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ART. VII.-The Rehearsal Transpos’d; or Animadversions upon
a late Book, intilled, A Preface shewing what Grounds there are of Fears and Jealousies of Popery. The second Impression, with Additions and Amendments.- London: Printed by J. D. for the Assigns of John Calvin and Theodore Beza, at the sign of the King's Indulgence, on the South Side of Lake-Lemune ; and sold by N. Ponder, in Chancery Lane,
1672. The Rehearsal Transpos’d; the second Part: occasioned by Two
Lellers :--the first, printed by a nameless Author, intituled
Chancery Lane, near Fleet Street, 1673.
of the House of Commons. London : Printed for Robert Boulter, at the Turk's Head, in Cornhill, 1681.-Folio,
pp. 139. A Short Historical Essay, touching General Councils, Creeds,
and Impositions, in Matters of Religion. Very seasonable at this time. Written by Andrew Marvell, Esq. London:
printed for R. Baldwin, 1687. A Coilection of Poems, on Affairs of State, &c. By A-
M- 1, Esq ; and other eminent Wits. Most whereof never before printed. London: Printed in the year 1689,
410. pp. 36. The Works of Andrew Marvell, Esq. London: Printed by E.
Curl, over against Catherine Street, in the Strand, 1626.
2 vols. duo. The Works of Andrew Marvell, Esq.; Poetical, Controversial,
and Political ; containing many original Letters, Poems, and Tracts, never before printed, with a new Life of the Author, by Capt. Edward Thompson, in Three Volumes. London: Printed for the Editor, by Henry Baldwin, 1776. 4to.
It cannot be a matter of surprise, when the literary character of Milton was so long in struggling into public admiration, from beneath the mass of political and polemical prejudice,* that the poetical fame of Andrew Marvell (his assistant Latin secretary to the Protector) should experience a similar fate, and his works a temporary neglect. If the humiliating and sturdy prejudices of Johnson were so far overcome or overawed, as charitably to admit the biography (and such a biography !) of Milton among “ The Lives of the most eminent English Poets,” he could, however, hardly be expected to chronicle the stern patriotism or fugitive poetry of Marvell; nor, indeed, could it be very desirable, for the memory of our poet, that Johnson should have shewn him such a distinction, if the price of it had been injustice, proportionate to that so liberally lavished on Marvell's illustrious friend and co-adjutor in office. Dr. Johnson could not but have known of the merit and beauties of Marvell's poems ; probably he did not wish to assist in perpetuating the fame of the author, and perhaps the absence of his commemoration will assist it in now assuming its deserved rank in the estimation of those who do not consider our great moralist and lexicographer the absolute dictator of English poetry..
* The following remarkable proof, earlier than Johnson's day, may not be known to all of our readers" John Milton was one
It is the province of time, and the grateful duty of posterity, to smelt the mixed ore of former ages, and to separate the gold dust of literature from the dross and incrustations of party and ephemeral writing: as the stream of time rolls rapidly from former to present ages, desultory writing is lost in the ocean of oblivion; the personal failings of the individual are “buried deep in the obscurity of time," and mankind are only anxious to preserve the valuable intellectual legacies left them by their ancestors. .
These remarks are not intended to extenuate aught in the private character of Marvell : the “ British Aristides” has been long the great exemplar of public and private integrity; and the mildew of defamation has singularly avoided his irreproachable reputation. Nor can we justly say that the works of Andrew Marvell have been altogether neglected : the long list of publications, at different periods, which front this article, is a proof of the contrary; but, in this reading and reprinting age his poems, little read, are by no means so generally known or so critically admired as they richly deserve to be. The enquiry
whose natural parts might deservedly give him a place amongst the principal of our English poets, having written two heroic poems and a tragedy,-viz. Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Sampson Angonista ; but his fame is gone out like a candle in a snuff, and his memory will always stink, which might have ever lived in honourable repute, had not he been a notorious traitor, and most impiously and villainously belied that blessed martyr, King Charles the First !”—The Lives of the most famous English Poets, fc. 1687, by William Winstanley. Licensed, June 16, 1686. Robert Midgley.
naturally arises, why? He left bebind him no epic or poem of any considerable length; and although his satirical poetry is fraught with sparkling and poignant wit, yet the subjects were chiefly personal and temporary, and not like the more elaborate work of Butler, identified with the national history, manners, and opinions.
We shall give soine short biographical account of this accomplished man and English senator, but we shall be as brief as possible—the most impartial and honourable history of his mind will be best perused in his own works, from which we shall make as copious extracts as our limits will allow.
He who has left behind so perfect a mirror of his own mind in his admirable writings, and so irreproachable a character, cannot be further illustrated by the dull pages of pedigree. Poetical genius is not hereditary, it is no heir-loom in family property. The reverend Andrew Marvell, the father of our poet, was a respectable clergyman of the church of England, a native of Cambridgeshire, educated in that University in which he took the degree of Master of Arts, in the year 1608. He was afterwards elected master of the Public German School, in Kingston upon Hull; and was made lecturer of the Trinity Church, 1624. He greatly distinguished himself during the plague in 1637, by the fearless performance of his clerical duties in visiting the sick and burying the dead amid all the grim horrors of that devastating period; and his fu. neral sermons are said to have been most eloquent specimens of pathetic oratory. By Echard, he is styled “the facetious Calvinistical minister of Hull.” The unbappy accident which terminated his life, when crossing the river Humber with a beautiful young couple he was going to marry, the boat upsetting in a sudden storm, is well known and has been the subject of many a touching and heart-rending story," founded on fact.” From the character and opinions of the father, it is evident that the son received many early and lasting impressions which subsequently developed themselves in the most eventful period of British History. Marvell gives this character of his father, in the second part of the “ Rehearsal Transposed."--"He died before the war broke out, having lived with some reputation both for piety and learning, and was moreover a conformist to the established rites of the church of England, though I confess, none of the most over-running, or eager in them.”
