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- was an accomplished scholar, and of tried integrity. It is true, that the sentence above quoted betrays a great dissatisfaction at the issue of the struggle for liberty in Cromwell's usurpation; and it is more than probable, that Marvell, with Fairfax, and many other of the great characters of the times, in the choice of evils, longed for the restoration.
- From the death of Cromwell, till the Parliament of the 25th of April, 1660, we have no account of Marvell, although he was elected, in 1658, member for the town of Hull. His parliamentary career was remarkable for patriotism and genius; he was the bold advocate of the people, with assassination staring him in the face; “ when truth and chastity were crimes in the lewd circle of Charles's siren court;" and when a general prostitution of public integrity made patriotism singular and vulgar. He corresponded, every post, with his constituents, which is said to be the last instance of that valuable relation between representatives and their suffragans. This correspondence still exists in the corporation's records of Hull; and Captain Thompson published a considerable portion, in his edition of Marvell's works. The letters are highly curious for their historical and parliamentary information. In one of them we find him thanking the corporation conjunctively with his colleague, for a barrel of ale: “ we must give you thanks for the kind present you were pleased to send us, which will occasion us to remember you often; but the quantity is so great that it might make sober men forgetful.” He is reported to have spoken but seldom in the House, but to have possessed very great personal influence over the members of the Commons, and also with the Peers. His exertions in favour of religious liberty, and against the excise, were particularly noted. In 1663, he retired from his parliamentary duties, and accompanied Lord Carlisle, as secretary, to Russia ; but appears to have accepted the appointment rather from private friendship, than on public grounds. He continued there, and in Sweden and Denmark, nearly two years. On the 15th October, 1665, we find him attending the Parliament at Oxford. From this period to October, 1674, Marvell's correspondence gives a regular account of the proceedings of the two Houses ; and the prorogation of Parliament, in November, 1675, terminated his parliamentary labours.
We have no room here to particularise, or quote the various prose works in which he boldly advocated the public cause. He was proof against every assault on his invincible public integrity. The personal compliment of the king himself, who delighted in the wit of his society; the golden offers of Charles's treasurer, Danby, who with difficulty found him in his “ elevated retreat, in the second floor of a court in the Strand,” the very day he borrowed a guinea ; nothing could daunt his courage, or stay his opposition to the government, much less tempt him to prostitute his pen in its behalf. His personal satire against the king himself, his tracts against popery and the ministry, his desperate literary battles with Parker and others, repeatedly endangered his life : it was all to no purpose on the part of his enemies; he was a rock amidst the foaming ocean; his Roman virtue was incorruptible. He, at last, died suddenly, on the 29th of July, 1678, while attending a public meeting in the town-hall of Hull, it is supposed by poison, as his bealth had been remarkable good, previous to his seizure. Thus probably was the threat actually fulfilled,-“ if thou darest to print or publish any lie or libel against Dr. Parker, by the eternal God I will cut thy throat!”
“ But whether fate or art untwin'd thy thread
Remains in doubt; Fame's lasting register
Who at Philippi for their country fell.” We shall now give a brief account of his works, with as much extract from his poetry as our limits will allow. The first edition of his poems in folio, 1681, was surreptitious, and contains the following impudent preface :
“ To the Reader : “ These are to certify every ingenious reader, that all these Poems, as also the other things in this book contained, are printed according to the exact copies of my late dear husband, under his own hand writing, being found, since his death, among his other papers. Witness my hand, this 15th day of October, 1680.
Marvell was never married; but the bookseller bought the manuscripts from a woman in whose house he lodged. As few other poems, besides those contained in this edition, exist, it is to be feared that what this person thought unsaleable she destroyed.
The most interesting poetical piece in the whole miscellaneous collection, is his address to
“ The Nymph complaining for the Death of her Fawn.
“ The wanton troopers riding by,
Them any harm; alas! nor could
Inconstant Sylvio, when yet
Thenceforth I set myself to play
Had it liv'd long, I do not know
As Sylvio did : his gifts might be
With sweetest milk and sugar, first
It is a wond'rous thing, how fleet
I have a garden of my own,
O help! ( help! I see it faint; .
I in a golden phial will
Now my sweet fawn is vanish'd to
First, my unhappy statue shall
The following address of the “ Lover to the Gow-worms” is pretty and fanciful, and more in the taste of the times than Marvell’s verses in general.
“ Ye living lamps, by whose dear light
The nightingale does sit so late,