Printer Friendly

Rewriting Cromwell: Milton, Marvell, and negative liberty in the English Revolution.

One of the oldest unsolved problems of literary and revolutionary history is defining the subtle but undeniable gap between John Milton's and Andrew Marvell's politics. Earlier generations of critics resolved this problem tautologically by ascribing it to differences of temperament rather than conviction, a tactic that overlooks the close connection between personality and personal belief. This approach was encouraged by the corollary assumption that both poet-politicians were inspired mainly by religious rather than secular conceptions of liberty. Although Milton may have been more of an impractical idealist than his pragmatic, even "Machiavellian" friend Marvell, both appeared much less systematic than theorists like James Harrington and Thomas Hobbes, who developed fully secular models of government. Yet, as Annabel Patterson early noted, this assessment completely ignored Marvell's political prose, a neglect matched by the misunderstanding of Milton's prose observed by other recent critics. (1) This situation rapidly changed as New Critical formalism gave way to the new historical emphasis on sociology and politics, and also as political historians began to rediscover the classical republican element of seventeenth-century thought. Ever since, both poets have been reinterpreted as serious revolutionary thinkers who, if not quite on a par with the most original theorists, commonly used the language of classical republicanism to defend liberty of conscience and oppose arbitrary state and ecclesiastical power. At the same time, a more pragmatic, even "Machiavellian" Milton has taken his rightful place beside Joseph Mazzeo's "Machiavellian" Marvell. (2)

Yet oddly enough, even the most thorough reconsiderations of their politics have failed to explain the contrasts noted by earlier critics. Warren Chernaik's book-length comparison actually eliminates these contrasts, suggesting that both "Puritan" politicians shared the same "free will" or Antinomian outlook. This assessment not only obscures their common condemnation of the excessive enthusiasm of the sects and support for more "aristocratic" forms of government, but also Marvell's un-Miltonic support for the restored king. Marvell did not, however, desert the classical republican principles he shared with Milton, but merely sided with Charles II against his Tory parliament. Like both, Marvell supported toleration and civil rights for sectarians, although in neither case owing to any commitment to standard Puritan ideology. Nicholas von Maltzahn has convincingly established Marvell's loyalty to the liberal Anglican theology espoused by his father, a broad-minded Church of England minister, while Keith Stavely's notes to Milton's final treatise, Of True Religion (1673), reveal his similar support for the liberal church comprehension proposals of the Latitudinarians, the most vocal exponents of a similar theology. (3) Both thus admired Cromwell despite, not due to, the Lord Protector's Puritanism, which Milton's Sonnet 16 frankly critiques.

Since religion was apparently not a factor, Marvell's strikingly different poetic portraits of the Lord Protector may be traced to his very different response to Hobbes, the most important English political theorist of the period. (4) Neither Marvell nor Milton thoroughly reproved or approved of the "Monster of Malmesbury," but their reactions are based on fundamentally different criteria. Milton utterly rejected Hobbesian absolutism yet would have approved his demystification of the idolatrous and "superstitious" Church of Rome in the second part of Leviathan (1651). He may also have applauded Hobbes's monist materialism, although Milton's vitalist version is far less mechanistic. (5) Marvell, on the other hand, remained a traditional Christian dualist but adopted crucial aspects of Hobbes's theory of sovereignty. This theory alone helps explain why "his" Cromwell has so little in common with Milton's Lord Protector, even though both poets make him an emblem of "negative liberty," a concept differently defined by classical republicans and early modern liberals. Hobbes is recognized as the forefather of the protoliberal concept, which starkly contrasts with the "positive liberty" later formulated by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. According to Isaiah Berlin, negative libertarians demand maximum "freedom from" governmental constraint, while positive libertarians demand a maximum "freedom to" attain basic personal and societal goods. The Rousseauian ideal was later taken over by utilitarian, socialist, and communists thinkers, while John Locke's modifications of Hobbes made negative liberty the foundation of liberal republican thought. Later on, the laissez-faire democracies took over elements of the Rousseauian ideal as they evolved into welfare states. (6)

Yet this ideal did not yet exist in the seventeenth century, when its closest counterpart was the Aristotelian, Ciceronian, and Thomistic belief that God originally granted natural freedom to all men. Its classical republican heirs opposed this natural liberty to the "slavish" or childish subjection required by patriarchal or arbitrary government, which they demanded "freedom from." In bringing the natural law tradition to its logical conclusion, Hobbes lent them some support in agreeing that all humans innately possess the natural right to self-determination and self-preservation. Yet he hedged this admission by pointing out the inevitable conflict between these rights: self-determination for all would mean self-preservation for few in the state of nature's war of "all upon all." Thus only by ceding their limitless autonomy to an absolute sovereign could men hope for protection against lawless competitors, which once gained, granted them a far more valuable freedom from personal, social, or national invasion. Modern political theorists still agree with this basic negative libertarian principle, which makes state protection against illicit aggression the essence of the social contract. Yet few if any moderns assent to the Hobbesian corollary reviled by his classical republican contemporaries: that so long as the sovereign (whether one person or a corporate body) protects its citizens' basic right to self-preservation, it need grant them no further personal or governmental freedoms.

