Authors: Andrew Marvell

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

English poet and satirist

Author Works


The First Anniversary of the Government Under His Highness the Lord Protector, 1655

Miscellaneous Poems, 1681

Complete Poetry, 1968


The Rehearsal Transpros’d, 1672

The Rehearsal Transpros’d: The Second Part, 1673 (for modern editions of the two preceding entries, see The Rehearsal Transpros’d and The Rehearsal Transpros’d: The Second Part, 1971; D. I. B. Smith, editor)

Mr. Smirke: Or, The Divine in Mode, 1676

An Account of the Growth of Popery and Arbitrary Government in England, 1677

Remarks upon a Late Disingenuous Discourse, 1678


The Poems and Letters of Andrew Marvell, 1927, 1952, 1971 (H. Margoliouth, editor)


Andrew Marvell, born at Winestead-in-Holderness, Yorkshire, England, on March 31, 1621, was the son of an Anglican clergyman who became master of the Hull Grammar School. Having received his early education under his father at Hull, he entered Trinity College, Cambridge University, in 1633 and received his bachelor’s degree in 1638. As many men did at the time, he remained at Cambridge without taking the M.A. In 1640 his father died, and two years later, apparently with his inheritance, Marvell began a four-year tour of the Continent. Although he began writing poetry while still at the university, few of Marvell’s love lyrics or bucolic poems were published during his lifetime, his contemporary fame resting largely upon his satire.{$I[AN]9810000540}{$I[A]Marvell, Andrew}{$I[geo]ENGLAND;Marvell, Andrew}{$I[tim]1621;Marvell, Andrew}

Andrew Marvell

(Library of Congress)

During the English civil war Marvell, although not a Puritan himself, sided with the Cromwellians. From 1650 to 1652 he was tutor in the household of Lord Fairfax, a general in Oliver Cromwell’s forces, and not long afterward tutor to Cromwell’s ward, William Dutton; most of his best-known poems were written at this time. Although John Milton tried to get Marvell a post with the Puritan government in 1653, he did not actually receive an appointment until 1657. In 1659, a year before the Restoration of the Stuarts, he was elected to Parliament for Hull, a post he held until his death.

When Charles II became king, Marvell thought monarchy would be good for England, but he soon found himself in disagreement with the Crown, especially concerning its policies of religious oppression, and he began a long series of satires against the king and his government. The satires were so outspoken that they had to be passed from hand to hand or printed in secret, always anonymously. Only in the case of religious oppression did Marvell feel safe in admitting his authorship of satire, as he did for the two parts of The Rehearsal Transpros’d. Just before his death Marvell published an anonymous pamphlet, An Account of the Growth of Popery and Arbitrary Government in England. For some years it was thought that opponents, enraged by the satire, had poisoned its author, but his death in London on August 16, 1678, was caused by an overdose of opiates administered by his physician in ignorance. His lyric poems, the source of much of his modern reputation, were published in Miscellaneous Poems, a volume produced three years after his death by his housekeeper, Mary Palmer, who claimed to have been secretly married to him.

BibliographyChernaik, Warren L. The Poet’s Time: Politics and Religion in the Work of Andrew Marvell. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1983. For Chernaik, Marvell is a poet-prophet whose political ideas are consistent, militant, and rooted in his religion. Also discusses Marvell’s later (post-1666) satiric poetry and his political polemics.Hunt, John Dixon. Andrew Marvell: His Life and Writings. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1978. Hunt’s intent is to provide a context against which some of Marvell’s major poems (“Upon Appleton House,” “An Horatian Ode upon Cromwell’s Return from Ireland,” and “Last Instructions to a Painter”) can be read. Profusely illustrated.Klause, John. The Unfortunate Fall: Theodicy and the Moral Imagination of Andrew Marvell. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, 1983. In his extensive analyses of the Cromwell poems, “The Garden,” and “Upon Appleton House,” Klause finds Marvell “adapting” to political realities. Complemented by an extensive bibliography of primary and secondary sources.Murray, Nicholas. World Enough and Time: The Life of Andrew Marvell. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000. Even with the information uncovered in the three decades since the last biography of Marvell was written, little is known about long stretches of Marvell’s career. Murray’s narrative takes full advantage of what is available and provides a clear portrait of Marvell and his life in the Cromwell era and the Restoration.Patterson, Annabel. Marvell: The Writer in Public Life. New York: Longman, 2000. Focuses on the intersection of Marvell’s political and literary views.Ray, Robert H. An Andrew Marvell Companion. New York: Garland, 1998. A useful, comprehensive reference guide to the life and works of the poet and political satirist. Includes a chronology of the poet’s life and works, a bibliography, and suggestions for further research.Rees, Christine. The Judgment of Marvell. London: Pinter, 1989. Rees argues that Marvell’s poetry concerns choice or the impossibility of choosing, and his choices involve the life of pleasure, as well as those of action and contemplation. Using this threefold division, she offers extensive commentary on approximately twenty-five well-known poems.Stocker, Margarita. Apocalyptic Marvell: The Second Coming in Seventeenth Century Poetry. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1986. Stocker’s book offers a corrective view of Marvell, a poet committed to an apocalyptic ideology that informs all of his poems. Supplemented by an extensive bibliography.
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