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Andrew Marvell Overview

born: 1621 A.C.
born in: Winestead-in-Holderness, East Yorkshire
died: 1678 A.C.
However accurate Andrew Marvell's association with the metaphysical poets, it is unfortunate that the singular writer – so singularly spiteful, winning, allusive, sardonic – should share a limited codified space with anyone else, even if his spacemates include such luminaries as... [more]

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An Horatian Ode Upon Cromwell's Return to Ireland

The forward youth that would appear Must now forsake his Muses dear, Nor in the shadows sing His numbers languishing. 'Tis time to leave the books in dust, And oil th' unused armour's rust, Removing from the wall The corslet of the hall. So restless Cromwell could not cease In the inglorious arts of peace, But through advent'rous war Urged his active star: And, like the three-forked lightning, first Breaking the clouds where it was nursed, Did thorough his own side His fiery way divide. For 'tis all one to courage high, The emulous or enemy; And with such, to enclose Is more than to oppose. Then burning through the air he went, And palaces and temples rent; And Caesar's head at last Did through his laurels blast. 'Tis madness to resist or blame The force of angry Heaven's flame; And, if we would speak true, Much to the man is due, Who, from his private gardens, where He lived reserved and austere, As if his highest plot To plant the bergamot, Could by industrious valour climb To ruin the great work of time, And cast the Kingdom old Into another mould. Though Justice against Fate complain, And plead the ancient Rights in vain: But those do hold or break As men are strong or weak. Nature, that hateth emptiness, Allows of penetration less; And therefore must make room Where greater spirits come. What field of all the Civil Wars Where his were not the deepest scars? And Hampton shows what part He had of wiser art; Where, twining subtle fears with hope, He wove a net of such a scope That Charles himself might chase To Carisbrook's narrow case; That thence the Royal Actor borne The tragic scaffold might adorn: While round the armed bands Did clap their bloody hands. He nothing common did or mean Upon that memorable scene, But with his keener eye The axe's edge did try; Nor called the Gods with vulgar spite To vindicate his helpless right; But bowed his comely head Down as upon a bed. This was that memorable hour Which first assured the forced pow'r. So when they did design The Capitol's first line, A Bleeding Head, where they begun, Did fright the architects to run; And yet in that the State Foresaw its happy fate. And now the Irish are ashamed To see themselves in one year tamed: So much one man can do, That does both act and know. They can affirm his praises best, And have, though overcome, confessed How good he is, how just, And fit for highest trust; Nor yet grown stiffer with command, But still in the Republic's hand: How fit he is to sway That can so well obey! He to the Commons' feet presents A kingdom for his first year's rents: And, what he may, forbears His fame to make it theirs: And has his sword and spoils ungirt, To lay them at the Public's skirt. So when the falcon high Falls heavy from the sky, She, having killed, no more does search, But on the next green bough to perch, Where, when he first does lure, The falcon'r has her sure. What may not then our Isle presume While victory his crest does plume! What may not others fear If thus he crown each year! A Caesar he ere long to Gaul, To Italy an Hannibal, And to all states not free Shall climacteric be. The Pict no shelter now shall find Within his parti-coloured mind; But from this valour sad Shrink underneath the plaid: Happy if in the tufted brake The English hunter him mistake, Nor lay his hounds in near The Caledonian deer. But thou, the War's and Fortune's son, March indefatigably on; And for the last effect Still keep thy sword erect: Besides the force it has to fright The spirits of the shady night, The same arts that did gain A pow'r must it maintain.

The Garden

How vainly men themselves amaze To win the palm, the oak, or bays ; And their uncessant labors see Crowned from some single herb or tree, Whose short and narrow-vergèd shade Does prudently their toils upbraid ; While all the flowers and trees do close To weave the garlands of repose. Fair Quiet, have I found thee here, And Innocence, thy sister dear! Mistaken long, I sought you then In busy companies of men : Your sacred plants, if here below, Only among the plants will grow ; Society is all but rude, To this delicious solitude. No white nor red was ever seen So amorous as this lovely green ; Fond lovers, cruel as their flame, Cut in these trees their mistress' name. Little, alas, they know or heed, How far these beauties hers exceed! Fair trees! wheresoe'er your barks I wound No name shall but your own be found. When we have run our passion's heat, Love hither makes his best retreat : The gods who mortal beauty chase, Still in a tree did end their race. Apollo hunted Daphne so, Only that she might laurel grow, And Pan did after Syrinx speed, Not as a nymph, but for a reed. What wondrous life is this I lead! Ripe apples drop about my head ; The luscious clusters of the vine Upon my mouth do crush their wine ; The nectarine and curious peach Into my hands themselves do reach ; Stumbling on melons as I pass, Insnared with flowers, I fall on grass. Meanwhile the mind, from pleasure less, Withdraws into its happiness : The mind, that ocean where each kind Does straight its own resemblance find ; Yet it creates, transcending these, Far other worlds, and other seas ; Annihilating all that's made To a green thought in a green shade. Here at the fountain's sliding foot, Or at some fruit-tree's mossy root, Casting the body's vest aside, My soul into the boughs does glide : There like a bird it sits and sings, Then whets and combs its silver wings ; And, till prepared for longer flight, Waves in its plumes the various light. Such was that happy garden-state, While man there walked without a mate : After a place so pure and sweet, What other help could yet be meet! But 'twas beyond a mortal's share To wander solitary there : Two paradises 'twere in one To live in Paradise alone. How well the skillful gard'ner drew Of flowers and herbs this dial new ; Where from above the milder sun Does through a fragrant zodiac run ; And, as it works, th' industrious bee Computes its time as well as we. How could such sweet and wholesome hours Be reckoned but with herbs and flowers!

To His Coy Mistress

Had we but world enough, and time, This coyness, Lady, were no crime We would sit down and think which way To walk and pass our long love's day. Thou by the Indian Ganges' side Shouldst rubies find: I by the tide Of Humber would complain. I would Love you ten years before the Flood, And you should, if you please, refuse Till the conversion of the Jews. My vegetable love should grow Vaster than empires, and more slow; An hundred years should go to praise Thine eyes and on thy forehead gaze; Two hundred to adore each breast, But thirty thousand to the rest; An age at least to every part, And the last age should show your heart. For, Lady, you deserve this state, Nor would I love at lower rate. But at my back I always hear Time's wingèd chariot hurrying near; And yonder all before us lie Deserts of vast eternity. Thy beauty shall no more be found, Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound My echoing song: then worms shall try That long preserved virginity, And your quaint honour turn to dust, And into ashes all my lust: The grave 's a fine and private place, But none, I think, do there embrace. Now therefore, while the youthful hue Sits on thy skin like morning dew, And while thy willing soul transpires At every pore with instant fires, Now let us sport us while we may, And now, like amorous birds of prey, Rather at once our time devour Than languish in his slow-chapt power. Let us roll all our strength and all Our sweetness up into one ball, And tear our pleasures with rough strife Thorough the iron gates of life: Thus, though we cannot make our sun Stand still, yet we will make him run.
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