Andrew Marvell, the Critical Heritage

By Elizabeth Story Donno | Go to book overview

the more to be regretted, as it would have furnished many interesting anecdotes which are now buried in oblivion. It must, however, be remembered, that Marvell lived at a very critical period, and being prominently placed in office, and possessing considerable influence, during the Commonwealth; this may be a reason why we hear so little of him afterwards. Besides, he seems to have been, from the united testimony of his contemporaries, a man of retired habits, and reserved conversation, except amongst his most intimate friends, with whom he was lively, facetious, and instructive.

The following imitation, by Marvell, from SENECA, (Traged, ex Thyeste, Chorus 2. ) is highly characteristic of his own mind, and shows the absence of ambition, and love of retirement.

[Quotes; see No. 47. ]

As a Poet, MARVELL was certainly unequal, and some of his most beautiful passages are alloyed with vulgarism and common-place similes [see No. 47]. His early poems express a fondness for the charms of rural and pastoral scenes, with much delicacy of sentiment; and are full of fancy, after the manner of COWLEY and his contemporaries [see No. 39]. Marvell’s wit was debased, indeed, by the coarseness of the time, and his imagination by its conceits; but he had a true vein of poetry.


51.

Three anonymous reviews of Dove’s Life

1832, 1833

(a) Extract from the Eclectic Review, 8 (November, 1832), pp. 416-17, 420-5.

ANDREW MARVELL is a name that has come down to us associated with traditional veneration, as that of an incorruptible patriot, an accomplished scholar, a wit, polemic, and poet, the friend of

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