Andrew Marvell eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 283 pages of information about Andrew Marvell.


[20:1] For an account of Flecknoe, see Southey’s Omniana, i. 105.  Lamb placed some fine lines of Flecknoe’s at the beginning of the Essay A Quakers’ Meeting.

[24:1] Grosart, vol. iii. p. 175.

[24:2] See preface to Religio Laici, Scott’s Dryden, vol. x. p. 27.

[24:3] Jeremy Collier in his Historical Dictionary (1705) describes Marvell, to whom he allows more space (though it is but a few lines) than he does to Shakespeare, “as to his opinion he was a dissenter.”  In Collier’s opinion Marvell may have been no better than a dissenter, but in fact he was a Churchman all his life, and it was Collier who lived to become a non-juror and a dissenter, and a schismatical bishop to boot.

[31:1] Life of Lord Fairfax, by C.R.  Markham (1870), p. 365.

[35:1] The fifth edition is dated 1703.

[46:1] Many a reader has made his first acquaintance with Marvell on reading these lines in the Essays of Elia (The Old Benchers of the Inner Temple).

[47:1] Poems and Satires of Andrew Marvell, 2 vols.  Routledge, 1905.



When Andrew Marvell first made John Milton’s acquaintance is not known.  They must both have had common friends at or belonging to Cambridge.  Fairfax may have made the two men known to each other, although it is just as likely that Milton introduced Marvell to Fairfax.  All we know is that when the engagement at Nunappleton House came to an end, Marvell, being then minded to serve the State in some civil capacity, applied to the Secretary for Foreign Tongues for what would now be called a testimonial, which he was fortunate enough to obtain in the form of a letter to the Lord-President of the Council, John Bradshaw.  Milton seems always to have liked Bradshaw, who was not generally popular even on his own side, and in the Defensio Secunda pro populo Anglicano extols his character and attainments in sonorous latinity.  Bradshaw had become in February 1649 the first President of the new Council of State, which, after the disappearance of the king and the abolition of the House of Lords, took over the burden of the executive, and claimed the right to scrape men’s consciences by administering to anybody it chose an oath requiring them to approve of what the House of Commons had done against the king, and of their abolition of kingly government and of the House of Peers, and that the legislative and supreme power was wholly in the House of Commons.

Before the creation of this Council the duties of Latin Secretary to the Parliament had been discharged by Georg Rudolph Weckherlin, a German diplomat who had married an Englishwoman.  He retired in bad health at this time, and Milton was appointed to his place in 1649.  When, later on, the sight of the most illustrious of all our civil servants failed him, Weckherlin returned to the office as Milton’s assistant.  In December 1652 ill-health again compelled Weckherlin’s retirement.[49:1]

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