Thus died by drowning a brave man, a good Christian, and an excellent clergyman of the Reformed Church of England. The plain narrative just quoted has been embroidered by many long-subsequent writers in the interests of those who love presentiments and ghostly intimations of impending events, and in one of these versions it is recorded, that though the morning was clear, the breeze fair, and the company gay, yet when stepping into the boat “the reverend man exclaimed, ’Ho for Heaven,’ and threw his staff ashore and left it to Providence to fulfil its awful warning.”
So melancholy an occurrence naturally excited great attention, and long lingered in local memories. Everybody in Hull knew who was their member’s father.
There is an obstinate tradition quite unverifiable that Mrs. Skinner, the mother of the beautiful young lady who was drowned with the elder Marvell, adopted the young Marvell as a son, sending to Cambridge for him after his father’s death, and providing him with the means of travel, and that afterwards she bequeathed him her estate. Whether there is any truth in this story cannot now be ascertained. The Skinners were a well-known Hull family, one of them, a brother of that Cyriac Skinner who was urged by Milton in immortal verse to enjoy himself whilst the mood was on him, having been Mayor of Hull. The lady, doubtless, had money, and Andrew Marvell was in need of money, and appears to have been supplied with it. It is quite possible the tradition is true.
[6:1] Fuller’s Worthies (1662), p. 159.
[8:1] “The Fuller Worthies Library,” 4 vols., 1872. Hereafter referred to as Grosart.
[8:2] Mr. Smirke or the Divine in Mode.—Grosart, iv. 15.
[11:1] Autobiography of Matthew Robinson. Edited by J.E.B. Mayor, Cambridge, 1856.
[12:1] Behemoth, Hobbes’ Works (Molesworth), vol. vi., see pp. 168, 218, 233-6.
[12:2] Worthington’s Diary, vol. i. p. 5 (Chetham Society).
[13:1] Fuller, History of Cambridge University (1655), p. 167.
[14:1] Fuller, p. 166.
[15:1] Grosart, I., xxviii.
[15:2] See Worthington’s Diary, vol. i. p. 7.
“THE HAPPY GARDEN-STATE”
The seventeenth century was the century of travel for educated Englishmen—of long, leisurely travel. Milton’s famous Italian tour lasted fifteen months. John Evelyn’s Wander-Jahre occupied four years. Andrew Marvell lived abroad in France, Spain, Holland, and Italy from 1642 to 1646, and we have Milton’s word for it that when the traveller returned he was well acquainted with the French, Dutch, Spanish, and Italian languages. Andrew Marvell was a highly cultivated man, living in a highly cultivated age, in daily converse with scholars, poets, philosophers, and men of very considerable scientific attainments. In reading Clarendon and Burnet, and whilst turning over Aubrey’s delightful gossip, it is impossible not to be struck with the width and variety of the learning as well as with the wit of the period. Intellectually it was a great age.