Andrew Marvell, the Critical Heritage

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


H. J. Massingham on Marvell’s poetry


Motivated in part because it was the ‘most neglected’ period in English literature, the journalist and writer H. J. Massing-ham (1888-1952) published an anthology of seventeenth-century verse in 1919. He included in it eleven of Marvell’s poems, in whole or in excerpts, but, interestingly enough, he excluded ‘Bermudas’ because it was so well known. In 1921 he published an unsigned essay on Marvell which was then reprinted, with minor changes, in the Tercentenary Tributes. His autobiography Remembrance appeared in 1941.

(a) Note on ‘To His Coy Mistress’ from A Treasury of Seventeenth-Century English Verse (1919), pp. 354-5.

A perfect example of Marvell’s ‘witty delicacy. Being a beautiful composite of various emotions all playing into one another’s hands, it is more. Perfect gallantry, pathos, irony, reflective melancholy, reverence, buoyancy, passion, tact are all contained in a style of matchless purity and fitness. Wonderful too is the way the slight playful tone of the poem, like the plashing of a stream, expands into a river of full harmony!

My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow.

Marvell, like Vaughan, is unique. They both have a special and most precious note among our poets.

(b) Extract from ‘Andrew Marvell, Nation and Athenaeum, 2 April 1921, pp. 20-1.

Marvell, indeed, has had a topsy-turvy reputation. Up to quite modern times, men have honoured him as the political purist who opposed a vain and lonely integrity to the demoralization of affairs after the Restoration, who was almost the only honest MP


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?