Title: Marvell's `Nymph Complaining' as historical allegory.
Subject(s): MARVELL, Andrew -- Criticism & interpretation; NYMPH Complaining for the Death of Her Faun, The (Poem); CRITICISM; POETRY
Author(s): Sandstroem, Yvonne L.
Source: Studies in English Literature (Rice), Winter90, Vol. 30 Issue 1, p93, 22p
Abstract: Focuses on the allegorical interpretation of Andrew Marvell's poem `The Nymph Complaining for the Death of Her Faun.' Royal Martyr Charles I's as the fawn; Argument against the allegorical identifications with Christ in the nymph's doubts on the fawn's constancy.
AN: 9512191547
ISSN: 0039-3657
Database: TOPICsearch
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Andrew Marvell's "The Nymph Complaining for the Death of Her Faun" has received considerable critical attention from modern critics, especially after the publication of T.S. Eliot's article in 1921.[2] Critical perplexity finds apposite expression in Anthony Low's comment: "The poem as a whole has a good claim to be called devotional, but the object of its devotion and its position on the sacred-secular axis have not been established. One cannot even be certain whether it is primarily a love poem, a political allegory, an ironic psychological analysis, or a religious devotion."[3] Two popular avenues for establishing the "position" of the poem, acquitting Marvell of lack of decorum and imbuing the poem with greater significance, have been genre and source studies and allegorical interpretations. Kenneth Muir, Edward LeComte, and Nicholas Guild[4] have pointed out the similarities of the Nymph's fawn to Silvia's deer in Book VII of The Aeneid; no one has challenged them. The allegorical interpretations, on the other hand, have met with strong opposition: identification of the fawn with the Anglican church,[5] Christ[6] and the Holy Ghost[7] have all been refuted, some more than once and all, I think, convincingly.[8]

Given this background, it may seem brazen to persist in the view that an allegorical reading still offers the most promising avenue for solving the problem of decorum in the poem. Two things, however, suggest that the issue of allegory in "The Nymph Complaining" deserves further consideration: the fact that allegory and pastoral are often used for political purposes[9] and the similarity between Marvell's poem and an allegorical passage in Spenser's Daphnaida.[10] Many critics of Marvell's "The Nymph Complaining" have commented on the echoes from Canticles and on the poem's christological allusions: those are precisely the elements which have occasioned the various allegorical interpretations. In my view, these allusions can best be accounted for--as can the historical references carried by "troopers"[11] and by the Virgillan echoes in the poem--if we see the fawn as standing for the Royal Martyr, Charles I.[12]

My reasons for this suggestion are several Both the historical-political and the christological allusions fit Charles, who himself promoted the comparison between himself and Christ; this same comparison was also often made in sermons and poems right after the king's death. Indeed, the concept of Charles as martyr, fanned by the popularity of Eikon Basilike, was ubiquitous. More specifically, the nymph's doubts about the fawn's constancy (lines 47-50) argue against allegorical identifications with Christ or the Holy Ghost and for a fallible, mortal individual. The monarch as the spouse of his or her people is a common metaphor, analogous to the situation in Spenser's Daphnaida, which I believe served as a partial model for "The Nymph Complaining." Also, the poem's emphasis on the whiteness of the fawn--another instance of analogy to the Daphnaida--is even more important as a pointer to Charles I, who was popularly known as the White King because he wore white robes at his coronation.

In Daphnaida, as in Spenser's model, Chaucer's Book of the Duchess, the animal mourned represents an actual historical person. In the case of Spenser, the white lioness is an allegorical representation of Douglas Howard, the wife of Sir Arthur Gorges, the poem's "Alcyon." If the fawn for whose death Marvell's nymph complains also represents a person, perhaps the spouse of the mourner, the expressions of grief and praise, excessive on the merely literal level, become appropriate.

What I am suggesting is that Spenser's elegy on Douglas Howard provided Marvell with the genre, pastoral allegory, in which to cast his elegy on the king. More specifically, I believe that Marvell took from Spenser the idea of representing the person being mourned by an animal described in hyperbolic terms, the idea of a spousal relationship (actual in Spenser, metaphoric in Marvell), and the whiteness of the animal.

Marvell's fawn has feet that are "more soft, / And white" than "any Ladies of the Land" (lines 60-62). It is so white that it blends invisibly into the lilies (lines 77-82); the Nymph speculates that "Had it liv'd long, it would have been '/ Lillies without, Roses within" (lines 91-92). At the end of the poem, the nymph says that the fawn's statue shall be made from alabaster, because she will have his "Image be / White as I can, though not as Thee" (lines 121-22).[13] Similarly, Spenser's "faire young Lionesse" is "White as the natiue Rose before the chaunge, / Which Venus blood did in her leues impresse" (lines 107-109).[14] The "youthfull sports and kindlie wantonesse" (line 111) of Spenser's lioness parallel the playful behavior of Marvell's fawn (lines 40-44; 63-70). Sylvio brings the fawn to the nymph "ty'd in this silver Chain and Bell" (line 28); Alcyon caught his white lioness "disporting on the greene / And brought away fast bound with siluer chaine" (lines 118-19). The fawn becomes the nymph's playmate and constant companion (lines 37-43; 63-69; 76-87); the lioness is Alcyon's companion and helper.

The death of the lioness is as sudden and "wanton" as that of the fawn, and her master is as inconsolable as the fawn's mistress, who feels that the fawn is of incomparable worth and that its loss will mean her own death. Finally, the nymph's transformation into a weeping statue is paralleled by Alcyon's assertion that no heart can be so hard that it will not "poure forth fountaines of incessant teares" (line 247) for his loss, and that Daphne's dying words are "deepe engrauen in my brest" (line 296).[15]

Both in Spenser's poem and in Chaucer's .Book of the Duchess, the speaker eventually asks the mourner why he makes "this woo" for a mere "fers," or chess queen (The Book of the Duchess, line 741) or why a "man . . . should to a beast his noble hart embase" (Daphnaida, line 180). And in both cases, the questioner is told that the object of the mourning is really the wife of the Man in Black (called Alcyon in Spenser), thus satisfying the requirement of decorum.

In Marvell's poem, however, there is no frame surrounding a dream vision: no one asks the nymph why she makes this fuss about a mere animal, and neither the mourning nymph nor the poet provides an answer to the identity of the fawn. But if we recognize Daphnaida as one of the poems influencing "The Nymph Complaining," then we may also find it probable that the fawn (like the lioness) stands for an actual, historical person. I am arguing that Marvell inverted the situation of the bereaved husband, as treated by Chaucer and Spenser, to write an allegory in which the speaker is a wife mourning her dead "husband," the king.

