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The Complete Poems (Penguin Classics) Paperback – November 29, 2005
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About the Author
Andrew Marvell was born in 1621. The son of a clergyman, he was educated at Hull Grammar School and Trinity College, Cambridge. While at Cambridge, he converted to Catholicism for a brief period and moved to London, where he was found by his father and was persuaded to return to his studies. He left Cambridge in 1641 and spent much of the next ten years travelling abroad. In 1650 he became tutor to Lord Fairfax’s daughter Mary and lived in their house in Nun Appleton, Yorkshire. Most of his lyric poetry is thought to date from this period, including Upon Appleton House.
Marvell was an ardent Republican. He wrote several poems in honour of Cromwell, including An Horatian Ode upon Cromwell’s Return from Ireland (1650) and an elegy on his death. In 1653 he became tutor to William Dutton, Cromwell’s ward. In the same year he was recommended by Milton to be his assistant in the Latin Secretaryship to the Council of State, but was not appointed until four years later. He defended Milton after the Restoration and contributed a poem in praise of him to the second edition of Paradise Lost.
Although he is now most famous for his poetry, very few of his poems were published during his lifetime. He was MP for Hull from 1659 until his death and was renowned for his political pamphlets and satires. His most famous pamphlet, The Rehearsal Transposed, was an attack on Samuel Parker, Archdeacon of Canterbury; it was so controversial that his life was threatened, and when he died suddenly in August 1678 there were rumours that he had been poisoned – these proved to be groundless.
Elizabeth Story Donno edited numerous Elizabethan and Jacobean texts and taught at Columbia, among other places.
Jonathan Bate is King Alfred Professor of English literature and Leverhulme Research Professor at the University of Liverpool.
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Top Customer Reviews
Though the "mower poems" and To His Coy Mistress contain some of the most beautiful lines in all poetry, so much of Marvell's work consists of lengthy, politically themed poems that are usually centered on some event that was occurring during the poet's life. It's a real pity he did not write more of the shorter, lyrical poems that he excelled at. Two poems, "The Mower Against Gardens" and "The Garden" are among my favorites. One enumerates the many delights of having a garden; the other notes that gardens are not as beautiful as natural wildflower meadows where everything grows in delightful chaos, and admonishes gardeners for taking tropical plants and transplanting them in cold, alien environments. The handful of incomparable poems in this volume make it a collection worth having. And if you also enjoy the political poems, it's great having all the poems in one book.
in Seventeenth Century English Poetry, was published by the U MI doctorate mill. It's in one German library, at the University where Pope Benedict XVI once taught and administered. I cannot claim he ordered it, but...
Directing my thesis was the delightful Leonard Unger (U MN), who with his friend Saul Bellow once composed, over lunch, a translation of the first four lines of Eliot's Wasteland--into Yiddish. Leonard had an expansive mind, and broadened my studies of Marvell into comparative European literature-- since Marvell tutored languages to Lord General Fairfax's daughter. They lived near Hull at Appleton House, after Fairfax retired as head of Cromwell's army at age 33, because of his refusal to participate in the trial of Charles I; when Fairfax's name was read in Westminster Hall, a voice called out, "He has too much sense to be here." This caused a mini-riot; it was his wife's voice, Anne Vere's. The following day, someone tried the same thing, and was branded.
In his "Garden," Marvell writes perhaps the best lines in all lit on the human mind, especially in the midst of nature, "The Mind, that Ocean where each kind/ Does streight its own resemblance find,/ Yet it creates, transcending these,/ Far other Worlds, and other Seas,/ Annihilating all that's made/ To a green Thought, in a green Shade." His environmentalist lines in the same poem criticize Fond lovers' carving names in trees. "Fair trees! where s'eer your barkes I wound/ No names shall but your own be found." He puts this into practice in his Latin version of the same poem, "Hortus." He says he will carve "nullla Naera, or Chloe, but Plane tree and Elm, Plantanus ...Ulmus.
Marvell had a marvelous ear, so that even in his funny prose satirizing the bishops (whom, like Milton, he generally opposed) he writes with amusing alliteration, on Archbishop Parker's sexual peccadilloes, "The sympathy of silk brought tippet to petticoat, and petticoat to tippet."
My study emphasizes that all of Marvell's poems are criticism of other poems, in verse. Many of them critique the pastoral convention then so prevalent, like "Picture of Little T.C. in a Prospect of Flowers," and "The Garden." His most famous poem, "To his Coy Mistress," unprecedented and unreiterated in his canon, critiques Carpe Diem poems, including many sonnets. (Shakespeare's "My Mistress' Eyes" also critiques sonnet conventions, as do a a few of Sidney's sonnets.) In fact, English poets until Dryden usually included criticism of other poems--Donne, Jonson, Herbert, Herrick, Carew, Suckling, Cleveland. After Dryden, criticism became a prose landscape. Too bad. With this loss, poetry became famously non-analytical. But why? Many Renaissance poems discourse on natural philosophy, what we call "science." Cowley in English, Giordano Bruno in Latin. (My last two books are on G Bruno.)