In Hobbes's system, subjects thus lose any "natural" right to a representative or participatory form of government, which he saw as chaotically tending to reproduce the original war of all upon all. Since republicans regarded participatory government as the essence of freedom, they took the opposing position that government resided in the consent of the people, not in its sovereign "head." Milton defended this idea throughout his revolutionary prose, and while Marvell agreed, he combined it with a quasi-Hobbesian view of sovereignty, although without the ultra-negative Hobbesian corollary which limits all legal redress to the bounds set by the sovereign. Hobbes himself justified this corollary through his notoriously pessimistic account of a state of nature where life is "nasty, brutish, and short." This account was based partly on his bitter experience of the English civil wars and partly on Tacitus. The republican account instead stems from the more optimistic Aristotelian and Ciceronian view: far from being naturally "brutish," man is naturally a social animal who realizes his full potential in the participatory institutions of advanced nation states. (7) To tame the competitive passions noted by Hobbes, these states should combine the best aspects of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy in a "mixed government" headed by a prince but guided by a popularly elected senate.

In response, Hobbes not only denied the advantages of mixed government but maintained that his Leviathan would not be conducive to oppression, for wise sovereigns would conserve and even enlarge the legal protections of their citizens rather than risk the chaos of civil war. Since happiness does not logically require political participation, which often incites social conflict and demagoguery, he further argued that his highly centralized system best promoted the pursuit of happiness. He then added that the subjects of a benign Turkish tyranny (or any other well-administered state) may possess more real liberty than the citizens of an "ideal" Italian republic. Mocking the neo-Roman tribute to libertas proudly displayed on the towers of Lucca, Hobbes declared such republics no more truly free than the empire of Constantinople, for "whether a Commonwealth be Monarchicall, or Popular, the Freedome is still the same. (8) This aspect of his thought has obviously not stood the test of time, but his emphasis on the individualistic aspect of liberty exerted a lasting influence on the liberal tradition. Even if he failed to endorse the theory of "possessive individualism" ascribed to him by C. B. MacPherson, he clearly foresaw its implications when he declared that "the Office of the Soveraign, (be it a Monarch or an Assembly,) consisteth in the end, for which he was trusted with the Soveraign Power, namely the procuration of the safety of the people, to which he is obliged by the Law of nature.... But by Safety here, is not meant a bare Preservation, but also all other Contentments of life, which every man by lawful Industry, without danger, or hurt to the Commonwealth, shall acquire to himselfe." If these essential "Rights of Soveraignty ... be taken away, the Commonwealth is thereby dissolved, and every man returned into the condition, and calamity of a warre with every other man" in the state of nature. Since this calamity is "the greatest evill that can happen in this life," it is the chief "Office of the Soveraign, to maintain those Rights entire" by any available means (Leviathan, 2:30.376).

Berlin convincingly sketched the original divide between this view of liberty and the more modern and "positive" concept descended from Rousseau, but his contention that the two concepts are fundamentally incompatible has proved far more controversial. Arguing against his idea that negative liberty or freedom from governmental interference is necessarily infringed by the state's positive duty to "liberate" citizens by redistributing wealth and other material benefits, Charles Taylor would replace Berlin's binary oppositions with two equally positive terms. Instead of negative and positive liberty, Taylor proposes "opportunity concepts that emphasize the simple lack of barriers to freedom" and "exercise concepts" that emphasize the individual's ability actually to realize his opportunities. (9) Against this position Berlin argued that whenever freedom is equated with submission to the "law of the wisest"--the law defining the socially adequate individual--"Liberty, so far from being incompatible with authority, becomes virtually identical with it," and government becomes authoritarian in principle. (10) Defending Taylor, Philip Pettit and Quentin Skinner both find Berlin's dichotomy overly schematic, the former chiefly on theoretical grounds, the latter in historical terms directly relevant to Milton and Marvell.

Conceding Berlin's point in Taylor's terms, Skinner agrees that seventeenth-century theorists maintained only opportunity concepts, not exercise concepts about liberty, but also identifies two different forms of negative liberty current at this time. As Pettit agrees, these are the republican form of "negative liberty" inherited by Milton and Marvell via Machiavelli and the liberal version formulated by Hobbes. (11) By strictly defining freedom as minimal state protection from incursions on life or property, Hobbes certainly left no room for any type of "exercise concept," but the same cannot be said either of classical republicans or religious radicals, who respectively derived the right to exercise a more positive liberty from classical virtue ethics or from Christian charity. By cultivating the virtu that Machiavelli made central to balanced and truly representative government, republicans expected an aristocracy of "the best" to prevent the state's otherwise inevitable backslide into tyranny. This natural rather than hereditary aristocracy also sets a high standard for ordinary citizens who, by imitating their exercise of good citizenship, would exercise and expand their own opportunities.

