompson, iii. 489; Wills from Doctors' Commons, Camd. Soc, p. 161).

An engraved portrait of Marvell is prefixed to the first edition of his poems (1681), and aversion of the same, reduced, serves as a frontispiece to Cooke's edition. In 1760 Thomas Hollis bought a portrait of Marvell in oils which had been in the possession of Ralph Thoresby. An engraving of this by Cipriani is given in the 'Life of Hollis.' by T. B. Hollis, p. 97 ; and it was also engraved by James Basire for Thompson's edition of Marvell's i Works.' This portrait represents Marvell in the forty-first year of his age, i.e. in 1G61-2. Another portrait of Marvell was given to the British Museum in 1764 by Ins grandnephew, Robert Nettleton (Thompson, iii. 493). This portrait is now in the National Portrait Gallery. An engraving of it is prefixed to Mr. Aitken's edition of Marvell, 1892. Dr. Grosart's edition (1872) contains a portrait by Adrian Hannemann, now in the possession of John Rhodes, esq., of Leeds.

Aubrey describes Marvell's person and habits thus : ' He was of a middling stature, pretty strong-set, roundish-faced, cherry-cheeked, hazel eye, brown hair. He was in his conversation very modest and of very few words. Though he loved wine, he would never drink hard in company, and was wont to say " that he would not play the good fellow in any man's company in whose hands he would not trust his life." He kept bottles of wine at his lodging, and many times he would drink liberally by himself to refresh his spirits and exalt his muse ' {Letters from the Bodleian, ii. 437). The story of Lord-treasurer Danby's visit to Marvell's lodgings and Marvell's indignant refusal of the offers made to him appears first in Cooke's ' Life' in 1726, and is much embellished by later biographers. According to Cooke, Marvell ' having one night been entertained by the King, who had often been delighted in his company, his Majestv the next day sent the Lord Treasurer Danby to find out his lodging.' Danby found Marvell writing 'up two pair of stairs in a little court in the Strand,' and announced ' that he came with a message from his Majesty, which was to know what he could do to serve him,' His answer was, ' in his usual facetious manner, that it was not in His Majesty's power to serve him.' Danby then definitely offered him a place at court. Marvell refused, saying 'that he could not accept with honour, for he must be either ungrateful to the King in voting against him, or false to his country in giving in to the measures of the court ; therefore the only favour he begged of his Majesty was that he would esteem him as dutiful a subject as any he had, and more in his proper interest in refusing his offers than if he had embraced them.' Then the lord treasurer, finding argument useless, told him that the king ' had ordered a thousand pounds for him, which he hoped he would receive till he could think what further to ask of his Majesty.' But this last offer ' was refused with the same steadfastness of mind as was the first, though as soon as the Lord Treasurer was gone he was forced to send to a friend to borrow a guinea ' (Cooke, Marvell, i. 11-13). In Thompson's version of the story Marvell in Danby's presence Culls for his servant and says to him, ' Pray, what had I for dinner yesterday ?' 'A shoulder of mutton.' 'And what do you allow me to-day ? ' 'The remainder hashed.' Then Marvell, turning to Danby, adds : 'And to-morrow, my lord, I shall have the sweet blade-bone broiled;' and Danby, seeing it useless to tempt a man of such Spartan habits, retires abashed (Thompson, Marvell, iii. 493). Dove gives a variation of Thompson's story, said to be derived ' from a pamphlet printed in Ireland a.d. 1754' (Life of Marvell, 1832. p. 36}. Cooke's story may be true, but the later auditions are obvious fictions, and the accounts of Marvell's personal encounter with Parker and of his supposed intimacy with Prince Rupert seem to be equally baseless (Thompson, iii. 475 ; Cooke, i. 10).

Of Marvell's relations with contemporary writers a few particulars can be collected. Aubrey states that James Harrington, the author of 'Oceana,' was his intimate friend, and adds that Marvell 'made a good epitaph for him, but it would have given offence' (Letters from the Bodleian, ii. 376, 438). The same authority classes Marvell with Cyriae Skinner and Dr. Paget as Milton's 'familiar learned acquaintance.' Rumour credited Milton with a share in the composition of the 'Rehearsal Transprosed,' and he was consequently attacked with great virulence by Parker and Parker's allies. In reply Marvell vindicated Milton from the charge, describing him as a man 'of great learning and sharpness of wit,' and incidentally observing that he had first met Parker under Milton s roof. In 1674 he contributed to the second edition of 'Paradise Lost' prefatory lines of unstinted appreciation, hailing Milton as ' mighty poet,' and praising the vastness of his design, the ease and gravity of his style, and the verse created, like his theme, sublime (Masson, Life of Milton, vi. 704; Grosart, i. 146, Hi. 498). With this eulogium on 'Paradise Lost' was coupled a scornful rebuke to Dry den for his attempt to convert it into a rhyming opera, which Dryden subsequently replied to by comparing Marvell to Martin Marprelate, 'the first presbyterian scribbler who sanctified libels and scurrility to the use of the good old cause' (Preface to Religio Laici). Marvell praised Butler for his excellent wit, saying, 'Whoever dislikes his choice of subject cannot but commend his performance,' though Aubrey records the criticism that Rochester was 'the only man in England who had the true vein of satire' (Grosart, iii. 35, 494).

