I rarely recognized the full significance of Andrew Marvell's imagery on my first reading, and with each subsequent reading I made new discoveries. Likewise, Marvell's themes are often complex and require thought and contemplation. This is poetry to be read again and again. Nonetheless, Marvell's language is characterized by clarity and even the first reading is quite enjoyable.
Although Andrew Marvell is recognized today as one of the great poets of the English language, many readers are familiar with only a few of his works, notably To His Coy Mistress (found in most anthologies) and a few of his pastoral poems like Damon the Mower and The Mower's Song. This little Dover edition offers an inexpensive way to become more acquainted with a good selection of Marvell's versatile poetry.
Andrew Marvell was active in English politics during the turbulent period of Charles I, Oliver Cromwell, and Charles II. His love poems and lyrics were private writings not published until three years after his death. Through the years a few poets like Coleridge and Wordsworth recognized Marvell's genius, but he largely remained unknown.
Fortunately, a scholar, Sir Herbert Grierson, and a noted poet, T. S. Elliot, jointly brought attention in the 1920s to the remarkable work of the "metaphysical poets of the seventeenth century", especially Andrew Marvell.
In this Dover edition the spelling and punctuation has been modernized somewhat for clarity. The footnotes are sparse and I found it helpful to occasionally visit the dictionary. The collection includes a wide selection of Marvell's love poems, lyric poetry, religious poetry, and two political poems - An Horatian Ode upon Cromwell's Return from Ireland and the rather long poem Upon Appleton House.
It is not easy to select only a few favories as this collection is quite exceptional. Certainly my list would include: To His Coy Mistress - The Mower to the Glowworms - The Mower Against the Gardens - Damon the Mower - The Mower's Song - On a Drop of Dew - Eyes and Tears - Bermudas - and A Dialogue Between the Soul and the Body.
The other poems in this collection include: The Definition of Love - The Unfortunate Lover - The Gallery - The Fair Singer - Mourning - Ametas and Thestylis Making Hay Ropes - The Nymph Complaining for the Death of Her Fawn - Daphnis and Chloe - The Match - Young Love - The Picture of Little T. C. in a Prospect of Flowers - The Garden - A Dialogue Between the Resolved Soul and Created Pleasure - and The Coronet.