flowery fancies, but which when found in their company add to them inexpressible vitality and savour; and a frequent felicity of phrase, which when once read, fixes itself in the memory and will not be forgotten.
Mixed with these dazzling qualities is much carelessness and a prodigality of conceits which the stern Roundhead ought to have left with other frippery to his old enemies, the Cavaliers. But it was the vice of the age—all ages have their favourite literary sins—and we must not blame Marvell too severely for falling into an error to which the very exuberance of his nature rendered him peculiarly prone. His mind was a bright garden, such a garden as he has described so finely, and that a few gaudy weeds should mingle with the healthier plants does but serve to prove the fertility of the soil.
This anonymous notice first appeared in the Biographical Magazine (reprinted as Lives of the Illustrious, 1852-5, III, pp. 271-7). In focusing on Marvell’s life and career, the writer draws on the ‘Horatian Ode’ to interpret the character of the poet and the historical context. He then selects stanzas from ‘Eyes and Tears’ for comment on Marvell as poet.
Extract from the reprint in Eclectic Magazine, New York, 29 (May-August 1853), pp. 507-12.
It has been said that great men make great times. Invert the sentence and it is still true—great times make great men. Those who recognize the providential government of the world, note its workings in this, that a crisis brings the men fitted to meet it; close