Andrew Marvell, the Critical Heritage

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


John Clare, from a letter to H. F. Cary


Successively a shepherd, pot-boy, gardener, vagrant, and, ultimately, a madman, John Clare (1793-1864) enjoyed a few short years as a poet of some esteem.

Having successfully pawned off a composition of his own in 1825 as a poem of Marvell’s, he admitted both the fabrication and his rationale in a letter to H. F. Cary, the translator of Dante.

Extract from The Letters of John Clare, ed. J. W. and A. Tibble (1951), pp. 223-5.

Helpstone Jany 1829


…I write to beg your opinion of the enclosed Poem as one of those I intended to pass off as the writings of others—this I sent to the Everyday book1 as the production of Andrew Marvel, & the Editor took it for granted that it was so & paid me a compliment in praising it which he would not have done had it passed under my own name & as I still have thoughts of going on with the deception I have sent it to request your opinion of it. I know nothing of the writing of the old Poets further then the ‘Specimens of Ellis’ & the ‘Songs of Ritson’2 but the idea of their manner is all I want to be acquainted with—I had read that Marvel was a great advocate for liberty & as death is a great leveller I thought it would add to the disguise to father upon him that subject. I have written several others for Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Henry Wooton &c &c; the old manner is all that I attempt with sprinkling a few old words [h]ere

1 Edited by William Hone, 1825.

2 The first edition (1790) of Specimens of the Early English Poets, edited by George Ellis, did not, in fact, include any Marvell; the second (1801) included two poems, both abridged: ‘Daphnis and Chloe’ and ‘Young Love. Joseph Ritson’s Ancient Songs (1792) and Ancient Songs and Ballads (1829) also did not include any Marvell, though ‘The Nymph’ is one he did include in his three-volume English Anthology (1793-4).


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?