Andrew Marvell, the Critical Heritage

By Elizabeth Story Donno | Go to book overview
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Bishop Parker on the Growth of Popery and the ‘First Anniversary’

c. 1687

Many years after their flyting, Bishop Parker was still rankled by Marvell’s attack. In commenting in general on the author of the Growth of Popery in his De rebus sui temporis commentariorum (pub. 1727), he also makes clear that Marvell was acknowledged as the author of the ‘First Anniversary, which had appeared anonymously in January 1655.

Extract from Bishop Parker’s History of His Own Time, translated by Thomas Newlin (1727), pp. 332-7.

Amongst these lewd Revilers, the lewdest was one whose name was Marvel. As he had liv’d in all manner of wickedness from his youth, so being of a singular impudence and petulancy of nature, he exercised the province of a Satyrist, for the use of the Faction, being not so much a Satyrist thro’ quickness of wit, as sowerness of temper; of but indifferent parts, except it were in the talent of railing and malignity. Being abandon’d by his father, and expell’d the University, he afterwards made his conscience more cheap than he had formerly made his reputation. A vagabond, ragged, hungry Poetaster, being beaten at every tavern, he daily receiv’d the rewards of his sawciness in kicks and blows. At length, by the interest of Milton, to whom he was somewhat agreeable for his ill-natur’d wit, he was made Under-secretary to Cromwell’s Secretary. Pleas’d with which honour, he publish’d a congratulatory poem in praise of the Tyrant; but when he had a long time labour’d to squeeze out a panegyrick, he brought forth a satyr upon all rightful Kings; saying that Cromwell was the sun, but other Monarchs were slow bodies, slower than Saturn in their revolutions, and darting more hurtful rays upon the earth. That if each of their reigns were to be continued to the Platonick age, yet no King would ever do any good to the world: That it was the


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