Spenser used a white lioness to symbolize Douglas Howard because a white lion is present in the crest of her ancestors.[16] We may ask whether there is a heraldic connection between Charles and the fawn? In fact, both roses and a species of lily, the fleur-delis, figure in Charles's heraldry.[17] The flowers are doubly appropriate because of their symbolic significance. While the most common symbolic significance of roses and lilies is sexual passion and sexual innocence, they can also signify a different kind of passion--martyrdom--and innocence. The kinds of flowers found in the garden--which are also the fawn's food, bed, and the terms of its proposed but never realized metamorphosis--are thus properly emblematic of the innocent victim, and they appear in many poems on the king's death.[18]

Considering the parallels with Daphnaida, the fawn itself offers the most important heraldic connection to Charles I. There are no deer in Charles's armor: however, during the Civil War period, frequent comparisons were made between Charles I and another unfortunate king, Richard II, whose White Hart Badge was well known.[19] In Majestas Intemerata, or The Immortality of the King (1649), John Cleveland cites the case of Richard II as comparable to the situation of Charles I. He quotes the Bishop of Carlisle, John Merks, who stated that Richard should not have been touched by his subjects since he was "the Lords anointed."[20] Christopher Hill also stresses the many similarities between the two monarchs,[21] citing the analogy between Richard H (III.iii.4247) and a passage in "An Horatian Ode." One might also compare Richard's statement (in the same play) that "not all the water in the rough rude sea / Can wash the balm off an anointed King" to the nymph's complaint, with its clearly christological overtones, that even if the troopers should wash their "guilty hands" in the fawn's blood, "Yet could they not be clean: their Stain / Is dy'd in such a Purple Grain" (lines 18-22). Considering the often-referred-to similarities between these kings, I find it entirely possible that Marvell should have conflated the two figures.

Some of the similarities between Spenser's treatment of the white lioness and Marvell's of the fawn, such as the hyperbolic expressions of praise and grief, are pastoral commonplaces. It is the similarity of situation (without the frame) that makes the connection convincing. If we can accept that Daphnaida was one of Marvell's models, the next step must be to marshal further evidence that the fawn in fact represents Charles I. I suggest that the whiteness of the fawn, stressed throughout the poem, is a decisive clue to its allegorical meaning.

As I mentioned above, Charles was commonly known as the White King. J.G. Muddiman notes, "Few of the older chronicles omit to tell their readers that at his [Charles's] coronation, which took place upon Candlemas Day, 1626, the King was dressed in white the colour of innocency, in lieu of the Royal purple worn by his predecessors."[22]

One of those "older chroniclers" is Peter Heylyn, who served as chaplain first to Charles I and then to Charles II. Heylyn writes: "It was observed also, that his Majesty on that day was cloathed in White, contrary to the Custom of his Predecessors, who were on that day clad in Purple."[23]

Another was Sir John Herbert, whose account of the king's funeral refers to him as "the white King":

This is memorable, that at such a time as the King's Body was brought out of S. George's Hall; the Sky was serene and clear, but presently it began to snow, and fell so fast, as by that time they came to the West-end of the Royal Chappel, the black Velvet-Pall was all white (the colour of Innocency) being thick covered over with Snow. So went the white King to his Grave, in the 48th Year of his Age, and the 22d Year and 10th Month of his Reign.[24]

Again, in The True History of King James I and King Charles I, (1651), the astrologer William Lilly comments at some length on a prophecy he put forth in 1644 (in a treatise entitled A Prophecy of the White King) which says, "When the Lyon of Rightfulnesse is dead, there shall rise a White King in Brittaine."[25] He now observes, "I shall make it very clearly to appear, That all, or most of our Ancient English, Welsh, and Saxon Prophecies, had Relation to Charles Stuart, late King of England." Emphasizing that never before was "any King crowned in White Apparel but King Charles" Lilly proceeds to explain the prophecy, clause by clause, concluding:

The Occasion of the Prophet's calling him White King, was this; the Kings of England anciently did wear the Day of their Coronation Purple Cloaths, being a Colour only fit for Kings . . . but that contrary unto this Custom, and led unto it by the direct and fatal Advice of William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, he [Charles] was persuaded to Apparel himself the Day of his Coronation in a White Garment.[26]

As these excerpts demonstrate, the whiteness of the King's coronation robes was remarked on both before and after the regicide and the color was perceived as symbolic of Charles I.

In The Book of the Duchess and Daphnaida, the speaker's loss of (respectively) a white fers and a white lioness is first cloaked in allegory, then explicated as a husband mourning the death of his wife. As noted above, the situation is used in "The Nymph Complaining" with some important differences: first, the "frame," with its explanation of the allegory, is missing; second, the mourner is now female, the object of mourning male; third, the spousal situation itself is metaphorical rather than literal. Also, in Chaucer and Spenser both mourner and object are actual people; iMarvell, the fawn stands for an actual person, but the nymph is a personification of England or of the English people.[27] When the monarch receives a ring at his coronation, this is a symbol of his marriage to his people. The familiar metaphor of a monarch as spouse of his or her nation, which Queen Elizabeth I exploited so skillfully,[28] is of course modeled on the conception of Christ as the Heavenly Spouse. So understood, this metaphor helps account for the christological allusions in "The Nymph Complaining."

In the case of Charles, a number of texts comment on this spousal relationship. Heylyn's account of Charles's coronation notes that the king's white coronation robes signified "that virgin purity with which he came to be espoused to his kingdom."[29] Also, many sermons and poems on Charles's death lament the "widowed" state of the nation. The Subjects Sorrow (preached 30 January 1648/49) exclaims, "But now the glory is departed from (our) Israel, the Arke of God is taken, and how is England become a Widow?"[30] In Englands Sonnets for her beloved King, England proclaims, "I am a Widdow, wedded to distresse."[31] Several poems in Monumentum Regale also use this popular trope: "An Elegy," for example, calls the regicide a "crime [which] hath widdowed our whole Nation."[32]

Connected with the idea of the king as husband to his people, even as Christ is the spouse of the Christian congregation, is the idea of a monarch as Christ's viceroy on earth and thus a divine, or at least semidivine, being. This commonplace of English political thought[33] is often encountered in the sermon literature during and after the Civil War as well as in poems lamenting the regicide. "Kings are Gods once removed" is a pithy formulation of this ubiquitous concept.[34] "The Nymph Complaining" contains several specific references to Christ: the echoes from Canticles are christological, as is the nymph's statement that "There is not such another in / The world, to offer for our sin" (lines 23-24). Other phrases identify the fawn as martyr: the nymph's observation that the fawn dies "as calmely as a Saint" (line 94), and her intention of making the fawn's tears into a relic.

