Marvell, Andrew (märˈvəl) [key], 1621–78, one of the English metaphysical poets. Educated at Cambridge, he worked as a clerk, traveled abroad, and returned to serve as tutor to Lord Fairfax's daughter in Yorkshire. In 1657 he was appointed John Milton's assistant in the Latin secretaryship, and in 1659 he was elected to Parliament, where he served until his death. He was one of the chief wits and satirists of his time as well as being a Puritan and a public defender of individual liberty. Today, however, he is known chiefly for his brilliant lyric poetry, which includes "The Garden,""The Definition of Love,""Bermudas," and "To His Coy Mistress," and for his "Horatian Ode" to Cromwell.
See his poems and letters edited by H. M. Margoliouth (2d ed. 1952); biographies by V. Sackville-West (1929, repr. 1971), J. D. Hunt (1978), N. Murray (2000), and N. Smith (2011); studies by H. E. Toliver (1965), P. Legouis (rev. ed. 1966), J. M. Wallace (1969), D. M. Friedman (1970), R. L. Colie (1971), K. Friedenreich, ed. (1977), E. S. Donno, ed. (1978).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.