Religious radicals like Gerrard Winstanley differently expanded the definition of natural rights without changing the traditional understanding of freedom as natural obligations to be maintained and safeguarded, not universal privileges to be demanded. Unlike the republicans, Winstanley affirmed a natural property right to communal, but not to individual goods; men were entitled to a negative freedom from encroachment on ancient common grounds, not to a positive redistribution of material goods by the state. Protosocialist though he was, Winstanley's call for poor relief chiefly rested on the wholly voluntary grounds of Christian charity. His place in seventeenth-century thought, therefore, lies in broadening the standard "opportunity concept" of liberty, not in developing a new "exercise concept." (12) Nevertheless, both republican and radical religious negative liberty differ from the Hobbesian version by including some "exercise" rights, although they also differed from each other since republicans remained closer to Hobbes than to extreme communitarians like Winstanley and the Levellers. (13)

Pettit makes a further distinction between republican and Hobbesian negative liberty that signally explains the later differences between Marvell and Milton: republican liberty is "qualitative" in upholding the holistic good of society, while Hobbesian freedom is "quantitative" in upholding the liberty of atomistic individuals. As he explains,
   Within the liberal tradition the standard approach is to think that
   individuals are the primary subjects of freedom and societies the
   secondary; to think that a society is free in virtue of the freedom
   of the individuals who live there, and not vice versa. Within the
   republican tradition, things often seem to be the other way around:
   republicans speak of societies as the primary subjects of freedom,
   individuals as the secondary, so that individuals count as free in
   virtue of the freedom of their society, and not vice versa.... On
   the first conception, the freedom of an individual is something
   constituted independently of the society to which he belongs,
   however far the institutions of that society serve instrumentally
   to promote that freedom. On the second conception the individual is
   free in virtue of being the citizen of a suitable society-a society
   with suitably protective institutions. ("Negative Liberty," 32)


Classical republican freedom is more participatory since its collective "rule of law serves to establish ..., not invade" liberty; but in liberalism, the rule of law is liberty's actual or potential enemy, not its friend (29-32). For strict libertarians, the rule of law does not even establish freedom but merely protects citizens from any further erosion of the rights most threatened by the state itself. The opposite is again true for republicans, who see the state as freedom's vehicle, not a necessary evil needed to end the war of all on all.

Although posited by neither Skinner nor Pettit, republicans and liberals also take divergent positions on the structure of government itself. After Locke, both liberals and republicans favored mixed or constitutional governments over Hobbesian absolutism, but long before that, republicans or (to borrow Skinner's useful term) neo-Romans favored a strong legislature, since this branch offers both maximum participation and inhibition of executive or judicial usurpation of the people's rights. Milton's The Readie and Easie Way (1660) supports this assumption when it argues that a perpetual senate guided by an executive council rather than by a chief executive would best offset the threat to the republic posed by the king's return. Milton's imagined senate has rarely struck modern readers as truly participatory, since it is not to be created by direct popular election but by a self-selection process among elected leaders, and since its members rule for life. Yet while Harrington's imagined republic includes strict term limits, its elections are no more truly democratic than Milton's. The latter's proposal is also poorly understood outside the context of the historical emergency that elicited it, the monarchy's fast approaching restoration. To counter this threat, Milton's perpetual senators possess few of the king's executive powers; they make broad national and international decisions, but local governments so thoroughly take over all other functions that England becomes a kind of confederated republic comparable to Thomas More's Utopia (1516), another classical republican text. (14)

By insisting that "every countie in the land" should become "a kinde of subordinate Commonalitie" where the people hold "justice in thir own hands," The Readie and Easie Way thus maintains Milton's Interregnum belief that a free people may submit only to "such Laws as our selves shall choose." (15) This freedom is not merely the property of atomistic individuals since "the enjoyment of those [rights is] never more certain, and the access to these never more open, then in a free Commonwealth"' (7:458), the collective conservator and beneficiary of liberty. Its citizens must unite in restraining the "license" that Milton's Sonnet 12 opposes not just to liberty but also to wisdom and virtue, the poem's Apollo and Diana. License betrays all three by promoting the senseless barking, braying, and croaking of irrational desire, thus "wasting" both wealth and blood. (16) As in the liberal tradition, individuals choose their own pursuit of happiness, yet as in the republican tradition, hedonistic evasion of responsibility soon spells liberty's collective demise. Liberals are ethically far more laissez-faire since they assume that a pre-Darwinian "survival of the fittest" will defeat the individual lovers of license, and that no "fatal curse" is "annext" to licentious societies as Milton's epic predicts (Paradise Lost, 12.99-101).

Richard Tuck traces Milton's life-long identification of free societies with virtuous citizens not just to Machiavelli but to his selective reading of Tacitus. He takes from Tacitus the idea that Roman kings were never above the law and that English kings were never the norm, as his opponent Salmasius claimed. Since Tacitus showed that the Britons were ruled by chiefs for long periods of time, Milton praises him as "a noble writer most opposed to tyranny" (Complete Prose, 4.1:442-43, 479). From Machiavelli he takes the related convictions that all men were originally born free and that those living in free commonwealths are most likely to remain so, since their main means of attaining social prominence and honor is not inherited, but derived from personal virtu. (17) Tuck adds that Milton's synthesis is typical of the "new humanist" republicans who derived freedom from the moral fiber of free individuals (Philosophy, 252-53), but the liberal tradition requires no such contribution from citizens already included in the social contract. Nor is the state responsible for encouraging virtue (an idea Hobbes scorned), but as liberals from Locke to John Stuart Mill agree, only for safeguarding life and property.

Classical republicans naturally approved these safeguards, but their emphasis on collective responsibility is actually far closer to Matthew Arnold's communitarian than to Mill's individualistic position. (18) Milton's Areopagitica (1644) explains the republican rationale by arguing that the goal of promoting free experimentation, exchange, and competition of ideas is conducive to greater social participation and harmony, not personal profit. (19) Rather than increasing confusion here, the collective, free, and virtuous "confuting" of falsehood is "the best and surest" means of eliminating license and error (Complete Prose, 2:561). By refusing to censor this exchange, the state promotes a "sprightly" social "body" whose citizens collectively "guard well its own freedom and safety" by considering "the solidest and sublimest points of controversies, and invention." This active participation "betok'ns us not degenerated, nor drooping to a fatall decay, but casting off the old and wrincl'd skin of corruption to outlive these pangs and wax young again, entering the glorious ways of Truth and prosperous vertue" (2:557).

