1871 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Andrew Marvell

Charles Cowden Clarke, in "Comic Writers of England" Gentleman's Magazine NS 7 (November 1871) 697.



Marvell was not distinguished as a speaker in the House. He was better; he was a man of business. And it is said that his judgment in passing bills was sought for by every party, and never refused by him. He possessed a steady and high courage, and he was equal to the occasion when required to exert it. He was once warned of danger from assassination, and he replied, "I am not afraid of being killed; my only fear is, that I may kill a fellow-creature."

This glorious specimen of a human being was believed to have been carried off by poison in his fifty-eighth year, and was buried in the church of St. Giles-in-the-Fields, as it used to be called. Such was the contemptible party-spirit of the time, that the clergyman of the parish would not allow an inscription to be placed on his monument, which described him in general terms to have been a true patriot and an uncorrupted and incorruptible man. The plausible reason for the refusal was that he was a Nonconformist, and consequently not a member of the Establishment.