Whether or not Richard II's White Hart Badge influenced Marvell's choice of animal in the poem, a deer is especially appropriate because it combines the qualities of royal dignity with those of submissive victim. In "An Horatian Ode" Marvell presents Charles as the hunted and Cromwell as the hunter who

wove a Net of such a scope,
That Charles himself might chase
To Caresbrooks narrow case.
(lines 50-52)

The meekness and acquiescence with which Charles went to his death were much commented on in contemporary writings: this was one of the circumstances which contributed to the creation of the myth of the Royal Martyr. The Cry of the Royal Innocent Blood, for instance, describes how "meekly [Charles] layed down his head,"[35] language almost identical to that in Marvell's "Horatian Ode" (lines 63-64). The identification of Charles as Christ and martyr can be documented from an array of contemporary sources. The titles alone of some sermons and poems are sufficiently telling. One sermon, preached by the bishop of Down and Connoe before Charles II at Breda in June 1649, bears the title The Martyrdome of King Charles or, his conformity with Christ in his Sufferings.[36] A poem in Momumentum Regale, "An Elegie Upon King CHARLES the First, murthered publikely by His Subjects," makes the same identification in a more concise and elegant manner:

Where my Faith resting on th' Originall,
Supports it self in this the Copies fall.[37]

These conceptions of Charles--as Christ, as a "copy" or viceroy of Christ, and as martyr--overlap. The public reaction arising from this identification was, in many instances, fear: what would God do to punish this heinous and impious act against his anointed? The fears are reflected in many contemporary texts: "Caroli" considers that "And so our Sovereign's, like our Saviors Passion, / Becomes a kind of Doomsday to the nation."[38] In "An Horatian Ode," Marvell refers to those widespread fears, which even affected prominent Parliamentarians, when he says, "A bleeding Head where they begun, / Did fright the Architects to run" (lines 69-70).[39] The nymph doubts that her "simple prayers" (line 9) will avert the retribution to come, since "Heavens King / Keeps register of every thing" (lines 13-14). Such similarities show that the Christ-Charles analogy was common in the period and that expressions comparable to those used by Marvell about the fawn were used by other writers about Charles.

Referring to the first twenty-four lines of "The Nymph Complaining," Edward LeComte states, "If the poem continued in this strain, we should have a right to suspect allegory."[40] I suggest that the pastoral setting of the rest of the poem argues even more strongly for it as allegory, since pastoral is a traditional vehicle for political commentary.[41] Marvell is in no way unique in choosing the pastoral mode to lament the regicide: he is only more obscure than other poets on this topic, who usually explain their allegories. One example, probably written later than Marvell's poem, is an anonymous poem published in the Hague in 1654, Stipendiarae Lacrymae.[42] This pastoral elegy on the death of Charles presents some interesting analogies to "The Nymph Complaining."

The poem proper begins with a dream vision reminiscent of Chaucer's and Spenser's: the dreamer-narrator wakes up in "a Diapred field" and is told that he has arrived in "Elizium" (I.xv). Then follows an introduction to the inhabitants of the place, which include Royalists dead in the Civil War, "Albina's brave legitimate sons" (I.xxviii) who "both Soldiers and State Martyrs were" (I.xxxiv). The bravest of the brave, and the most martyred of the martyred is, of course, Charles I. He is discovered sitting on "a triangular Throne, erected of / Brave Cavaliers hearts" (I.xxxv) adorned with emblematic flowers:

Above were stuck the Roses of both hues,
(The White that became Red, by dabling in
The Red, that White, by losing so much juice)
Mixt, and united, as them oft Ive seen
In their dumb history, Loves blushing Queen.
The Thistle, whose down rides on'th'wind so far,
And Lillies, that spin not, kist each other there.

In the second part of the poem, "guilty night" and a wild, mountainous landscape have replaced the Arcadian one. The contrast between the edenic "then" and the anarchic "now" is underscored:

Whil'st the Halcion built her nest upon our coast,
This hill was cloth'd with flocks, now made a Prey
To the wild fury of a plundering Host.

In this "Vale of Woe" we find dark willows, "widdow'd" turtle doves, and "Phaetons sisters . . . / Changed into Poplar trees by griefs and Verse" (II.x, xi). In the last section of the poem, "Three portly Ladies ringing of their hands" appear (II.xv); they wear black, red, and white ribbons in their hair "to evidence / They mourned the spilt bloud of Innocence" (II. xvi). The first one, distinguished by the roses she is shedding, is Albina (whose grief is at least as extravagant as the nymph's); the second, with a thistle, is Scota; the third, Iernia, carries a harp.

Like other texts of the period, this poem illustrates the beatification of Charles. The pastoral setting resembles that of "The Nymph Complaining." The ladies' expressions of grief are similar to those of the nymph, and the allegorized figures of England, Scotland, and Ireland are reminiscent of the way Marvell has personified England as the nymph. The reference to "Phaetons sisters . . . / Changed into Poplar trees" (ii.xi) may be compared with the "brotherless Heliades" who "melt in such Amber Tears as these" (lines 99-100) in "The Nymph Complaining." There is a suggestion of metamorphosis in Marvell's lines: the first of the fawn's projected metamorphoses, into roses and lilies (lines 91-92), blends into the suggestion of beatification in the next lines and then into the Heliades reference. The last projected metamorphosis concerns both the nymph and the fawn, who will turn into companion statues: the Ovidian fauna-flora metamorphosis suggested earlier has been replaced, now that the nymph accepts the fawn's death, by a metamorphosis into stone: the nymph will be a monument to the fawn and the fawn, supposedly, to himself. Both those concepts--the mourner being turned into a statue by grief and the poem as a monument to the mourned--are common in elegiac verse. There are many examples among the poems on the death of Charles, and the Niobe image is frequently used.[43] Moreover, the idea of couching a complaint for Charles in pastoral terms is not unique to these two poems[44] although, as in Stipendariae Lachrymae, the allegory of these pastoral examples is spelled out, while Marvell's is not.

I have mentioned Stipendiariae Lachrymae as one of Marvell's models and pointed out how the mourning spouse in Daphnaida is reflected in contemporary texts which describe the regicide as an act which widowed the nation; I have also shown that there are a number of texts, both sermons and poems, that make Charles into a martyr and a type of Christ. A fascinating, exactly contemporaneous, comment by Hobbes in Leviathan illustrates the fusion of literary and historical ideas that I believe occasioned "The Nymph Complaining."

And yet in this wild ranging of the mind, a man may oft-times perceive the way of it, and the dependence of one thought upon another. For in a Discourse of our present civill war, what could seem more impertinent, than to ask (as one did) what was the value of a Roman Penny? Yet the Cohaerence to me was manifest enough. For the Thought of the warre, introduced the Thought of the delivering up of the King to his Enemies; the Thought of that, brought in the Thought of the delivering up of Christ; and that again the Thought of the 80 pence, which was the price of that treason; and hence easily followed that malicious question, and all this in a moment of time; for Thought is quick.[45]

Hobbes's passage shows clearly that at the time of writing (Leviathan was first published in 1651) he expected thoughts of the Civil War and the regicide to be at the forefront of men's minds; it also shows that these events were expected to evoke thoughts of Christ's betrayal and death.