These beliefs early brought Milton into conflict with Oliver Cromwell as he steadily retreated into a personal rule not unlike that of Charles I, a style of sovereignty far more acceptable to Marvell. Both Austin Woolrych and Blair Worden note that after Milton's fulsome but highly qualified sonnet to Cromwell and his prose tribute in Defensio Secunda (1652 and 1654, respectively) failed to gain his ear, he never again mentioned Cromwell's name. He offered no tribute to his later military and naval achievements nor any lament for his death, and as early as 1659, apparently refers to the entire regime as a "short but scandalous night of interruption" of liberty (7:274; compare 7:85-87). Like Martin Dzelzainis, they speculate that Milton's disillusionment began once it became apparent that the constitutional assembly so much desired by the republican faction would never be called, although it was also exacerbated by Cromwell's less than fully tolerant religious policies. (20) Some scholars have objected that the Protectorate era hardly qualifies as a single "night," but Worden shows that its other critics similarly referred to Cromwell's expulsion of the Rump Parliament as a sudden "interruption." They included Milton's hero Sir Henry Vane, who like him insisted on keeping the language of popular sovereignty long after the protectorate had dropped it. Milton himself continues to refer to the Rump as the "supreme council of the nation" both in Defensio Secunda and A Treatise of Civil Power (1659), "thus reminding [his] ... readers of that legitimate exercise of sovereignty of which, in the minds of the commonwealthmen, Cromwell's coup of April 1653 had deprived it." Keenly aware that single-rule '"easily slips into the worst sort of tyranny,"' Milton seems to have drawn ever closer to those who now agreed that Cromwell "seemed the worst sort of tyrant." (21)

Marvell clearly shared Milton's deep concern for individual rights and liberties, yet he showed few comparable signs of discomfort with Cromwell and actually waxed most enthusiastic as he reached the height of his executive, virtually imperial powers. Later, Marvell transferred some of this admiration to Charles II, whom he similarly urged to safeguard spiritual and secular liberty. The king actually did adopt this general policy, which, when thwarted by his bishops and Tory parliament, permitted Marvell to pose as his more loyal, unflattering advisor. Charles, in turn, not only highly approved of Marvell (he regarded his Rehearsal Transpros'd [1672] as a satirical masterpiece) but rewarded him with political protection from his many enemies. Yet this post-Restoration independence went hand in hand with Marvell's commitment to a negative "opportunity concept" of liberty partly at odds with Milton's republican "exercise concept," which distanced him from the restored monarchy as it had from Cromwell.

During the course of the revolution, Milton increasingly came to regard even limited monarchies as inherently slavish and morally degraded. Thus like other classical republicans of his type, he began to retreat from his earlier ideal of a mixed government headed by a prince (Complete Prose, 1:599-601). Tuck traces this shift to the fact that the theory of mixed government or of "the king in Parliament," as the English variant was known, had been borrowed by Presbyterians and Royalists to defend forms of ecclesiastical and monarchical power bitterly opposed by "Tacitean" republicans like Milton. Despite their neo-Roman hostility to potential demagoguery or "mob" rule, most then became more sympathetic to the Levellers' populist legal reforms. This alliance was all the more natural since neither group had any real interest "in a precise classification of the English constitution according to the orthodox categories [in which it] ... fitted uneasily," and both wished "England ... to be governed primarily by a council, composed of wise men," who would serve as an elected and at least loosely representative aristocracy. Even those who favored new elections did not demand a true democracy "governed by mass meetings of the populus" or universal suffrage (Philosophy, 240, 251, 253, emphasis in original). These issues were entirely separate from the debate over "'loyalism' or 'de-factoism'" that developed during the Engagement Controversy: "the doctrine that citizens should submit to whatever government secures effective rule over them, and not question the legitimacy of its origins." This doctrine was variously expounded by Hobbes, Grotius, Anthony Ascham, and according to John Wallace, Marvell, but Milton's politics and poetry consistently reject all de facto justifications of power (255).

Milton's problem with de facto power centered both on its origins and its enduring legitimacy. Cromwell had gained de facto authority through his military victories long before the Protectorate era, but the purged Rump Parliament had failed to grant him de jure authority. As a result, neither its powers nor Cromwell's could be considered extensions of the ruptured "ancient constitution." Victoria Kahn shows that Milton was deeply troubled by this lack of legal authority and unwilling to accept even an "implicit justification of de facto power," which his friend Marvell actually advanced through a "Machiavellian rhetoric of de facto" authority. (22) Marvell's post-Restoration Dialogue between the Two Horses (1689) further confirms his unwavering support for "Old Noll's" authority: "Though his Government did a Tyrants resemble, / Hee made England great and it's enemies tremble." Patterson's edition of Marvell's prose works traces this stance to his keen interest in a muscular foreign policy. (23) The same factor explains why he leans toward the Machiavelli of The Prince (1527), not the Discorsi (1550), and also toward Hobbes, an influence thoroughly documented by Christopher Wortham, Jon Parkin, and Robert Hodge. Hodge even suggests that the commonwealth that Marvell imagined Cromwell ruling is a Leviathan-like monolith, for like Hobbes, he found this system most conducive to an atomistic individualism freed from the political pressures, rivalry, and powerful factions often unsettling popular regimes. (24)

