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Andrew Marvell and Oliver Cromwell - Essay Example

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Andrew Marvell (1621-78) is considered to be one of England's greatest Puritan poets. During the Republican regime and after the Restoration also he represented Hull in parliament. Born in 1621 and educated at Cambridge, he became tutor to the daughter of Lord Fairfax and afterwards acted in the same capacity towards the nephew of Cromwell…
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Andrew Marvell and Oliver Cromwell
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Andrew Marvell and Oliver Cromwell

Download file to see previous pages... His sympathies were on the whole royalist and aristocratic but he felt great admiration for Oliver Cromwell the Lord Protector of England who came to power after deposing Charles I. Milton's impunity at the Restoration was largely due to Marvell's influence and exertions. Very few of Marvell's poems were published during his lifetime. Most of his poems appeared posthumously in 1681. His satires were published only in 1689 after the Glorious Revolution.
Marvell's best poems were written in the early 1650s. He used to be considered as a typical love poet who wrote in the metaphysical strain. But Marvell displays curious traits which set him apart from the usual poets who wrote of love. Marvell though a poet of wit, love and fancy strangely though not without reason professes admiration for Puritan ideals.
"Marvell strangely enough was a Puritan __an admirer of Cromwell, a devote reader of the bible, a supporter of the joyless regime whose spirit is to unlike that of his verse" (Wilson 136).But this ambiguity is not surprising when one considers the turmoil and political upheavals of Marvell's time. In August 1642, the long standing quarrel between Charles I, and the Parliamentarians or Roundheads involving political, religious and constitutional matters, broke up into open hostilities. In the battles that followed, Oliver Cromwell soon proved himself to be the most powerful candidate the Parliamentarians had. In spite of oppositions among his own people Cromwell assumed the position of the Lord Protector of England. In 1647, Cromwell organized the New Model army which inflicted a crushing defeat upon the royal army. Charles surrendered to his Scottish subjects who later turned him over to England in 1647.

It is surprising to note the different strains of thought which coloured Marvell's poetic output. In his poems from the Horatian Ode Upon Cromwell's Return from Ireland e onwards the one finds his admiration for Cromwell increasing. The way in which Marvell's perception of Cromwell changed is an indication of the difficulty of the choices of political allegiances facing an alert and sensitive mind of a poet who had political aspirations himself. In the Horatian Ode the Marvell we meet is a troubled man torn between divided loyalties. The title refers to Cromwell's return from Ireland which took place in May 1650. The poem welcomes Cromwell home from his conquest of Ireland, looking forward to his campaign against the Scots. Since Cromwell returned from Ireland in May 1650, and entered Scotland on July 22 of the same year, the poem therefore, was probably written in the early summer of 1650.

The poem contrasts two political figures, the ceremonial Charles I and the military Cromwell. It expresses a deep sense of loss in the passing away of ceremony and ritual with the beheading of the king. A dichotomy is seen in the thoughts and emotions of Marvell the lyric poet and Marvell the Parliamentarian. The Puritan revolution, the new science and modern liberalism were all seen as disrupting an older unified world view in which poetry had a favoured place. In this poem Marvell's attitude towards Cromwell is at best ambivalent. While he shrinks from certain elements in Cromwell's personality and government the poem concludes with a balanced view of his administration.
The Ode in two parts celebrates Cromwell ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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