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Saturday 18 January 2014

Fact 2. Andrew Marvell Poet and MP. Son of Hull.

Andrew Marvell was not the inventor of American comic books. But a Metaphysical Poet and MP for Kingston upon Hull.

He was born to the east of Hull at Winestead. His Father, also Andrew, was the CofE Rector of that place. His son was born 31-Mar-1621. They moved to Hull when Senior got taken on as lecturer at Hull Trinity Church.

St. Germain's Church, Winestead
St Germain's Church Winstead. Andrew Marvell was christened here.

Andrew attended the Hull Grammar School that was later also attended by William Wilberforce. He left for Trinity College Cambridge when he was 13 and got a BA degree. In 1642 he went on the 'Grand Tour'. It is thought that this may have been as tutor to a rich patron. He stayed abroad until 1647 so missing the Civil War and came back speaking French, Italian, Spanish, Greek and Latin.

In 1650 he became a tutor for the daughter of Lord Fairfax who had just stood down from commanding the Parliamentary Army. In 1653 he became tutor to Oliver Cromwell's ward. In 1653 he joined John Milton as Latin Secretary to Cromwell's Council of State. In 1659 he was elected as MP for Kingston upon Hull and served as such until his death. he was said to be a good MP as he kept his constituents well informed, and indeed he was one of the few MP's at that time to have a salary from his constituency. 

Andrew Marvell, NPG
Andrew Marvell.

Politically he managed to tread a easy path. he was a protestant but not too hardcore. He also had some sympathy for Charles I writing in his poem 'Horation Ode' which was actually about Cromwell's return  from the campaign in Ireland,
He nothing common did or mean
Upon that memorable scene,
But with his keener eye
The axe's edge did try.

Nor called the Gods, with vulgar spite,
To vindicate his helpless right;
But bowed his comely head
Down. as upon a bed.

He was better known for his satirical and political prose during his lifetime and became very weary of the corruption of the court after the reinstatement of the Monarchy.

He died suddenly in Hull and it was thought at the time that he may have been poisoned by those who he ridiculed in his pamphlets and books. He is buried in London.

He was well loved by the people of hull and they raised a monument to him at his grave. Part of the inscription reads;

Near this place lyeth the body of Andrew Marvell Esq., a man so endowed by nature, so improved by education, study and travel, so consummated by experience, that, joining the peculiar graces of wit and learning, with a singular penetration and strength of judgement, and exercising all these in the whole course of his life, with an unutterable steadiness in the ways of virtue, he became the ornament and example of his age, beloved by good men, feared by bad, admired by all, thought imitated by few; and scarce paralleled by any.

That is not a bad inscription and is the longest sentence I have ever written!

He started writing his poetry when he was at Cambridge but was not known for it until after his death. he was grouped with the metaphysical poets who used wit and simply rhyming forms, along with images and references to topical scientific and geographic discoveries, with very unusual similes and metaphors to examine moral issues such as religion and morals. Others included John Donne, Henry Vaughan and Richard Crashaw.

A statue of Andrew Marvell stands in the square outside Holy Trinity Church and Hull Grammar School.
Andrew Marvell statue in Trinity Square, Hull.

A new Foundation School has been built, sponsored by the Cooperative Society, in Barham Road, Hull.

The new Andrew Marvell School.

Perhaps his most famous poem is 'To his Coy Mistress'. This is just the first part;

Had we but world enough, and time, 
This coyness, Lady, were no crime
We would sit down and think which way
to walk and pass our long love's day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side
Shouldst rubies find: I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the flood,
And you should, if you please,refuse
Til the conversion of the Jews.

1 comment:

  1. The Marvell family moved to Hull in 1624 because Andrew senior became Master of the Charterhouse.