Before proceeding further, I should address an issue which has proved a stumbling block for many readers disposed to seek an allegorical interpretation of Marvell's poem: who is Sylvio and what is his function in the poem? The only things we know definitely about Sylvio are: he is a huntsman; he gave the fawn to the nymph; he left her; the fawn succeeded him in the nymph's affections. As with the fawn itself, I suggest that Sylvio stands for an actual, historic personage. The obvious "giver" of the fawn is James I: the father-child overtones of the Sylvio-fawn relationship, the Heliades reference, which makes the fawn into a son of the Sun,[46] the description of Sylvio as the Fawn's predecessor, and Sylvio's character of "Huntsman" (line 31) all combine to make this supposition credible.

Contemporary as well as later writers comment on James's devotion to hunting, particularly deer hunting. The seventeenth-century historian Francis Osborne refers to James as "this Sylvan Prince," concluding: "I shall leave him dres'd to posterity in the colours I saw him in the next Progresse after his Inauguration, which was as Greene as the grass he trod on, with a Fether in his Cap, and a Horne instead of a Sword by his side."[47] Osborne also summarizes the effect of James's actions on his son's fate in suggestive terms:

I found not only the imprudent Commissions, voluntary Omissions of King James so much instrumental in the promotion of our present evills, as may justly be said, He, like Adam, by bringing the Crowne into so great a Necessity through a profuse prodigality, became the originall of his Son's Fall: who was in a manner compelled to stretch out his hands toward such gatherings and Taxes, as are contrary to Law; by which he fell from the Paradise of a Prince, to wit, the hearts of his people.[48]

I think it is justifiable to draw certain parallels between the nymph's pastoral paradise and that "Paradise of a Prince . . . the hearts of his people" of which Osborne speaks.

The allegorical interpretation I have proposed fits the most striking traits of the two kings: James is a sylvan hunter dressed in green, carelessly bequeathing both son and deluge to the country which, in a sense, he had betrayed. Charles is the acquiescent sacrifice, a "copy" of Christ whose death, instead of bringing about redemption, is totally ineffectual, resulting only in sterile monuments. As an individual, Charles was not blameless for the fate that befell him; it is, however, necessary to make a distinction between the king's mortal and immortal body. Ernst H. Kantorowicz remarks that "in this sense, Charles I in the flesh could be dismissed to Oxford, but his haloed' ratio in the shape of his seal image remained in Parliament."[49] Charles's head could be severed from his mortal body, but the ratio, the "idea" of a king, remained to inspire awe. As a type, the slain ruler exacts eulogy: "Had it liv'd long, it would have been / Lillies without, Roses within" (lines 91-92). As an individual, on the other hand, Charles was not totally reliable--and we note that the nymph, in spite of her hyperbolic praise, does not completely trust the fawn:

Had it liv'd long, I do not know
Whether it too might have done so
As Sylvio did.
(lines 47-49)

One cannot, of course, equate the feeligs to which the nymph gives vent in the poem with Marvell's: we must take into account that she is the speaker throughout. Marvell's allegory lacks the explanatory frame of Chaucer's and Spenser's elegies: it also lacks the detached, objective speaker of "An Horatian Ode." Only bereaved England is speaking in the poem: the situation is seen completely from the mourner's point of view. Even so, as we have seen, she has certain, quickly suppressed doubts about the fawn's perfection. It is worth noting, contra those critics who see "The Nymph Complaining" as simply the story of frustrated love,[50] that her complaint is about the loss of the fawn, not about Sylvio's defection.

When one compares Marvell's poem with the sources and prototypes suggested by D.C. Allen,[51] the most striking thing is how dissimilar "The Nymph Complaining" is to the poems he cites. The resemblances between Marvell's fawn and these laments for dead pets are superficial; they share elements such as praise for the animal's beauty and decorative details such as the "Silver chain and Bell" (line 28), but Marvell's treatment is radically different. There is more similarity between his poem and the deer killings committed by Agamemnon and Ascanius.

In both these instances, the killings have dire consequences: Agamemnon's act is the direct cause both of his murder by Clytemnestra and of hers by Orestes, and Ascanius's killing of Silvia's deer touches off the war between the Trojans and the Latins. The nymph also envisions possible disaster, just as the "Architects" of the new state ("An Horatian Ode," lines 69-70) and many contemporary preachers and pamphleteers did.

It might seem strange that Marvell, Milton's friend and Fairfax's employee, who offered his services to Cromwell's government in 1653, should write a lament on the king's death, either while he was in Fairfax's employ or not long before. "An Horatian Ode" evidences a certain sympathy for the defeated king, but in contrast to the evenhandedness of the "Ode," "The Nymph Complaining" has nothing but regret for the slaying of the fawn. It is important to reiterate that one cannot simply equate the nymph's feelings with her creator's. It is also necessary to consider her naivete'--her exaggerated grief: it is possible to see a critique of the nation's overblown response to the regicide here, which would parallel the evenhanded analysis of the "Horatian Ode." Still, there remains the problem of a seemingly pro-Royalist poem by a man considered to be a parliamentarian.

Marvell's political sympathies have been much discussed, especially following the publication of John Wallace's Destiny his Choice in 1968.[52] The prevailing view seems to be that, although Marvell's sympathies were mainly parliamentarian, he had friends in both camps and, perhaps, divided loyalties. Christopher Hill remarks that "Marvell's connections in the sixteen-forties seem to have been royalist rather than parliamentarian."[53] Nicholas Guild, disagreeing with Wallace's theory that Marvell switches his political sympathies after the regicide, says, "It is not enough to say that Marvell was probably appalled by the execution of the King; he probably was, but so was Thomas Lord Fairfax. To designate as 'loyalist' everyone who wished the regicide had never happened and yet eventually. managed to reconcile himself to Cromwell's authority is to create a category so all-inclusive as to be practically useless."[54] Guild's object in comparing Marvell and Fairfax is to stop us from drawing conclusions about Marvell's alleged "royal-ism" either from the poems written in the 1640s or from "An Horatian Ode." I would like to make a different point: General Fairfax's objections to the king's trial and execution are well known, and it is very probable that his views influenced those of the younger man, his daughter's tutor. It seems impossible for the two men not to have discussed the regicide. "Upon Appleton House," presumably written at the Fairfaxes' country seat at a time when the young poet and the retired general were in daily contact, has several passages that deal with the Civil War and with the regicide, both overtly and covertly.[55] In his poem, "On the Fatal day Jan. 30: 1648," Fairfax says, "Oh lett that Day from time be blotted quitt",[56] in his memoirs we find the following statement: "My afflicted and troubled Mind for it [the king's trial and execution], and my earnest Endevours to prevent it, will, I hope sufficiently testify my dislike and abhorrence of the Fact."[57]

Fairfax may not have arrived at quite this point in the early fifties, but there can be no doubt about his objections to the execution of the king. I suggest that Guild's comment can be extended to include the statement that one does not have to be a true-blue royalist to feel sympathy for the king, or fear for the nation, nor do parliamentary leanings exclude such feelings.

