Academic critic and father of the noted Marvell scholar, Emile Legouis (1861-1937) is best remembered for an influential history of English literature written in collaboration with Louis Cazamian. In his lectures on Marvell’s poetry given at the Sorbonne, he praises ‘On the Death of O. C. ’ as the best of the major poems on Cromwell.
Extract from a resumé (in French) made by René Pruvost, Revue des cours et conférences (Paris, 1912), p. 229.
[The First Anniversary] is not, however, the best piece inspired by Cromwell. The poem on the death of Cromwell: On the Death of his late Highness the lord Protector, 1658, has a more sure development. It is not only beautiful in its parts, like the preceding, but in its totality. First and foremost, it is filled with emotion. It seems that Marvell had moved from a respect for Cromwell, from an admiration a little distant, to a more tender feeling. In the meantime he has drawn nearer to Cromwell, and the poem says it. It is an elegy which addresses itself rather to the man than to the Protector. It exalts his familiar virtues, his affection, and his goodness.