Andrew Marvell, the Critical Heritage

By Elizabeth Story Donno | Go to book overview

19.

An anonymous tribute On his Excellent Friend

post 1678

This poem, consistently misdated 1677, was first published in Poems of Affairs of State, 1697, and ushers in the homage to Marvell as a patriot of renown. The single work alluded to (ll. 7-8) is the Account of the Growth of Popery.

From Poems of Affairs of State, pp. 131-2.

On his Excellent Friend Mr. Anth. Marvell

While lazy Prelates lean’d their Mitred-Heads
On downy Pillows, lull’d with Wealth and Pride,
(Pretending Prophesie, yet naught foresee. )
Marvell, this Islands watchful Centinel
Stood in the gap, and bravely kept his Post,
When Courtiers too in Wine and Riot slept:
Twas he th’ approach of Rome did first explore,
And the grim Monster, Arbitrary Power.
The ugliest Giant ever trod the Earth,
Who like Goliah marcht before the Host: 10
Truth, Wit and Eloquence, his Constant Friends,
With swift dispatch he to the Main-Guard sends,
Th’ Alarm strait their Courage did Excite,
Which check’d the Haughty Foes bold Enterprize,
And left them halting between Hope and Fear;
He like the Sacred Hebrew Leader stood.
The Peoples surest Guide, and Prophet too.
Athens may boast of Virtuous Socrates,
The Chief among the Greeks for Moral good.
Rome of her Orator, whose fam’d Harangues, 20
Foyl’d the Debauch’d Antony’s designs.
We him, and with deep Sorrows ’wail his loss;

-81-

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