Andrew Marvell, the Critical Heritage

By Elizabeth Story Donno | Go to book overview
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instant at any time of a mans Life may make him Wiser. And his Adversary hath, like all other fruits his annual Maturity. Though there is one sort of Fruit trees above all the rest, that beats with its fruit, a signal Hieroglyphick of our Author; and that’s a Medlar: A Fruit more remarkable for its annual maturity, because the same also is an annual rottenness.

As for his wonderful Gift in Rhyming, I could furnish him with many more of the Isms and Nesses [I, pp. 83, 86], but that I should distast a Blank Verse Friend of his, who can by no means endure a Rhyme any where but in the middle of a Verse, therein following the laudable custom of the Welsh Poets. And therefore I shall only point at some of the Nesses, the more eminent, because of the peoples Coinage; and of a Stamp as unquestionable as the Breeches, and so far more legitimate then any that have past for currant since the People left off to mind words (another Flower of their Crown which they fought for, besides Religion and Liberty) they are these, One-ness, Same-ness, Much-ness, Nothing-ness, Soul-saving-ness; to which we may add another of our Authors own, Pick-thank-ness; in which word (to keep our Rhyme) there is a peculiar Marvelousness.


Samuel Parker’s first response


Having served as a chaplain to Archbishop Sheldon, Samuel Parker (1640-88) was appointed to the archdeaconry of Canterbury in 1670 and ultimately to the bishopric of Oxford (1686). Pricked by the satiric barbs of RT I, he was quick to answer in virulent fashion, and by May 1673 Marvell had seen some three hundred of its more than five hundred pages and described it as ‘the rudest book…that ever was publisht (I may say), since the first invention of printing’ (Letters, p. 328).


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