Andrew Marvell, the Critical Heritage

By Elizabeth Story Donno | Go to book overview

head of the world, and gave a name to the temple (Capitolium from caput) which was being reared (Livy, i. 55).

If the poem which has just gone before [Vaughan’s ‘Retreat’] contains, at least in part, the undeveloped germ of Wordsworth’s greatest Ode, this exquisite poem [‘On a Drop of Dew’] has also some prophecy of the same. Here too, as there, the poet dwells with a thankful gladness on those recollections of former heights which prompt the soul to an earnest effort to make those heights its own once more.


71.

John Ormsby’s essay from the Cornhill Magazine

1869

This long and judicious essay appeared anonymously, though a later editor (Leonard Huxley) was to identify the author as John Ormsby (see Pierre Legouis, Andrew Marvell, 1965, p. 478). A specialist in Spanish literature, Ormsby (1829-95) is best known for his translation of Le Cid (1879).

Extract from the Cornhill Magazine, 20 (July 1869), pp. 21, 25-40.

When Marvell’s name occurs in any work on English literature or any collection of old English poetry, the mention is generally followed by the remark that as a poet he has not received full justice. In his lifetime he does not appear to have ranked as a poet at all, but that was because he himself laid no claim to the rank. The only productions of his in verse that appeared in print during his life were three or four commendatory pieces prefixed to works of friends after the friendly fashion of the time, and some political

-220-

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