A long-time member of the English department at Yale University, Edward B. Reed (1872-1940) published his English Lyrical Poetry in 1912, prompted, he said, because there was at the time no such history.
Extract from English Lyrical Poetry (New York, 1967 reprint) pp. 273-8.
The poet who stands nearest Herrick in his love of nature—at times he surpasses him—is Andrew Marvell (1621-1678). He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, travelled on the continent, and in 1650 was taken by Lord Fairfax to his Yorkshire estate, to be the tutor of his daughter. Here, in the retirement of the country, Marvell composed his finest poems Upon Appleton House, the Horatian Ode, The Garden, On a Drop of Dew, and in all probability, The Nymph Complaining for the Death of her Fawn. Fairfax delighted in poetry, but could not write it, though he made many attempts. Undoubtedly he encouraged Marvell, but the young tutor’s lyric period was a brief one. As Milton’s colleague in the Latin secretaryship, and later, as member of Parliament from Hull, he became absorbed in politics; in place of nature poems, he wrote verse satires, brutally frank, or pamphlets full of vigorous, ironical prose. English history gained a patriot at a time when honesty and courage seemed forgotten virtues; the English lyric is the poorer since it possesses not the achievement, but the promise of Andrew Marvell.
If Herrick avoided Donne’s influence, Marvell shows it most plainly. He never mentions Donne’s name; he does not imitate any one poem, or even lift any phrase, but the spirit of Donne is in many a line. At times he can be as fantastic as any of the metaphysical poets:
Tears (watery shot that pierce the mind, )
And sighs (Love’s cannon filled with wind;)
[‘Appleton House, ’ ll. 715-16]
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Publication information: Book title: Andrew Marvell, the Critical Heritage. Contributors: Elizabeth Story Donno - Editor. Publisher: Routledge. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1995. Page number: 319.
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