Marvell's Horatian Ode (1650) and his First Anniversary (1655) indeed celebrate Cromwellian rule on precisely these grounds. In the Ode, Cromwell performs a monolithic "climacteric" or intervention in time that recasts "the kingdoms old / Into another mould. / Though Justice against Fate complain / And plead the ancient rights in vain" (104, 35-38). (25) In his First Anniversary, with "almost supernatural power" Cromwell single-handedly cuts, quarries, and forcibly joins the building blocks of mixed government. Ironically, these are the same building blocks that Areopagitica imagines being communally quarried and assembled by independent citizens diversely yet harmoniously working toward a common goal. The "ancient rights" Marvell's Cromwell overthrows are obviously monarchical, but his de facto dismissal of precedent could in theory also cancel either the Levellers' ancient constitution or Milton's natural rights. Since his "Fate" overrides "Justice," Cromwell is justified in unilaterally imposing his will on the state:
   Now through the strings a martial rage he throws,
   And joining straight the Theban tow'r arose;
   Then as he strokes them with a touch more sweet,
   The flocking marbles in a palace meet;
   But, for he most the graver notes did try,
   Therefore the temples reared their Columns high;
   Thus, ere he ceased, his sacred lute creates
   Th' harmonious city of the seven gates. (First Anniversary, 59-66)


Like the preceding and subsequent lines, these couplets refer to a theory of mixed government by now more neo-Calvinist or neoroyalist than classical republican. Frankly imperial and authoritarian, the ruler of seven-gated London looks toward the grandeur of Rome, the city of the seven hills, and perhaps even to Cromwell's acceptance of the crown. (26) Although the latter point remains debatable, Marvell's mighty sovereign contrasts sharply with the negative libertarian opponent of imperial power praised in Milton's Defensio Secunda, his Cromwell sonnet, and the final books of both Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained (1671).

Paradise Lost most specifically condemns the consequences of losing classical republican virtu whenever Adam's heirs cede their collective freedom to sovereign authority. "Slavish" subjects are as much to blame as the kings who assume an "Authority usurpt, from God not giv'n," but Adam particularly reviles rulers who fail to recognize that "Man over men / He [God] made not Lord; such title to himself / Reserving, human left from human free." Yet in either case, the punishment fits the crime: idle conquerors share the same fate as "the conquer'd also enslav'd by War" and luxury; both "with their freedom lost all virtue lose" (Paradise Lost, 12.66, 69-71; 11.797-98). Utterly rejecting the unchecked advance of the very executive or "top-down" rule typically extolled by Marvell, Milton has little regard for "mere" quantitative gains in liberty. Marvell, on the other hand, justifies Cromwell's imperial power based on the quantitative returns his subjects reap on their investment: "He to the Commons' feet presents / A kingdom, for his first year's rents / ... And has his sword and spoils ungirt, / To lay them at the public's skirt" (An Horatian Ode, 85-86, 89-90). This mythical/sexual imagery remains neo-Roman, but its standard-bearer is so remote from Milton's humble, Abdiel-like "servant of God" that Marvell's Cromwell effectively becomes a Carlylean "great man" of history rather than a greatest-among-equals. Abhorring a vacuum, he is a unique force of nature impelling others to "make room / Where greater spirits come" (43-44), since only he can atomistically expand their liberty and power. (27)

Milton resists this idea since he believes that only qualitative and "bottom-up" liberty rooted in the free exercise of "Umpire Conscience" (Paradise Lost, 3.195) benefits individuals or society as a whole. Hobbes invalidated this belief by defining both "conscience" and "liberty" as unquantifiable metaphysical nonsense with no observable material "motions" or rewards, and while Marvell could not have agreed, his Cromwell poems leave strangely little role for individual conscience or even consensus (Leviathan, 1.5.113; 1.7.132). (28) His The First Anniversary even doubts how the contrarious "minds of stubborn men can build" anything at all (78). After the Restoration, he defended religious dissenters against state interrogation and persecution, but he personally gave conscience little weight in a public sphere where reason, force, and the natural laws of history alone prevail. As he complains in a well-known letter, "in this World a good Cause signifys little, unless it be well defended. A man may starve at the Feast of a good Conscience." (29) The blind poet who told Cyriack Skinner that his "conscience ... to have lost" his sight in a great cause was all the support he needed necessarily disagreed (Sonnet 22, 10).

