Andrew Marvell, the Critical Heritage

By Elizabeth Story Donno | Go to book overview

and moral worth. It is this which attracts, and will continue to attract the admiration of posterity, more than anything which he actually accomplished by means of his particular endowments. His steadfast and inflexible abidance by an individual uprightness and sincerity, when all the rewards and enticements of life thronged round him like syren shapes to beguile him into apostasy, is a grand and striking spectacle, the rarity and the beauty whereof will never fail to command the earnest homage of mankind. Admiring men have called him the ‘British Aristides’ [see No. 33], and certainly no other man connected with our history can be mentioned who has more honestly deserved the honor thus attributed.


62.

Mary Russell Mitford, from Recollections of a Literary Life

1852

Minor literary writer and perennial gossip, Mary Russell Mitford (1787-1855) compiled her Recollections of a Literary Life in 1852. Despite its misleading title, the work is an anthology dressed with comments. She includes Bermudas, ‘The Garden, ‘The Nymph’ with omissions, and excerpts from the ‘Horatian Ode’.

Extract from the chapter entitled ‘Old Poets, reprinted from the six-volume extra-illustrated edition, III, pp. 251-2.

As a poet, he is little known, except to the professed and unwearied reader of old folios. And yet his poems possess many of the finest elements of popularity: a rich profusion of fancy which almost dazzles the mind as bright colours dazzle the eye; an earnestness and heartiness which do not always, do not often belong to these

-203-

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