The intent of the previous discussion has been to demonstrate that there is nothing against Marvell having written a pastoral elegy on the regicide, delivered by a proroyalist speaker. The next question, of course, concerns the reasons for Marvell to have written an allegory on the death of King Charles. The topic was certainly much discussed between 1649 and 1652, the period in which Marvell presumably wrote "The Nymph Complaining" as well as most of his other lyrics; we know from "An Horatian Ode" that Marvell had thought about the regicide and the issues of power and powerlessness. Marvell's reasons for using such a "dark conceit" as he did may have been political--we have to remember that Marvell never published "An Horatian Ode" and that publishing, or even writing a poem sympathetic to the king would not have been without risk in the period.[58]

I see the nymph as personifying the grieving and apprehensive English nation, the troopers the Parliamentary forces, and the nymph's overgrown garden England itself.[59] Reading "The Nymph Complaining" as a historical allegory of the regicide does not, of course, deny other levels of meaning in the poem. However, this reading alone takes in the disparate elements of the poem: the pastoral ones, connected both with Charles as a romance king and with allegory; the christological ones, including the echoes from Canticles; the political allusions, contained in "troopers" and in the echoes from the Aeneid. The comparisons I have made with Stipendariae Lachrymae and other texts on the regicide demonstrate that pastoral allegory was a genre used by Marvell's contemporaries to lament the death of the king. Those critics, from Eliot on, who have seen. something beyond a simple love or pet story in the poem, who perceived its aura of allegory, have been right: but only a contextual reading of contemporary materials can provide convincing support for the reading I have advanced.

Typical of Marvell is the fact that the final tableau depicts not a heavenly ascent but a metamorphosis into stone: a monument, which signifies death.[60] All that the fawn's death has accomplished is the creation of a monument--similarly, what Charles's death accomplished was the creation of the legend of the Royal Martyr. In retrospect, the nymph's tears transform Marvell's pastoral elegy into a monument erected by the poet for a monarch whose flawed inheritance still, like the flawed garden of the nymph, represented "that Paradise of a Prince . . . the hearts of his people."

The reluctance of so many critics to accept an allegorical reading of "The Nymph Complaining" may not be due simply to inconsistencies in the suggested allegories themselves: it may also have to do with a reluctance to replace the literal level of charming pastoral with an abstract and arid-seeming allegory. We have to remember, though, that even in the poem the pastoral idyll is in the past: the nymph's garden has proved an unsafe refuge, desecrated in turn by Sylvio and the troopers. The poem starts abruptly with the incursion of the troopers and the mortal wounding of the fawn. In the poem's present, the fawn is already dying. In a sense, the destructive Civil War had turned all of Charles's subjects into "deodands": in the poem, both the troopers and Sylvio are responsible for the fawn's death, although in Sylvio's case, the responsibility is indirect: he left the nymph and the fawn unprotected, as James I's policies exposed his son and his country to danger. The regret for the nymph's pastoral existence is analogous to regret for the vanished paradise of pre-Civil War England; the regret for the fawn's death is also a regret for the "antient Rights" ("An Horatian Ode," line 88) that have been butchered. England, the "Paradise of the four Seas" has been changed into "a rude heap together hurl'd" ("Upon Appleton House," stanzas 41,96). The execution of the king, represented by Marvell in the death of the fawn, became a fitting emblem for the loss of the pastoral world.

Several impulses combined in the generation of Marvell's pastoral lyric: Daphnaida, which generated the animal allegory used for a spousal situation and combined with the event of the regicide to fashion historical allegory; the Aeneid, which combined with the Civil War; and Canticles, perhaps combined with popular literature of the time, used to stress Charles as Christ's vice-regent.

"The Nymph Complaining" is one in a series of Marvell poems which Concern themselves, more or less openly, in whole or in part, with the regicide: "An Horatian Ode," "Upon Appleton House," and, as Annabel Patterson and Margarita Stocker suggest, "The Unfortunate Lover."[61] Patterson considers that "metaphors of violence derived from the pious hyperboles of Hermann Hugo and Otto Van Veen are pushed in The Unfortunate Lover to unprecedented extremes,"[62] likewise, conventional literary treatments of garden topoi are pushed to extremes in "The Garden,"[63] and utterances of elegaic mourning are pushed to extremes in "The Nymph Complaining."

"An Horatian Ode" deals openly with the regicide; in "Upon Appleton House," references are more allusive. In "The Unfortunate Lover," they are cryptic; in "The Nymph Complaining" the regicide is the covert topic of its allegory. "The Unfortunate Lover," like "Damon the Mower"--where the mower's love complaint is commented on by an uninvolved speaker--belongs to what Rosalie Colie, in her subtitle to "My Ecchoing Song," calls Marvell's "poetry of criticism." The exaggerated stance of the personae in those two poems is criticized by means of the hyperbolic expressions used, in the first poem by the poet, in the second by the mower himself. In "The Nymph Complaining," the qualities of the fawn and the nymph's sorrow are expressed hyperbolically: as we have seen, her extravagant eulogy echoes the terms used in contemporary elegies on the king's death. Behind the nymph stands the figure of the ironic poet, using an elegy of his own to examine the overblown literary expressions of the nation's grief. In the figure of the dolorous nymph, the nation also is criticized for abandoning itself to mourning. Such regrets are futile and can only result in petrification, in stasis.[64] Against the nymph's cry that "Heavens King / Keeps register of every thing" (lines 14-15) must be set the assurance, in "An Horatian Ode," that in Charles's "bleeding Head . . . the State / Foresaw it's happy Fate" (lines 69-72). It is time for grief and apprehension to cease and for the nation to view its destiny in a positive way, to "presume / While Victory his Crest does plume" (lines 97-98).

But although the poet, as Colie says, "deplores the nymph's narrowness of vision," he also "appreciates her sweetness and her taste, and makes us acknowledge the power and appeal of her aesthetic sensibility."[65] The nymph is not simply censured for her "narrowness"; there is also sympathy for her point of view and regret for the--in retrospect--pastoral pre-Civil War days.[66] The speaker in "The Nymph Complaining" may be naive, but the poem itself, and the attitudes it embodies, are as complex as those of "An Horatian Ode" and "Upon Appleton House."


1 The research for this article was done at the Huntington Library, San Marino, CA, and at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C.

2 In Andrew Marvell: A Reference Guide (Boston: G.K. Hall, 1981), Dan S. Collins lists 63 items--books and articles--dealing with this poem after 1921, the year in which T.S. Eliot's essay "Andrew Marvell" was first published (in the Times Literary Supplement, 31 March 1921, pp. 201-202). It has been reprinted in Selected Essays, 1917-1932. (London: Faber and Faber, 1932) and in a revised edition (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1964, pp. 251-63), which is the one quoted here. Eliot calls the poem a "slight affair, the feeling of a girl for her pet" but adds that it has "a connection with that inexhaustible and terrible nebula of emotion which surrounds all our exact and practical passions and mingles with them" (Selected Essays, p. 286).

