or virtue, but will accommodate himself to everything that may gratify either his covetousness or his ambition. He has writ many books; there is a liveliness in his style that is more entertaining than either grave or correct. He has raised the king’s authority in ecclesiastical matters and depressed it by turns, as he was pleased or displeased with the court; for though once he carried the king’s power to that height of impiety as to say in so many plain words that the form of naming the king in our prayers as under God and Christ our supreme governor in all causes was a cursed and a profane expression (since he said that though the king was indeed under God, yet he was not under Christ, but above him), yet, not being preferred as he expected, he has writ many books to raise the power of the church to an independence on the civil authority. His extravagant way of writing gave occasion to the wittiest books that have appeared in this age, for Mr. Marvell undertook him and treated him in ridicule in the severest but pleasantest manner possible, and by this one character one may judge how pleasant these books were; for the last king, that was not a great reader of books, read them over and over again.
The antiquarian Anthony a Wood (1632-95) takes occasion to notice Marvell only in conjunction with his articles on Parker and John Denham.
Extract from Athenae Oxonienses, ed P. Bliss (1813-20), IV, cols 230-2.