Andrew Marvell, the Critical Heritage

By Elizabeth Story Donno | Go to book overview
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volumes, like the prose works of Milton’s, will one day attract the attention which, as part of the standard literature and history of our country, they so justly merit; and that day is not very far distant.

In our preceding article we gave a brief biographical memoir of Marvell, the Roman virtues of whose public and private character were alike distinguished; and it was one of his great maxims, that a man dishonest in private life would not honestly serve his country as a public servant.

The following imitation, by Marvell, from Seneca, (Traged. ex Thyeste, Chor. 2, ) is highly characteristic of his own mind and private virtues: [quoted. ]


Ralph Waldo Emerson’s comments

1828, 1875

Lecturer and man of letters, Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82) is best remembered for his transcendental philosophy.

(a) Extract from his Journal (1828), reprinted from the Journals, ed. E. W. Emerson and W. Emerson Forbes (Boston-New York, 1909), II, pp. 253-4.

Is it not true, what we so reluctantly hear, that men are but the mouthpiece of a great progressive Destiny, in as much as regards literature? I had rather asked, is not the age gone by of the great splendour of English poetry, and will it not be impossible for any age soon to vie with the pervading etherial poesy of Herbert, Shakespeare, Marvell, Herrick, Milton, Ben Jonson; at least to represent anything like their peculiar form of ravishing verse? It is the head of human poetry. Homer and Virgil and Dante and Tasso and Byron and Wordsworth have powerful genius whose amplest claims I cheerfully acknowledge. But ’t is a pale ineffectual


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