3 Anthony Low, Love's Architecture: Devotional Modes in Seventeenth-Century English Poetry (New York: New York Univ. Press, 1978), p. 248.

4 Kenneth Muir, "A Virgilian Echo in Marvell," N&Q 196 (1951):115; Edward S. LeComte, "Marvell's 'The Nymph Complaining for the Death of Her Fawn,'" MP 50 (1952):97-101; Nicholas Guild, "Marvell's 'The Nymph Complaining for the Death of her Faun,'" MLQ 29 (1968):385-94. For a review of the criticism of this poem, see Edward LeComte, Poets' Riddles: Essays in Seventeenth-Century Explication (Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press, 1975), pp. 161-79.

5 Everett H. Emerson, "Andrew Marvell's 'The Nymph Complaining for the Death of her Faun,'" Etudes Anglaises 8 (1955):107-110.

6 M.C. Bradbrook and M.G. Lloyd Thomas, Andrew Marvell (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1940), pp. 47-50.

7 Geoffrey H. Hartman, "'The Nymph Complaining for the Death of Her Faun': A Brief Allegory," EIC 18 (1968):113-35.

8 Pierre Leguois counters Emerson in Etudes Anglaises 8 (1955):11-12; Edward S. LeComte (while disagreeing with all allegorical interpretations) specifically attacks the christological interpretation of Bradbrook and Lloyd Thomas (Poets' Riddles, pp. 165-70); in "My Ecchoing Song," (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1970), Rosalie L. Colie points out a major flaw m Hartman's argument (p. 88, n. 6a). LeComte's view is that a literal reading of the poem is perfectly satisfactory, that "the poem does not need to be made more interesting than it is" (p. 174); one might counter with Angus Fletcher's statement in Allegory (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1964) that "The whole point of allegory is that it does not need to be read exegetically; it often has a literal level that makes good enough sense all by itself. But somehow this literal surface suggests a peculiar doubleness of intention, and while it can, as it were, get along without interpretation, it becomes much richer and more interesting if given interpretation" (p. 7). In a recent study, Voice Terminal Echo: Postmodernism and English Renaissance Texts (New York: Methuen, 1986), Jonathan Goldberg talks about allegory in connection with "The Nymph Complaining" (passim, but especially pp. 29-30); he concludes, however, that "the text is not really 'about' something else" (p. 37).

9 As Annabel Patterson says in Censorship and Interpretation, there was a frequent "assumption that Renaissance pastoral carries a hidden message" (Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 1984, p. 175); in The Collected Essays of Christopher Hill, 3 vols. (Brighton: Harvester Press, 1985), Hill asserts that "late sixteenth and early seventeenth-century practitioners of allegory and pastoral were clear about their political usefulness" (1:54).

10 See my dissertation, "Spenserian Echoes in the Poetry of Andrew Marvell" (Brown Univ., 1970). Barbara K. Lewalski first drew my attention to the similarity between the two poems.

11 The OED lists the first occurrence of "troopers" as 1649. Emerson points out that "troopers" refers to the Parliamentary soldiers.

12 This suggestion was first made in my dissertation; Bruce King, in Marvell's Allegorical Poetry (New York: Oleander Press, 1977), says "it would be easy to show how passages in Marvell's poem could allude to the King" (Appendix, p. 184), and that "the typological meaning of the Nymph would thus include the faithful of the Anglican Church. The final section of the poem alludes to the Church statues and altars then being destroyed by the extreme puritans" (Appendix, p. 185). King concludes that he does not "wish to argue strongly for the analogy between the death of the Faun and King Charles as I do not feel it can be proved" (Appendix, p. 185). In Marvell and the Civic Crown (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1978), Annabel M. Patterson asserts that "most readers, alerted by the 'wanton Troopers' who were responsible for the fawn's death, have sensed, but been unable to define, a political ambience." She sees the poem as expressing a transformed "experience of deep political sadness with sacrificial overtones" (p. 28).

13 Quotations from Marvell's poetry are from the second edition of The Poems and Letters of Andrew Marvell, ed. H.M. Margoliouth, 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1951), vol. 1.

14 Quotations from Spenser's poem are from The Works of Edmund Spenser: A Variorum Edition, ed. Edwin Greenlaw et al., 10 vols. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1943), 7.

15 Another Spenser passage, in which a nymph, fleeing from "Dan Faunus," asks Diana for help and is transformed into a weeping statue (The Faerie Queene, II.ii), may also have influenced the end of Marvell's poem. The mourner transformed into a statue is of course a convention, as is the way Marvell's fawn meets its death. Agamemnon shoots Diana's deer; Silvia's deer, like Spenser's lioness, is shot.

16 Boutell's Heraldry, rev. C.W. Scott-Giles (London: Fredrick Warne, 1966) mentions that' the Howard support was a white lion (p. 167); the Variorum edition of Spenser says that "Douglas Howard, the lady here lamented, was descended, as well as the Gorges, from the Dukes of Norfolk. . . . Now we may recollect, that a white lion is one of the Duke of Norfolk's supporters" (7:484).

17 Boutell describes Charles's badge as displaying "the conjoined red and white rose . . . [and] a fleur-de-lis" (p. 214).

18 One example is the poem, "In Regales Nuptias," which reads (in part):

Lilia Rosis, Rosis Lilia
Naeniis mutua deflent exilia.
Lilia juncta Rosis; Rosa regia junxil Irinis;
Charafuit Carolo Clara Maria suo.

The poem is printed in Albion's Niobe (p. 42), which is part of The Princely Pellican (1649; no place of publication or publisher given). Like the roses and lilies, the swans, turtledoves, and ermines among which the fawn will dwell in Elyzium (lines 106-109) have significance which works on several levels. Swans and ermines are symbols of royalty; all four animals are used as symbols of Christ.

