Andrew Marvell, the Critical Heritage

By Elizabeth Story Donno | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Marvell was a dark-complexioned man, with an expressive countenance, silent and reserved among strangers, but lively and facetious in the company of his intimates. His early poems express a fondness for the charms of rural nature, and much delicacy of sentiment; they are ingenious and full of fancy, after the manner of Cowley and his contemporaries.


William Wordsworth’s sonnet

c. 1802

Political events in the early years of the nineteenth century stimulated Wordsworth (1770-1850) to many expressions of patriotic fervor. In 1802 he copied the ‘Horatian Ode’ into his notebook W and composed some of his political sonnets as well. The one printed below, while commenting on the current scene, looks back with admiration to seventeenth-century Republican leaders and writers. Three years later he was to suggest to Sir Walter Scott, at work on an edition of Dryden, that he might ‘peep with advantage’ into Marvell’s poems, adding, somewhat disingenuously, ‘which I have not seen these many many years’ (Early Letters of William and Dorothy Wordsworth, ed. Selincourt, 1935, p. 541).

From Poems, 2 vols, 1807, I, Sonnet XV (c. 1802)

Great Men have been among us; hands that penn’d
And tongues that utter’d wisdom; better none:
The later Sydney, Marvel, Harrington,
Young Vane, and others who call’d Milton Friend.1

1 Algernon Sidney (1622-83) was beheaded for supposed complicity in the Rye House Plot; James Harrington (1611-77), author of Oceana, was imprisoned after the Restoration; Sir Henry Vane (1612-92) was a Puritan statesman; ‘and others’ included Cyriac Skinner, according to a manuscript note.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Andrew Marvell, the Critical Heritage
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 386

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?