Marvell was born at Kingston upon Hull, 15th November, 1620, and probably received the first rudiments of education under his father, and was early distinguished for remarkable proficiency and quickness of mind. Indeed, at 15 years of age, his father sent him to Cambridge, where he was admitted, in 1635, as a student of Trinity College: Mr. Cooke, the editor of the edition of his works in 1726, erroneously states this as on the 14th of December, 1633; but the admission book of Trinity College has the following entry,p. 266, 13th April, 1638, Andrew Marvell juratus et admissus, which is the record of his election to a scholarship on the foundation. We have no evidence of his attaining any academical honours, or towards what profession he directed his studies.
The Jesuits, who were then seeking converts with industrious proselytism, among the young men of distinguished abilities, inveigled Marvell from college to London, where his father followed and rescued him from their fangs; and it appears, that, like every youthful mind of ardent and undisciplined feeling, he went through the usual course of rapidly succeeding extremes and inconsistent opinions. So powerful and vigorous an intellect, however, could not but subside into rational and wise views of the principles of human conduct and the civil government of man; and in proportion to the difficulty of discovering truth, is the usual estimation of its value.
From the time of his admission on the foundation at Trinity College, in 1638, to the year 1640, in which he lost his father, he appears to have pursued his studies with indefatigable application; that event seems to bave given some new character to his views and prospects, which, at this distance of time, and with the scanty information on his early life, cannot now be discovered. It is certain, however, that he gave up his residence at college; and, with other students, absented himself so long from his exercises, that the masters and seniors came to a resolution, on the 24th September, 1641, to refuse them the benefits of the college, and gave them three months to make the amende honorable. Marvell does not appear to have manifested any penitence, but was publicly expelled for nonresidence. This story, however, probably means nothing more than that Marvell, as a scholar, did not take his degree at the regular time, which, by the rules of Trinity College, now vacates a scholarship, and which probably did, at the time and in the instance in question. Captain Thompson, his last biographer, supposes, that this intermission of his studies and residence was caused by new shares of the Jesuits ; but this is improbable,-a burnt child dreads the fire. It is much more probable, that the political turmoils which preceded the breaking out of the civil wars engaged his attention; and that a small independency, on the death of his father, relieved him from the necessity of earning his bread in the dry and uninteresting study of technical law. But however this may be, he appears to have extended the plan of his education, in travelling abroad some considerable time,“ through most of the polite parts of Europe."
on the reaged with che precedeia such
His poem of Flecknoe, a humourous satire on an English priest at Rome, Richard Flecknoe, an incorrigible poetaster, is the first recorded instance of his satirical writing; when, or whether at all, published, at the period of its composition, is unknown. It is not worth extracting, to the exclusion of other superior poems; and, though possessing considerable humour, is composed in slovenly metre. It has, however, the merit of originating one of the best satirical poems in the language, Dryden's MFlecknoe, against the “ lambent dulness” of Thomas Shadwell.
It has been supposed, that Marvell, at this time, made his first acquaintance with Milton, who was then in Italy; and who, though twelve years older than Marvell, had only left Christ's College four years before the date of the latter's admission.
In Paris, he wrote a severe poem on one Lancelot Joseph de Maniban, a whimsical abbot, who pretended to prognosticate the fortunes of people from the character of their handwriting. From this circumstance, we hear no more of Marvell for the space of twelve years. Some of his biographers, determined to fill up the chasm, have sent him as secretary to a Turkey embassy ; but, unluckily, it does not appear, that Cromwell had any minister at the Ottoman court. This long blank in the biography of such a man, at such an era, is unaccountable; though it cannot be doubted, from subsequent circumstances, that he must have been the warm and bold friend of the popular party. In 1653, by the transcript of a curious letter from him to Oliver Cromwell, (see Biographia Britannica, art. Mardell), but the original of which is unknown, the latter, it appears, had appointed him tutor to a Mr. Dutton. This letter is extremely interesting, and, in some degree, unfolds Marvell's opinion on education ; he writes, that his pupil was of " a gen. tle and waxen disposition,” that “ he hath in him two things, which make youth most easy to be managed,-modesty, which is the bridle to vice,-and emulation, which is the spur to virtue." There is more wisdom in the simplicity and tenderness of these sentences than first meets the eye.
In the second part of the Rehearsal Transposed, he says, in reply to some reproaches of Dr. Parker, “I never had any, not the remotest relation to public matters, nor correspondence with the persons then predominant, till the year 1657; when, indeed, I entered into an employment, for which I was not altogether improper, and which I consider to be the most innocent and inoffensive towards his majesty's affairs, of any in that usurped and irregular government, to which all men were then exposed.” This office was that of assistant Latin secretary to the Commonwealth with Milton; which sufficiently proves, he.