Andrew Marvell, the Critical Heritage

By Elizabeth Story Donno | Go to book overview

flowers until ‘itself would rise’—the lying among the lilies ‘like a bank of lilies’—the loving to ‘fill itself with roses, ’

And its pure virgin limbs to fold
In whitest sheets of lilies cold,

and these things being its ‘chief’ delights—and then the preeminent beauty and naturalness of the concluding lines—whose very hyperbole only renders them more true to nature when we consider the innocence, the artlessness, the enthusiasm, the passionate grief, and more passionate admiration of the bereaved child—

Had it lived long, it would have been
Lilies without—roses within.


55.

Robert Chambers on Marvell

1835, 1844

Robert Chambers (1802-71), together with his brother William, compiled the History of the English Language and Literature (Edinburgh, 1835), which was described as the only history of English literature yet given to the world. It was to be twice reprinted in 1836, and again in the following year, this time in Hartford, Conn., with the addition of American authors, its editor conjecturing that there were more than two thousand eminent living writers and he knew not how many deceased.

Recognizing a change in public taste, in 1844 Chambers, together with his friend Robert Carruthers, then compiled his two-volume Cyclopaedia, this time including four poems of Marvell but only one—‘Bermudas’—in its entirety.

-165-

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