Marvell's religious lyrics nevertheless indicate that he balanced his cynicism with a quasi-Miltonic belief in the conscientious Christian's duty to soldier through the relentless forces of history. Although the "world will not go the faster for our driving," and the "Good Old Cause" may have been "too good to have been fought for," the fact that "men may spare their pains where Nature is at work" is at once cynical and hopeful. (30) On the whole, however, Marvell's God is closer to Calvin's or Hobbes's inscrutable Judge of an iron-age world than to Milton's providential protector of free will; he may provide signs of grace in return for his "soldiers"' thankless toils, but as with Hobbes, miracles and the active intervention of the Holy Spirit have ceased. Marvell's post-Restoration prose and poetic satires also reveal his deep awareness that ethics has little to do with politics, including church politics, which must be kept to the minimum. Fortunately, this is easy do: since fit leaders are few in number, "choice is there less hard," as his Last Instructions to a Painter wryly remarks (989). J. G. A. Pocock traces Marvell's essentially Machiavellian separation of religion and politics to his principled refusal to confuse spiritual with political freedom, which again places him closer to the Machiavelli of The Prince than to the republican Discorsi favored by Milton. (31) Milton cites the latter along with Dante to prove that the temporal sword should never be applied to spiritual matters, and that voluntary participation in church and state are equally essential to the health of the commonwealth: "The opinions of men concerning religion should be free in a republic, or indeed under good princes. While Machiavelli praises such princes, he says, among other good things, that under them you will see golden times, 'where each man can hold and defend the opinion he wishes' discors Book 1 c 10" (Complete Prose, 1:475-77).

Marvell's appropriation of a quite different strand of neo-Roman thought most clearly emerges in his use of the "amoral" language of Horace's ode to Drusus Nero to exalt Cromwell, (32) especially when contrasted with Milton's turn to Virgil's "pious Aeneas" as the proper prototype. Milton's Cromwell enters the scene much as Aeneas enters Dido's Carthage, suddenly emerging in the city of his enemies as "a cloak / Of dense cloud poured around [him], so that no one / Had the power to see or to accost" him. (33)
   Cromwell, our chief of men, who through a cloud
      Not of war only, but detractions rude,
      Guided by faith and matchless Fortitude,
      To peace and truth thy glorious way hast plough'd,

   And on the neck of crowned Fortune proud
      Hast rear'd God's Trophies and his work pursu'd,
      While Darwen stream with blood of Scots imbru'd,
      And Dunbar field resounds thy praises loud.
     (Sonnet 16, 1-8)


Milton was consistently attracted to this scene, where a glorious city, won by "matchless Fortitude" and ripe with promise, conceals hidden perils. He later uses it in Paradise Lost to describe both the shining but insidious "birth" of Pandaemonium and Satan's mock-triumphal return to it, but in his Cromwell sonnet (Sonnet 16), another kind of Pandaemonium threatens the Lord Protector. While fruitfully plowing his boundaries, enacting good laws, and choosing "Magistrates and a sacred senate" as a true Roman should, Milton's hero must resist a "seduction" as potent as the beautiful but jealous Dido. (34) This is the closely related Virgilian threat of building the wrong walls for the wrong kind of citizens, in this case, by permitting the clergy to reestablish a state-controlled and financed ministry. Alluding to the moment when Virgil's Aeneas exclaims "How fortunate these are / Whose city walls are rising here and now!" (1:595-96), Milton emphasizes how temptingly easy it would be for Cromwell to quit the true cause and settle for the wrong resting place. To attain the real promised land of freedom, he must realize that "much remains / To conquer still; peace hath her victories / No less renown'd than war, new foes arise" (Sonnet 16, 9-11). These "new foes" are the friends of de facto power, which can never provide the true basis of de jure or good Roman government--that is, liberty under law, not the principles of lese majeste.

Milton's analogy in Sonnet 16 is convoluted but powerful: just as Dido's selfish desire to keep Aeneas by her side would prevent him from establishing Rome and an enduring Roman peace, in the process destroying their mutual and future peace, so Cromwell's selfish ministers threaten to destroy his postwar triumphs by preventing him from laying the true cornerstone of civil peace, freedom from arbitrary regulation. Both the sonnet and its subtitle show that this principle is negative in forbidding state supervision of religion, but positive in requiring the active exercise of classical republican virtu. Negatively, Cromwell must deny "the proposals of certain ministers at the Committee for Propagation of the Gospel" lest they "bind our souls with secular chains" (12, emphasis in original). Positively, he must maintain the qualitative superiority of spiritual self-determination to the merely "quantitative" goal of increasing national religious uniformity. If he fails to do so, his ministerial "mistress" may make his victory as pyrrhic as Dido's funeral pyre by preventing him from winning the peace that Cicero considers as glorious as war. (35) If, on the other hand, he unbinds their "secular chains" on conscience, he will fulfill his "epic" purpose, which is not quantitative conversion but qualitative faith. Achieving that end will restore the brotherly freedom that Adam originally bequeathed his children and Aeneas left to the early Roman republic, so that England can become both a perfect spiritual and civic commonwealth. Yet as a truly "pious Aeneas," he must first "save free Conscience from the paw / Of hireling wolves whose Gospel is their maw" (Sonnet 16, 13-14); he must stop them from "devouring" Christian liberty with a wolfish appetite for power disguised as godly rule (compare Paradise Lost, 2.847). This threat can only be averted by shattering the "Civil Sword" poised "To force our Consciences that Christ set free" ("On the New Forcers," 5-6), an act of both Aeneas-like self-abnegation and positive dedication to "God's Trophies and his work pursu'd" (Sonnet 16, 6).

