Andrew Marvell, the Critical Heritage

By Elizabeth Story Donno | Go to book overview

oppression; and many pleasing traits of amiability occur in his private correspondence, as well as in his writings. On the whole, we think that Marvell’s epitaph, strong as the terms of panegyric are, records little more than the truth; and that it was not in the vain spirit of boasting, but in the honest consciousness of virtue and integrity, that he himself concludes a letter to one of his correspondents in the words—

Disce, puer, virtutem ex me, verumque laborem;
Fortunam ex aliis.1


58.

George L. Craik’s observations on Marvell

1844-5

Devoting himself early on to the study of literature, George L. Craik (1798-1866) published under the auspices of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (see No. 56). In 1844-5, his six-volume Sketches of the History of Literature and Learning in England appeared. It was to be reprinted many times, with revisions, additions, and abridgments.

Extract from Sketches of the History of Literature and Learning (1844-5), IV, pp. 119-26.

The chief writer of verse on the popular side after the Restoration was Andrew Marvel, the noble-minded member for Hull, the friend of Milton, and, in that age of brilliant profligacy, renowned alike as the first of patriots and of wits. Marvel, the son of the Rev. Andrew Marvel, master of the grammar school of Hull, was born there in 1620, and died in 1678. His poetical genius has

1 From a letter to his nephew William Popple (Letters, pp. 313-16), dated 21 March 1670: ‘Learn, my boy, courage and true labour from me/Fortune from others’ (Aeneid XII, 435-6).

-186-

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