How to Read Andrew Marvell? Representative Poet of the Late 17 th Century


Of the puritan poets and satirist, who were not many, one of the most endearing was Andrew Marvell  (1621 – 78) and the other the greatest of the poets of the century was John Milton. Marvell was tutor to the daughter of Lord Fairfax, the great parliamentary general. Marvell was, strangely, unlike ‘the conventional harsh and gloomy puritan, the enemy of all wordly and artistic amusement’. 

Andrew Marvell’s portrait, done by Hanneman, represents him as a thirty seven year old, brilliant – eyed laughing person with a mocking mouth and a calm brow. His verses written in his thirtieth year glow with human love and feeling for nature. Even in poems of maturity we find the same gaiety – a jovial and mirth – loving spirit. There is not much of space for religion in Marvell’s poetry. Marvell's works often weigh conflicting values, such as introspection versus action, or nature versus society.

Scholars consider 17th-century English poet Andrew Marvell a member of the “metaphysical” school, along with poets John Donne, George Herbert, and others. Marvell’s poetry covered many forms, ranging from sharp political satires to pastorals and love poems.
 
True to the Zietgiest – the Renascence, Marvell suffused his poems with a sense of joyous romanticism which is its cordial, vital quality. He respected the Bible, but at the same time ‘loved wine, women and song’. Through he disliked pastoral convention and descriptions, he was inspired by the country. 




Andrew Marvell was lover of nature. His love of nature was spontaneous as that of the lake poets. He strikes a Wordsworthian note in the poem Upon the Hill and Grove at Billborough. He describes with familiarity the aspects of the country and its trees and birds in his longest poem, Upon Appleton House. He anticipates Wordsworth when he prefers the song of the dove to that of the nightingale. Marvell’s love for animal is gracefully expressed in his poem The Nymph Complaining for the Death of her Fawn. Marvell identified the suffering of those creatures with that of his own. It was Marvell who sang first about the glory and beauty of gardens and orchards. That was his dearest joy. It seemed to him that all creation is  / Annihilating all that’s made / To a green thought a green shade.

Now let's quote few famous lines from Andrew Marvell :-


"I have a garden of my own,

"Such was that happy garden-state,

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