  • 19 Boutell says that "some [heraldic badges] like Richard II's white hart . . . were so popular that they were hung outside taverns and are still in use as inn-signs" (p. 163). The badge (shown in Boutell's illustration no. 328, p. 164) is described as "a white hart lodged, ducally gorged and chained or" (p. 209). It is possible that the somewhat amusing picture Marveil gives us of the fawn feeding on roses and turning into "Lillies without" may owe something to heraldic lore as well as to Canticles: Boutell says that "a lion's face is sometimes found with a fleur-de-lis thrust through the mouth and appearing at the top of the beast's head; it is then said to be jessant-delis" (p. 69); illustration 444 (p. 304) shows a leopard's face jessant-de-lis.
  • 20 John Cleveland, Majestas Intemerata, or the Immortality of the King (1649; no publisher or place of publication given), pp. 65-66.
  • 21 The Collected Essays of Christopher Hill, 1:12; in The Dial of Virtue (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1963), Ruth Nero says, "Two springs of traditional sentiment join to encourage the apotheosis of Charles I: faith, now strongly renewed, in divine right; and the sacrificial pathos with which the figure of the martyr-king, Charles, had become imbued. It will be remembered that Richard II had acquired Christological significance in the popular mind, as indeed according to the findings of modern anthropology, kings who have been killed invariably tend to do" (p. 142).
  • 22 J.G. Muddiman, The Trial of King Charles the First (Edinburgh and London: William Hodge, 1930), p. 10.
  • 23 Peter Heylyn, Cyprianus Anglicus (London: A. Seile, 1671), p. 148.
  • 24 Sir Tho. Herbert, Major Huntington, Col. Edw. Coke, and Mr. Hen. Firebrace, Memoirs of the Two Last Years of the Reign of that unparallell'd PRINCE, of ever blessed Memory, King CHARLES I (London: Robert Clavell, 1702), p. 143. Partly reprinted in The Trial of Charles I: A contemporary account taken from the memoirs of Sir Thomas Herbert and John Rushworth, ed. Roger Lockyer (London: The Folio Society, 1959), p. 146.
  • 25 William Lilly, A Prophecy of the White King and Dreadfull Dead-man Explaned (London: John Sherley and Thomas Underhill, 1644), p. 7.
  • 26 William Lilly, The True History of King James the First and King Charles the First (London: J. Roberts, 1715), pp. 81-82; 86.
  • 27 One might, of course, make a case for Henrietta Maria as representing the nymph or for the blending of the actual person of Henrietta Maria and a personification of the country in the figure of the nymph, but I prefer to see the nymph simply as England. Annabel Patterson cites a romance entitled Cloria and Narcissus, first published in 1653, which offers a similar instance of allegorizing. Patterson refers to Cloria as "an allegorical concept in the tradition of Barclay's Argenis, emblem of the crown of France" (Censorship and Interpretation, p. 192).
  • 28 In Poetry and Politics in the English Renaissance (London and Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1984), David Norbrook reminds us that "Elizabeth had liked to present herself as not needing to marry an individual because she was already married to England" (p. 88).
  • 29 Cyrianus Anglicus, p. 148.
  • 30 Robert Brown [supposed author], THE SUBJECTS SORROW, or, LAMENTATIONS Upon the Death of Britaines Iosiah King Charles (London, 1649; no publisher given), p. 31.
  • 31 John Quarles, Regale Lecture Miseriae, or, A Kingly Bed of Miserie, 2nd edn., "Printed in the Yeare 1649" (no publisher or place of publication given), p. 95.
  • 32 Monumentum Regale, or A TOMBE Erected for that incomparable and Glorious Monarch, CHARLES THE FIRST (1649; no publisher or year of publication given), p. 34.
  • 33 See Ernst H. Kantorowicz, The King's Two Bodies (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1957), pp. 42-86.
  • 34 Monumentum Regale, p. 28. Many contemporary writers mention that the Bible text appointed for the day, read to Charles before he mounted the scaffold, dealt with the passion of Christ. The appropriateness of the reading was taken by some as additional confirmation that Charles was indeed a type of Christ. Herbert's account is one of the most detailed: "being call'd in, the Bishop went to Prayer; and reading also the 27th Chapter of the Gospel of St Matthew, which relateth the Passion of our blessed Saviour. The King, after the service was done, ask'd the Bishop, If he had made choice of that Chapter, being so applicable to his present Condition? The Bishop reply'd, May it please your Gracious Majesty, it is the proper lesson for the Day, as appears by the Kalendar Memoirs" (p. 131). The concept of the "Royal Martyr" was made official on 25 January 1661, when Charles II proclaimed January 30th as a day of fast and humiliation; Charles the Martyr's Day was kept in the Prayerbook until 1859.
  • 35 William Asheton, The Cry of the Royal Innocent Blood (London: Daniel Brown, 1683), p. 123. England's Black Tribunal, sixth edn. (London: Bible and Crown in St. Paul's Churchyard, 1737) also stresses this aspect of the execution: "It must be dreadfully remembered, that the then cruel powers did suspect the King would not submit his head to the Block; and therefore, to bring him down by Violence to it, they had prepared Hooks . . . to hawl him as a Victim to the Slaughter. But, by the example of his savior, he resisted not; he disappointed their Wit, and yielded to their Malice" (p. 55).
  • 36 Henry L., Bishop of Down and Connoe, The Martyrdome of King Charles or, his Conformity with Christ in his Sufferings (The Hague: Samuel Brown, 1649). Copies of Eikon Basilike which include an emblem of Charles dropping his royal crown, wearing a crown of thorns, with a heavenly crown suspended above his head, also include an "Explanation o[ the Emblem" which says, in part, "With joy I take this Crowne of Thorne / Though sharp, yet easie to be borne." One of the many epitaphs on the king--one attributed both to James Howell and to John Hewett--calls Charles "thou earthly god, celestial man" and says that the reader will "find thee king and priest and prophet too." In the edition edited by Philip A. Knachel (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1966) this poem is found on p. 195. In his introduction, Knachel gives a list of the many editions Eikon Basilike went through in the first two years after the regicide; it is remarkable how fast the first printings of "the King's book" appeared. One might also add that the deer was frequently used as a Christ symbol. In Image and Meaning: Metaphoric Traditions in Renaissance Poetry (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1960), D.C. Allen notes that "the deer as a symbol of Christ was known to the Doctors of the Church"; as an example, he recounts the story in Malory of a hart turning into Christ (pp. 102-103).
  • 37 Monumentum Regale, p. 40. The frontispiece poem in The Subjects Sorrow emphasizes Charles as martyr:
Lo where K. Charls a Monarch Martyr lies,
His Kingdomes and the Churches Sacrifice:
His Crowne and Scepter glorious vanity
He waves, and hastens to Mount Calvarie,
Where taking up his Savior Christ his Crosse,
Angels him crown; good subjects waile His losse.
  • 38 Monumentum Regale, p. 21. As might be expected, post-Restoration texts are even more emphatic. "The Cry of the Royal Innocent Blood" says, "Thus by Murthering hands fell this blessed martyr, but Heavens Vengeance was not Mow in making it manifest, how Sacred Kings lives ought to be held" (p. 124). "And thus Heaven's Vengeance overtook the Regicides, and brought those monsters to their deserved Punnishents [sic] who durst stretch out their Bloody and Trayterous hands to the shedding Innocent Blood of the Lords Anointed" (p. 125).
  • 39 See Claude Summers, "The Frightened Architects of Marvell's Horatian Ode," Seventeenth Century News 28 (1970):4; in "The King on Trial: Judicial Poets and the Restoration Settlement" (Michigan Academician [1985]:375-88), Gerald MacLean notes that a characteristic of "poems written in 1649 on the execution of Charles is their constant anticipation of the future as a time of judgment" (p. 382).
  • 40 LeComte, p. 167.
  • 41 Hill reminds us that "A whole school of Spenserian poets continued to use pastoral as (among other things) a simple means of eluding censorship" (p. 55). (See also n. 9 above.) Patterson, writing about Fawnshawe's translation of II Pastor Fido, points out that "What made the pastoral romance serious, for Fanshawe, was its political relevance, not only to Guarini's Italy, but to his own country in 1647"; she also notes that the preface to the revised 1661 edition of Cloria and Narcissus makes explicit political concerns only hinted at in the 1653 edition (Censorship and Interpretation, pp. 175, 191-92).
  • 42 Stipendariae Lacrymae or, a Tribute of Teares (The Hague: Samuel Browne, 1654), p. 6.
  • 43 The Subjects Sorrow, for instance, says, "we shall all reade over, in the vast volumes of our approaching woes; and sorrows, as might transform us into Niobes, make our heads rivers of sorrows, and our eies fountains for continuall tears" (p. 32). A poem in Albion's Niobe speaks of "Deepe-forrowing teares" having "rivelled" the speaker's face; the tears will not "be wasted, for they shall / Resolve to Amber at his Funerall" (p. 37); in a similar manner, the tears and amber sequence in "The Nymph Complaining" ends in the nymph's avowal to make a relic [or "Diana's shrine" (line 104) of the fawn's tears.
  • 44 Two lesser examples are found in Regale Lectum: "A Dreame" and "An Elegy" are both dream visions.
  • 45 Leviathan, Pt. 1, ch. 3, ed. Michael Oakeshott (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1947), p. 14. My attention was drawn to this passage by R.I.V. Hodges, who quotes it in his Foreshortened Time (Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield, 1978), p. 57.
  • 46 The sun was a frequently used symbol for James I. Two representative instances occur in Ben Jonson's works: The Masque of Oberon describes the monarch as
he, that stayes the time from turning old,
And keepes the age vp in a head of gold.
That in his owne true circle, still doth runne;
And holds his course, as certayne as the sunne.

