Andrew Marvell

English poet and politician (1621–1678)

Andrew Marvell (March 31, 1621August 16, 1678) was an English metaphysical poet, and the son of an Anglican clergyman. As a metaphysical, he is associated with John Donne and George Herbert. He was the first assistant of John Milton.

The world in all doth but two nations bear—
The good, the bad; and these mixed everywhere.

Quotes edit

  • Popery is such a thing as cannot, but for want of a word to express it, be called a religion; nor is it to be mentioned with that civility which is otherwise decent to be used in speaking about the differences of human opinion about divine matters...There has now for divers years a design been carried on, to change the lawful government of England into an absolute tyranny, and to convert the established Protestant religion into downright Popery...If under his present Majesty we have as yet seen no more visible effects of the same spirit than the firing of is not to be attributed to the good nature or better principles of that sect, but to the wisdom of his Holiness, who observes that we are not of late so dangerous Protestants as to deserve any special mark of his indignation, but that we may be made better use of to the wrecking of those that are of our religion, and that if he do not disturb us, there are those amongst ourselves that are leading us into a fair way of reconciliation with him.
    • An Account of the Growth of Popery and Arbitrary Government in England [1677] (reprinted in State Tracts: Volume I (1692), pp. 69 ff.).
  • Gather the flowers, but spare the buds.
    • The Picture of Little T.C. in a Prospect of Flowers.
  • She with her eyes my heart does bind,
    She with her voice might captivate my mind.
    • The Fair Singer.
  • How should I avoid to be her slave,
    Whose subtle art invisibly can wreath
    My fetters of the very air I breath?
    • The Fair Singer.
  • While thus he threw his Elbow round,
    Depopulating all the Ground,
    And, with his whistling Sythe, does cut
    Each stroke between the Earth and Root,
    The edged Stele by careless chance
    Did into his own Ankle glance;
    And there among the Grass fell down,
    by his own Sythe, the Mower mown.
    • Damon The Mower.
  • Art indeed is long, but life is short.
    • Upon the Death of Lord Hastings (1649), last line
    • Variant: "Art is long, and time is fleeting." Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, A Psalm of Life (1839).
  • How fit is he to sway
    That can so well obey ("Horatian Ode," 83-84),
    • An Horatian Ode upon Cromwell's Return from Ireland (1650), lines 83-84; on political authority.
  • The world in all doth but two nations bear —
    The good, the bad; and these mixed everywhere.
    • The Loyal Scot (1650-1652).
  • No creature loves an empty space;
    Their bodies measure out their place.
    • Upon Appleton House, to My Lord Fairfax.
  • To make a bank was a great plot of state;
    Invent a shovel, and be a magistrate.
    • The Character of Holland (c. 1653).
  • This indigested vomit of the Sea,
    Fell to the Dutch by Just Propriety.
    • The Character of Holland (c. 1653).

Upon Cromwell's Return from Ireland (1650) edit

  • ...the inglorious arts of peace...
  • He nothing common did or mean
    Upon that memorable scene,
    But with his keener eye
    The axe's edge did try.
  • But bowed his comely head
    Down as upon a bed.
  • So much one man can do,
    That does both act and know.

To His Coy Mistress (1650-1652) edit

  • 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.
  • 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 age at least to every part,
    And the last age should show your heart.
  • 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 honor 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-chapped 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.

The Garden (1650-1652) edit

  • In busy companies of men.
  • Society is all but rude,
    To this delicious solitude.
  • What wondrous life in 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,
    Ensnared 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.
  • Casting the body's vest aside,
    My soul into the boughs does glide.

The Definition of Love (1650-1652) edit

  • My love is of a birth as rare
    As 'tis for object strange and high;
    It was begotten by Despair
    Upon Impossibility.
    • Stanza 1.
  • Love's whole world on us doth wheel.
  • As lines, so loves oblique may well
    Themselves in every angle greet;
    But ours so truly parallel,
    Though infinite, can never meet.
    • Stanza 7.
  • Therefore the love which us doth bind,
    But Fate so enviously debars,
    Is the conjunction of the mind,
    And opposition of the stars.

Bermudas (1657) edit

  • Where the remote Bermudas ride,
    In th' ocean's bosom unespied.
  • Orange bright,
    Like golden lamps in a green light.
  • And all the way, to guide their chime,
    With falling oars they kept the time.

The Mover to the Glow-worms edit

  • Ye living lamps, by whose dear light
    The nightingale does sit so late
    And studying all the summer night
    Her matchless songs does meditate;

    Ye country comets, that portend
    No war, nor prince's funeral,
    Shining unto no higher end
    Than to presage the grasses's fall;

    Ye glow-worms whose officious flame
    To wandering mowers shows the way,
    That in the night have lost their aim
    And after foolish fires do stray;

    Your courteous lights in vain you waste,
    Since juliana here is come,
    For she my mind hath so displaced
    That I shall never find my home.

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