Marvell's literary work is remarkable for its variety. In his own age his reputation rested mainly on his pamphlets, which have ceased to be read since the controversies which gave rise to them have been forgotten. Yet Swift, himself to some extent Marvell's pupil, refers to him as a great genius, and says, 'We still read Marvell's answer to Parker with pleasure, though the book it answers be sunk long ago' (Swift, Works, ed. Scott, 1824, x. 22). To the generation which immediately succeeded Marvell he seems to have been best known as a political satirist; and the number of pieces ascribed to him in 'Poems on State Affairs' and similar collections is evidence of his celebrity. But the satires, like the pamphlets, are essentially of temporary interest, and are mainly of historical value. They are full of allusions unintelligible without a commentary, and so personal that they frequently become mere lampoons. The vice he attacks loses none of its grossness in his verses. Moreover, his lines are hasty and rough-hewn, and in employing the heroic couplet Marvell is never completely master of his instrument. Yet despite these defects there is much both in his satires and pamphlets which still amuses; a gift of humorous exaggeration which suggests Sydney Smith, and an irony which occasionally recalls Swift (cf. Leigh Hunt, Wit and Humour, ed. 1876, pp. 34, 218).

As a poet, Marvell essentially belongs to the pre-Restoration period. The fanciful ingenuity of his early love poems reveals the influence of Cowley and Donne. Afterwards he learnt, as he himself expresses it, to 'read in Nature's mystic book,' and his poems on country life show a keen love of natural beauty. 'All his serious poetry,' says Lamb, 'is full of a witty delicacy,' and sometimes he abandons conceits to rise to the highest strains of passion and imagination. Marvell's greatest achievement is the 'Horatian Ode' to Cromwell, first printed in 1776. 'It worthily presents the figures and events of the great tragedy as they would impress themselves on the mind of an ideal spectator, at once feeling and dispassionate. Better than anything else in our language, this poem gives an idea of a grand Horatian measure, as well as of the diction and spirit of an Horatian ode' (Mr. Goldwin Smith in Ward, English Poets, ii. 383).

Poems.—Very few of Marvell's poems were published in his lifetime. Those few are: Two poems to King Charles I, in 'Musa Cantabrigiensis,' 1637; poems upon the death of Lord Hastings, in 'Lacryuue Musarum,' 1649; poems prefixed to Lovelace s 'Poems,' 1649, to Robert Witties translation of Dr. James Primerose's ' Popular Errors,' 1661, and to the second edition of 'Paradise Lost,' 1674. 'The first Anniversary of the government under his Highness the Lord Protector' was printed in 16T>5, 4to. 'The Character of Holland' appeared in a mutilated version in 1665 and 1672 (cf. Harleian Miscellany, ed. Park, v. 613). Of the satires, Clarendon's House-Warming' was published in 1667, and the 'Dialogue between two Horses' in 1675. The satires generally were collected in 'Poems on Affairs of State,' 3 parts, 4to, 1689, and 4 vols, 8vo, 1703-7. The best bibliography of the poetry is contained in Aitken's ' Marvell,' vol. L p. lxviii.

Prose Works.—

  1. 'The Rehearsal Transpros'd, or Animadversions upon a late book intituled "A Preface showing what Grounds there are of Fears and Jealousies of Popery," ' 8vo, 1672.
  2. 'The Rehearsal Transprosed: the second part. Occasioned by two Letters, the first printed by a nameless Author, intituled "A Reproof," &c. The second Letter left for me at a friend's house, dated Nov. 3, 1673, subscribed J. G., and concluding with these words: "If thou darest to print or publish any Lie or Libel against Doctor Parker, by the Eternal God I will cut thy Throat." Answered by Andrew Marvell,' 1673, 12mo. Parker answered the first part of the 'Rehearsal Transprosed' in 'A Reproof to the Rehearsal Transprosed in a Discourse to its Author. By the Author of the Ecclesiastical Polity,' 8vo, 1673 (a dull volume of 528 pages). Other answers are the following: (1) 'Rosemary and Bayes, or Animadversions upon a Treatise called "The Rehearsal Transprosed, by Henry Stubbe."' (2) 'The Transproser Rehearsed, or the Fifth Act of Mr. Bayes' Play,' Oxford, 1673, 8vo, by Richard Leigh of Queen's College, Oxford. (3) 'Gregory, Father Greybeard, with his Vizard off,' 1673, 8vo, by Edmund Hickeringill. (4) 'A Commonplace Book out of the "Rehearsal Transprosed," digested under these several heads,' &c, 1673, 8vo. (5) 'S'too him Bayes, or some Animadversions upon the humour of writing "Rehearsals Transprosed,"' Oxford, 1673, 8vo. An account of the controversy, with extracts from these pamphlets, is given in Masson's 'Life of Milton,' vi. 699-708, and in Isaac D'Israeli's 'Quarrels of Authors.
  3. 'Mr. Smirke, or the Divine in Mode, being certain Annotations upon the "Animadversions on the Naked Truth." Together with a Short Historical Essay, concerning General Councils, Creeds, and Impositions in matters of Religion. By Andreas Rivetus, Junior,' 1676, 4to. A defence of Herbert Croft [q. v.], bishop of Hereford, against the criticisms of Dr. Francis Turner, master of St. John's College, Cambridge (cf. Wood, Athenæ, iv. 546). The 'Essay concerning General Councils ' was reprinted separately in 1680, 1687, and 1689.
  4. 'An Account of the Growth of Popery and arbitrary Government in England, more particularly from the Long Prorogation of Parliament of November 1675, ending the 15th of Feb. 1676, till the last Meeting of Parliament, the 16th of July, 1677,' folio, 1677. This is reprinted in ' State Tracts during the Reign of King Charles 11,' folio, 1693, i. 69. It was answered by Sir Roger L'Estrange in ' An Account of the Growth of Knavery under the pretended fears of arbitrary Government and Popery,' 4to, 1678. L'Estrange plainly hints that Marvell was the author of the tract he was answering (pp. 6, 27, 34). Its authorship was also attributed to him by Dry den in 1682, in the 'Epistle to the Whigs ' prefixed to ' The Medal.' A proclamation was issued offering a reward of 50l. for the discovery of the printer or publisher, and 100l. for that of the author (London Gazette, 21-5 March 1678).
  5. 'Remarks upon a late disingenuous Discourse, writ by one T. D., under the pretence De Causa Dei and of answering Mr. John Howe's " Letter … of God's Prescience." By a Protestant,' 1678, 8vo.

