Andrew Marvell Portrait

Poems by Andrew Marvell

Andrew Marvell (1621-1678) was an English poet and politician during the 17th century. He is known for his lyric poetry, which combines intellectual complexity with vivid imagery and wit. Marvell was associated with the metaphysical poets, a group of 17th-century poets known for their philosophical and abstract poetry.

Marvell was born in Winestead-in-Holderness, Yorkshire, England. He attended Hull Grammar School before studying at Cambridge University. After completing his studies, Marvell traveled to Europe and spent time in Holland and France. During this period, he worked as a tutor and met influential writers and thinkers.

In 1653, Marvell became the tutor and traveling companion of Lord Fairfax’s daughter, Mary. He accompanied her on her visit to the Continent, which lasted for several years. After returning to England, Marvell became involved in politics and was elected as the Member of Parliament for Hull in 1659.

As a politician, Marvell was known for his strong advocacy of civil liberties and his opposition to censorship. He wrote numerous satirical and political poems, which often criticized the government of King Charles II. Marvell’s most famous poem is “To His Coy Mistress,” in which he uses persuasive and imaginative language to entice a lover to seize the day and enjoy the pleasures of physical love.

Marvell’s poetry is characterized by its complex and intricate imagery, skillful use of language, and reflective and intellectual themes. His poems often explore the transience of life, the nature of time, and the power of love and desire. Marvell’s poetry combines deep intellectual thought with an appreciation for the beauty and pleasures of the physical world.

Despite his literary success, Marvell lived a relatively modest and unassuming life. He never married and had no children. He died in 1678 and was buried in St. Giles-in-the-Fields Church in London. Marvell’s poetry fell into obscurity after his death but experienced a revival in the 20th century, with scholars recognizing his contributions to English poetry. Today, he is considered one of the most important poets of the 17th century.