In 1892 the editor and biographer George A. Aitken (1860-1917) published a two-volume edition of the poems and satires in the Muses’ Library Series (reprinted 1901). His critical comments in the Introduction were, as the reviewer laconically observes, ‘not of much account. ’
Extract from the Athenaeum, No. 3384 (3 September, 1892), pp. 313-14.
Never was reputation worse served by the accident of a particular friendship than Andrew Marvell’s. His fame is both distorted and overshadowed by Milton’s. The association of the two men in the Latin secretaryship has induced careless or partisan critics to assume an identity, or at least a similarity, in their political opinions, and thus entirely to misread the motive of Marvell’s civic action. Edward Phillips’s statement as to Milton’s security after the Restoration ought to point to a very different conclusion. ‘Particularly in the House of Commons, ’ he says, ‘Mr. Andrew Marvell, a member for Hull, acted vigorously in his behalf and made a considerable party for him. ’ This exercise of influence would have been impossible to an upholder of the divine right of regicide and rebellion. On the other hand, the writer of an article in Macmillan’s Magazine [see No. 79], cited by Mr. Aitken—who accuses Marvell of inconsistency and an exceedingly base desertion of his party—cannot have sufficiently weighed this evidence, although there is some contemporary evidence to support his opinion. In ‘The D. of B. ’s Litany’ (‘Poems on Affairs of State, ’ ed. 1705, p. 408) the lines occur:—
From changing old friends for rascally new ones;
From taking Wildman and Marvel for true ones,
Libera nos, &c.