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BY GEORGE DAWSON, ESQ., M.A.
[Delivered at the Southwark Literary Institution, London, April, 1829
Reprinted from the “Phonetic Journal.")
Amongst English worthies of a second rank, one of the most noble of the kind is this man, Andrew Marvel. He lives by virtue of one anecdote and one characteristic. T'he anecdote we shall hereafter refer to, and the characteristic you will see running through the whole of his life. He was one of the most incorruptible Englishmen that ever lived: he lived in days the most corrupt and thoroughly despicable that England ever knew; in the reign of the weakest, and at the same time the vilest mouarch that ever disgraced the English throne, Charles the Second. He was as a king as vile as he was as a man, and nothing but the grovelling we shall have to look into bye-and-bye, backed by the church, and therefore followed by the state, could ever have induced a man to believe the king worthy of his support, or induced great men to grovei at his feet
. All the great trees in England were cut down except two or three, and amongst these, the tallest and most noble was this Andrew Marvel.
In following the rule that you cannot know much about a man unless you know something of his father (and I need not remind you that what we have done for ourselves is often very little, and what our fathers have done for us is often the largest part of anything distinguishing about us) we shall have to
book a little into his family. His father was a native of Cambridge, and master of the grammar school at Hull. He was a very upright, bold, courageous Englishman. He had a friend,-a lady on the other side of the Humber. She had an only daughter upon whom she greatly doted. This daughter cross-c2 the river to attend a family baptism in Martel's household, and she, anxious to get back the next day, went down to the water side, Mr. Marvel senior attending her. And although the boatman wamed her, yet the girl was wilful, and determined to cross, for fear her mother should be anxious. Mr. Marvel, too
, a thorough gentleman, seeing that she had crossed for his pleasure, determined to cross with her, and so sure and certain did he feel of the result of that short passage, that just as the boat was putting off, he threw his gold-headed cane on to the shore, and asked whoever might pick it up to give it to his son, and then with that cheerfulness that perfect men always feel, he cried out,
Oh, Before they had got half across the river, the boat upset, and both the genepas man and the enthusiastic girl met their death. That mother
, after her grief was over, sent for Andrew, and at her death left him her little fortune. Marvel was born 15th November, 1620.
he went to Cambridge, and entered Trinity. There he stayed until they sent a recruiting party to Cambridge. They sent their recruiting sergeants where young men were most rife, and unfortunately enlisted Marvel into their ranks. After a long and unremitting chase, he was found and carried back in triumph to Cambridge. Andrew did not approve of the company of the regiment enough to be induced to enlist again. We do not sige much of Marvel's college life, except one uglyter and seniors that Mr. Carter, Dominus Wakefield, Dominus Marvel, Dominus Waterhouse, and Domi
anybody for heaven."
nus May, in regard that some of them are reported to be married, and the others look not after their days nor acts, shall receive no more benefit of the college, and shall be out of their places until they show cause to the college for the contrary, in three months.” Some of them had married, and some of them had neglected their exercises. The first of these crimes is by far the greatest crime for a man at college to be guilty of. For what on earth has marriage to do with books? I am happy in being able to tell you, that Marvel was guilty of the lesser fault, and the consequence was, that he was thrown from Cambridge into the wide world. He proceeds to do what almost every man of good birth and high breeding did in those days. He went to travel. While at Rome, he became acquainted with another Englishman, John Milton. Milton was some eight years older than Marvel, and these eight years helped Marvel to that due reverence for Milton, which is necessary to give the true tone in friendship between man and man,
These young men felt all courage in Rome; and there being some priest there who had been making rather an extra fool of himself, Marvel fell to and attacked him. This made Rome warm, and Marvel went to France. There was there an insane Abbe who had written a little book, and Marvel wrote a little satire upon it, and this made Paris warm. There is a long gap here, and the only thing we can see of him is that he was tutor to Lord Fairfax's daughters. There is a notion now-a-days that women are better educated than they were once.
But that is all nonsense, you know. Women were a great deal better educated than they are now. We have only to go. to Queen Elizabeth's time, and we find that ladies then spoke Latin admirably, and could read Greek fluently, and speak the French language, like a great many women now, with a little English 80cent, but very well. It is a notion that the educa.
It is considered quite
tion of woman is quite a new idea. No such thing.
an awful thing now to pay a
old English custom, and we are the innovators. That sounds strange to us, who have such an abomination of paying members of Parliament. But we pay the husband, we pay the archbishop to look after the bishop, and we pay the bishop to look after the curate, and we pay the curate to see to our souls : we say the policeman to watch for us, and we pay the hangman to hang us. Nothing for nothing is ber of Parliament. Marvel always took his salary punctually, and I admire him for it. What a fuss us! how he tacks all over the room, and we walk after himn; then we put his guinea up in a piece of paper, and pretending to shake hands with him we put it into his hand. What nonsense! He would
him. Put the yon money down on the table, and let him give you a Teceipt for it with a stamp upon it. They used to pay the members at that time, but now you expect shop in your dirty borough, and pour the beer down every member to open every dirty, disgusting beerhave it. But his constituents, in addition to paying the throat of every dry-throated fool that likes to bans, used to send him presents of such admirable Aber man.. Marvel used to send his constituents casks of beer, that he said it was a great risk to # report of what was passing in the House. And be tells us that on one or two occasions he went
did not pay
without his dinner that he might not disappoint them. He was a man much looked up to in the House, though he seldom spoke; and whenever Prince Rupert talked sense, which he did occasionally, they always said he had been with his master lately, and his master was Marvel.
Wit was Charles the Second's delight. Charles would rather have been laughed at wittily, than not have had wit at all. Marvel went to court, got into conversation with Charles, and made such an impression that the next day Charles sent his Treasurer to see him, and then occurred that famous scene that makes Marvel immortal. The Treasurer found himself in the Strand, and then he found his way into one of the narrow streets, and got to the first floor. No Marvel on that floor; only such people as you and I live on the first floor. Then he found himself up on the second floor; that would not do. Then he stumbled his way up to the top-pair, and the door flew open, and there was Marvel writing. The Treasurer made him a model bow; Marvel said he was afraid he had lost his way. The Treasurer said he had not, if it had conducted him to Mr. Marvel. So they talked about the weather and about all sorts of things, except the subject he had come about. There is nothing very difficult in coming to the point, when one party does not know what it is; but when we both know what we want, what a time it takes to get at it! Bye-and-bye it was time for the Treasurer to go, and so he told him how pleased the king had been with him last night, and quite accidentally dropt a £1000 note upon the table. Marvel knew what it meant. He knew what was meant by a compliment
. There are very few people who have soul enough to give you one. They let it go by for a time; let it alone for six months perhaps. They are intended afterwards to give you a lively sense of gratitude. Marvel rang the bell, and up came Buttons. “What did we have for dinner yesterday ?" said Marvel,