Two years later, Milton's Defensio Secunda again addresses essentially the same plea to Cromwell:
   honor yourself, so that having achieved that liberty in pursuit of
   which you endured so many hardships and encountered so many perils,
   you may not permit it to be violated by yourself or in any degree
   diminished by others. Certainly you yourself cannot be free without
   us, for it has so been arranged by nature that he who attacks the
   liberty of others is himself the first of all to lose his own
   liberty and learns that he is the first of all to become a slave.
   And he deserves this fate. For if the very patron and tutelary god
   of liberty, as it were, if that man than whom no one has been
   considered more just, more holy, more excellent, shall afterward
   attack that liberty which he himself has defended, such an act must
   be dangerous and well-nigh fatal not only to liberty itself but also
   to the cause of all virtue and piety. (Complete Prose, 4:1.673,
   emphasis added)


Besides praising the essentially communitarian, self-reflexive, and "Lucca-like" nature of liberty, Milton here insists that negative liberty of the Hobbesian type is never enough. Unlike laws "made only to curb wickedness, ... nothing can so effectively mould and create virtue as liberty," the qualitative sine qua non of free states where "all citizens equally have an equal right to freedom" (4:1.679, emphasis added).

Marvell's sword-bearing conqueror also seems destined to establish a form of government fusing the most stable elements of the Roman peace with those of the Italian republics, yet in the end, his quantitative gains cancel out the qualitative achievements made by Milton's Cromwell. (36) In attempting to justify a de facto power Milton refuses to condone, Marvell's Horatian Ode presents a notoriously strained solution to the problem of Cromwell's legitimacy. Here might fails to conflict with right, since the old "Caesar" or Charles I (23) implicitly granted Cromwell's de facto power by refusing to call upon "the Gods with vulgar spite / To vindicate his helpless right." (37) Recognizing the value of letting "nature" do its work, the king offers his "bleeding head" as ironic testament to the iron laws of Fate, but also as a good omen for the founding of the new "Capitols first line" (Horatian Ode, 61-62, 68-69). Critics often question whether this cynical defense makes Marvell the kind of Anthony who is as inclined to bury as to praise his new "Caesar" (101), but his sincerity becomes more plausible when his liberal version of negative liberty is contrasted with Milton's republican version. Rather than Miltonically defending the inseparability of true might and right as a principle synthetically protecting the ruler, the ruled, and the rules, for Marvell the end justifies the means if it achieves quantitative gains in individual and social goods. He thus justifies Cromwell's "destiny" on the very grounds Milton invalidates it: England's manifest imperial destiny demands it. Milton also hoped that England would become a new Rome in the West, but only as a Roman-style republic leading Europe with good principles, not conquering it with bad ones.

Marvell's First Anniversary and Horatian Ode both take the opposing perspective by clothing Cromwell in Davidic, kingly, and imperial tropes that Milton, always the upholder of parliamentary rather than executive power, reserves for his demons. (38) Marvell's ironic hyperboles mitigate some of this rhetoric, thus suggesting his own awareness that his heroic claims for Cromwell conflict with the classical republican principles of his allies, particularly their belief that de facto justifications of power always incur the danger of tyranny. Hence he proposes that even if this is the time, Cromwell might not be the Man, but he still chooses to gamble on the quantitative advantages that a strong, responsible executive can provide. He further qualifies the risk by making Cromwell's "natural" or negative forbearance (Horatian Ode, 87) his prime credential for renovating the "ancient right":
      How good he is, how just,
      And fit for highest trust:
   Nor yet grown stiffer with command,
   But still in the Republic's hand:
      How fit he is to sway
      That can so well obey. (79-84)


Milton similarly emphasizes Cromwell's willingness to submit his rule to higher laws, but only to increase collective responsibility, not his own.

These philosophical differences ultimately stem from fundamentally conflicting views of providential and natural history. (39) For Milton, history's final goal is to free subjects to spend their "talents" on the common task of qualitatively raising the corporate whole. Rather than stressing the atomistic "freedom of individuals," he thus depends upon "'common liberty' or 'free government,'" and on individual responsibility rather than individual rights. (40) Marvell shares the republican hope that Cromwell will institute "a senate free" (First Anniversary, 97), yet this is hardly a cooperative achievement since Cromwell succeeds precisely where composite efforts have failed: "tedious statesmen many a year did hack / Framing a liberty that still went back" (69-70). Not so the Lord Protector, who quickly fashions a "ruling Instrument" (68) to silence dissonance and create the concordia discors of mixed government (75-99). The musical "architect" (84) tunes the instrument's various strings so that they remain individually free, but only "greater spirits" like himself can unilaterally raise and "compose" a wayward, fractious people. (41) Unlike the interactive builders of Milton's new order, they passively receive their rights from above:
   All other matter yields, and may be ruled;
   But who the minds of stubborn men can build?
   No quarry bears a stone so hardly wrought,
   Nor with such labour from its centre brought:
   None to be sunk in the foundation bends,
   Each in the house the highest place contends,
   And each the hand that lays him will direct,
   And some fall back upon the architect;
   Yet compos'd by his attractive song,
   Into the animated city throng. (78-86)


Hence in Marvell's most un-Miltonic opinion,
   Tis not a freedom, that where all command;
   Nor tyranny, where one does them withstand:
   But who of both the bounders knows to lay
   Him as their father must the state obey. (279-82)


