Marvell Among the Cromwellians

Nicholas McDowell

in The Oxford Handbook of Literature and the English Revolution

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199560608
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

Marvell Among the Cromwellians

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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)



This article examines Andrew Marvell's three major poems on Cromwell in terms of the issues of patronage and allegiance that confronted poets and writers amid the shifting political contexts of the 1650s. It seeks to understand Marvell's Cromwell poems as in dialogue with the arguments and activities of his peers and fellow Cromwellians, as well as responses to the figure of Cromwell himself. The issue of allegiance was connected with the need to secure an income for someone such as Marvell, without sufficient private means to remain independent of employment. But neither was political allegiance decided only by the availability of patronage for a man as intellectually sophisticated as Marvell. There was ideological substance to Marvell's support for the Cromwellian Protectorate, and that support was rooted in the perception of Cromwell as a leader who could offer domestic security as well as military glory — who would suppress clerical and sectarian ambitions for power in the interests of civil liberty.

Keywords: Andrew Marvell; poems; poetry; Oliver Cromwell; patronage; allegiance

Article.  8226 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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