The following works are attributed to Marvell on insufficient evidence:

  1. 'A Seasonable Argument to persuade all the Grand Juries in England to petition for a new Parliament,' 4to, 1677; also printed in 1827, 8vo, by Sir Harris Nicolas, from a manuscript in the British Museum, under the title of 'Flagellum Parliamentarium; being sarcastic Notices of nearly 200 Members of the first Parliament after the Restoration.'
  2. 'A Seasonable Question and a useful Answer, contained in an exchange of a Letter between a Parliament Man in Cornwall and a Bencher of the Temple,' 1676.
  3. 'A Letter from a Parliament Man to his Friend concerning the Proceedings of the House of Commons in the last Session, begun the 13th of October, 1675' (State Tracts printed in the Reign of Charles II, 1693, folio, ii. 53).
  4. A translation of Suetonius, 8vo, 1672, assigned to Marvell in a contemporary hand in the Bodleian copy.
  5. A speech supposed to be spoken by Lord-chancellor Shaftesbury (Miscellaneous Works of George, Duke of Buckingham, 1705, 8vo, vol. ii.)

The collected editions of Marvell's writings are the following:

  1. 'Miscellaneous Poems, by Andrew Marvell, Esq., late Member of the Honourable House of Commons,' 1681, folio (from ' exact copies, under his own handwriting, found since his death among his other papers ' by his widow).
  2. 'The Works of Andrew Marvell, Esq.,' edited by Thomas Cooke, 2 vols. 12mo, 1726; reprinted by T. Davies in 1772.
  3. Bowyer in 1767 projected publishing an edition of Marvell to be edited by Richard Baron, at the suggestion of Thomas Hollis, but the design fell through (Nichols, Literary Anecdotes, ii. 449). Hollis gave some assistance to Captain Edward Thompson, who published in 1776 an edition of Marvell's works in 3 vols. 4to, printing for the first time his letters to the corporation of Hull, and collecting his prose pamphlets.
  4. Dr. Grosart's edition forms part of the 'Fuller "Worthies Library,' and was printed for subscribers between 1872 and 1875, in three forms, 4to, 8vo, and 12mo. This contains, like Thompson's, the poems, prose works, and letters, but is more complete and is annotated throughout.
  5. An American edition of Marvell's poems was published at Boston in 1857, and reprinted in England in 1870 (in Alexander Murray's reprints) and in 1881.
  6. 'Poems and Satires,' edited by G. A. Aitken, 3 vol. 8vo, 1892. This edition contains the best notes on the poems and an index of persons named in the satires.

[The earliest lives of Marvell are those contained in Wood's Athenæ Oxonienses, ed. Bliss, iv. 232, and in Aubrey's notes for Wood's use; Letters written by Eminent Persons and Lives of Eminent Men, by John Aubre;, from the original in the Bodleian Library. 1813, ii. 437. The Life by Cooke, prefixed to his edition of Murell in 1726, is the original sonrce of many stories respecting Marvell ; and the Lives in the editions of Thompson. Grosart, and Aitken add supplementary facts. Marvell's letters, printed in the editions of Thompson and Grosart, contain much valuable information. Two letters are printed in the Catalogue of Autographs, in the possession of Mr. Alfred Morrison, iv, 161. The Life by Dove (1832) is a careful working up of all the materials then accessible, and is practically identical with the biography which passes under the name of Hartley Coleridge. A list of critical and biographical articles on Marvell is given by Mr. Aitkeo, vol. i. p. lxxiii.]

C. H. F.