"A Panegyre on the Happie Entrance of James, Ovr Soveraigne, to His first High Session of Parliament in this his Kingdome, the 19. of March, 1603" calls James "the glory of our Westerne world," hurling "a thousand radiant lights, that stream / To euery nooke and angle of his realme" (Ben Jonson, ed. C.H. Herford, and Percy and Evelyn Simpson, 11 vols. [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1941], 7:353,113).

  • 47 Osborne's Traditional Memoirs #17. Quoted in Grismond's Historical Memoires on the Reigns of Queen Elizabeth and King James (London, 1658), p. 54.
  • 48 Grismond, pp. 2-3.
  • 49 Kantorowicz, The King's Two Bodies, p. 86. A Latin poem in Albion's Niobe expresses a similar sentiment:
Corpus Windsor habet, Westminster viscera condit,
Tignaq regali sanguine tincta rubent.
Urna tenet Cinerem, mentem Deus, aetera famam,
Sanguines ultorem Militis ira Deum.
  • 50 See D.C. Allen in Image and Meaning (pp. 165-86) and Harold C. Toliver in Marvell's Ironic Vision (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1965), pp. 129-37.
  • 51 Allen, Image and Meaning, pp. 93-114.
  • 52 In addition to the above-cited texts by Hill and Patterson, other writings by these two authors deal with Marvell's politics, as do some recent articles, for instance Nicholas Guild's "The Context of Marvell's early 'Royalist' Poems," SEL 20 [1980]:125-36), Gerard Reedy, S.J., "'An Horatian Ode' and 'Tom May's Death'" (SEL 20 [1980]:137-52), and Blair Worden's "The Politics of Marvell's Horatian Ode" (Historical Journal 27 [1984]:525-47).
  • 53 Hill, Selected Essays, 1:160.
  • 54 Guild, p. 36.
  • 55 Among the first critics to see connections between Marvell's country house poem and the Civil War were Maren-Sofie Rostvig in The Happy Man (Oslo: Akademiskt Forlag, 1954), D.C. Allen in Image and Meaning, and Ruth Nevo in The Dial of Virtue.
  • 56 "The Poems of Thomas Third Lord Fairfax," ed. Edward Bliss Reed, Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences 14 (1908-10):281.
  • 57 Short Memorials of Thomas Lord Fairfax, Written by Himself (London: Ri. Chiswell, 1699), p: 121. Fairfax's nephew, Brian Fairfax, writes in his "Epistle Dedicatory" to the Short Memorials: "His great Misfortune, and so he accounted it, was to be engaged in the Unhappy Wars, whereof he desired no other Memorial than the Act of Oblivion. . . . That most Tragical and Deplorable part 'of the Civil War, the Death of the King, he utterly from his Soul abhorred, and lamented to his dying day; and never mentioned it but with Tears in his Eyes" (pp. iv-v; vi).
  • 58 Patterson, for example, says, "It ought to be remembered that the Horatian Ode, approved by Eliot for its supposed detachment, was thought dangerous enough in 1681 to be cancelled from all but a few copies of Marvell's Miscellaneous Poems, surviving only by chance" (Censorship and Interpretation, p. 125).
  • 59 The overgrown garden, a common emblem for a disordered kingdom, makes still another connection between "The Nymph Complaining" and Richard H. In a well-known passage, the gardener in Richard H discourses on the "Noisome weeds which without profit suck / The soil's fertility from wholesome flowers" (III.iv). A servant in the same garden scene says:
Why should we in the compass of a pale
Keep law and form and due proportion,
Showing, as in a model, our firm estate
When our sea-walled garden, the whole land
Is full of weeds, her fairest flowers choked up,
Her fruit trees all unpruned, her hedges ruined,
Her knots disordered, and her wholesome herbs
Swarming with caterpillars?

  • 60 Goldberg's remark that "Allegory is the voice of death" (p. 30) may be apropos.
  • 61 The Civic Crown, pp. 20-25; Apocalyptic Marvell: The Second Coming in Seventeenth Century Poetry (Athens: Ohio Univ. Press, 1986), pp. 266-305.
  • 62 The Civic Crown, p. 21.
  • 63 See Colie, pp. 141-77.
  • 64 That the nymph's expectation is false is exemplified by the frustrated genre expectations in the poem: Silvio's betrayal is not avenged; the fawn is not actually metamorphosed into anything; the echoes from Canticles present us with a sacrificial victim whose death is totally nonefficacious.
  • 65 Colie, p. 132.
  • 66 Marvell's regret for pre-Civil War England is amply illustrated in "Upon Appleton House."



Yvonne L. Sandstroem is Professor of English at Southeastern Massachusetts University. She has translated four novels (by Lars Gustafsson; published by New Directions)and a number of poems, some of which have appeared in The New Yorker, from Swedish.