Metaphysical Poet Andrew Marvell - Early Life

Statue of Andrew Marvell, photo by Oliver Brown, available through Creative CommonsAnother second generation Metaphysical poet, Andrew Marvell was very much caught up with the political upheavals of the mid-seventeenth century. Much of his poetry was not published till after his death. The poetry published during his life, often in Latin, is now less admired than the posthumous work.

Marvell was born in 1621 in what was then the East Riding of Yorkshire, being brought up in Hull, where his father was a Puritan preacher in the Church of England. In 1633, at only twelve years old, he gained entry to Trinity College, Cambridge and by 1637 had had Latin poems on the King and Queen published. The next year he graduated and won a scholarship. He could have stayed on at Cambridge but the death of his father in a tragic accident brought him home.

Andrew Marvell - Tutor to Lord Fairfax’s daughter

It is not entirely clear how Marvell spent the next few years. He may have entered his brother-in-law's firm for a while. He seems to have travelled in Europe during the fighting in the Civil War, in which he seems to have supported the Royalist cause. In 1650, he became tutor to the daughter of Lord Fairfax, General of the Parliamentary Army, who had retired to Nunappleton House in Yorkshire. This was a very creative time for Marvell, and most of the poems for which he is now famous were written at this time.