Like Hobbes, Marvell bases this justification on the analogy of natural force: Cromwell's political "star ... gives us light and heat" sufficient not only to "rebuild our State" but also to protect it with "A fleet of Worlds, of other worlds in quest"--an imperial navy of "wood-Leviathans, / Armed with three tire of brazen hurricanes" capable of "sink[ing] the earth that does at anchor ride" (343, 352, 360-62,364). Using frank mercantile rhetoric far more ambivalently handled by Milton, Marvell emphasizes that Cromwell's "rents," the privileges and rights he dispenses, amount to a sum unattainable by increasing individual responsibility. At once transcending and redirecting history, sovereign spirits of this kind prove their godly right by their providential might to form a fully balanced republic:
   The common-wealth does through their centres all
   Draw the circumfrence of the public wall;
   The crossest spirits here do take their part,
   Fast'ning the contignation which they thwart;
   And they, whose nature leads them to divide,
   Uphold, this one, and that the other side:
   But the most equal still sustain the height,
   And they as pillars keep the work upright. (87-94)


This mixture of "crossest spirits" and aristocratic "pillars" with a "most equal" pillar or architect is not truly Hobbesian, since Leviathan denies the reputed benefits of mixed government, yet it does validate the Hobbesian and Machiavellian idea that great empires are founded by charismatic military leaders who force their people to forge social compacts or artificial "Leviathans" to contain "the resistance of opposed minds" (95).

Yet these views are appropriately "mixed" with the classical republican conviction that monarchy and monarchs are now obsolete. Cromwell proves this fact (10-48) by overthrowing all the superstitions surrounding traditional divine right theory: the mystical/paternal theory of social concord, astrological prediction, and all the supporting apparatus of Counter-Reformation ideology (33-40). Showing that hereditary monarchs "Nor more contribute to the state of things, / Than wooden heads unto the viol's strings" (43-44), this new Amphion rises above the "pygmies" of the past as he "scattered Time contracts, / And in one year the work of ages acts" (13-14). In the process, he abolishes the old Stoic fictions of cyclical time and invents an entirely new music of the spheres (45-48) to construct an entirely new Thebes to rule the waves (367-68). This image, in turn, recalls Noah, who floated a new world into existence after the flood, and like Milton's Noah, Marvell's patriarch clearly stands for negative liberty. A model of civic self-restraint, he "only didst for others plant the Vine / Of Liberty, not drunken with its Wine." The difference is that this Noah is far less emblematic of the familial and civic "husbandry" Milton associates with him (Paradise Lost, 11.342-48), since Cromwell's "sober liberty" again commands a passive acceptance of the proper distribution of his "vine." Those who demand more legislative rights than this all-wise parent provides will be doubly "cursed," for "such as to their parents tents do press, / May show their own, not see his nakedness" (First Anniversary, 289-92). This witty inversion of the biblical curse on Ham allows Marvell to conclude (as he does at length) that Cromwell's many detractors at home and enemies abroad are either so many false sons or so many failed emperors now "exposed" as having no clothes.

Milton could partly approve this version of negative liberty, but only as an unfortunate compromise with the classical republican tradition. Ideally, he believed that the authority unilaterally to clothe and minister to citizen-subjects belongs to only one human or superhuman person, the Son of God. Like his Noah, all his poetic heroes of faith are actually heroes of conscience who operate within the "brotherly" continuum of time and not, like Marvell's Cromwell, above it. Since God has every "human left from human free," his Lord Protector is only a protector of spiritual and individual liberty sustained by and subordinated to collective responsibility. Marvell instead subordinates negative liberty to a form of Hobbesian contract where, as Christopher Wortham notes, "power is all" in determining both sovereignty and virtue. As in Leviathan, where Hobbes "sees all public virtue in terms of power," in the Horatian Ode Marvell sees "the Sword of War" and "the Sword of Justice" as one and the same. Wortham also finds Marvell following Hobbes in his view of what people subject to a sovereign may expect in return:

1. That they be defended against forraign enemies

2. That Peace be preserv'd at home

3. That they may be enrich't as much as may consist with publique security

4. That they enjoy a harmelesse liberty. (42)

Marvell can thus approve the very kind of sovereignty that Milton most fears, in part, because he is highly attracted to the "mathematically" deductive laws of Hobbes's political theory. In contrast, Milton approves of the probabilistic experimentation and Baconian "testing" endorsed in Areopagitica and maintained even in his vision of Eden. Marvell's remarks on Eden in The Rehearsal Transpros'd, like his pastoral preference for the enclosed gardens Milton fails to celebrate, suggest that, like Hobbes, he found such "openness" far too chaotic. Since paradise was "dissolv'd in the first Instance, ... shorter-lived than Anarchy, scarce of one day's continuance," ever since, our earthly imperfection must be ruled by the same iron laws of power that Milton's God ironically overrules. (43)

Yet in the end, the great gulf between Milton's classical republican understanding of negative liberty and Marvell's more liberal view does not fully oppose these two poet-politicians. As they both clearly understood, true liberty involves internal tensions in both theory and practice. Both thus agree that in any republic, "the crossest spirits here do take their part, / Fast'ning the contignation which they [only seem to] thwart." Milton adds that negative liberty does not end disagreement but merely civilizes it, which is why its most potent enemy is not contention but stasis: a "rigid external formality" that "may as soon fall again into a grosse conforming stupidity, a stark and dead congealment of wood and hay and stubble forc't and frozen together" (Complete Prose, 2:564, emphasis in original).

University of Memphis

Memphis, Tennessee

(1.) This essay has profited from Warren Chernaik's extremely useful suggestions. For the older view of Milton's political thought, see Perez Zagorin, A History of Political Thought in the English Revolution (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1954), 106-20. For an overview of Marvell's long-term historical reputation, see Annabel Patterson, "Marvell and Secret History," in Marvell and Liberty, ed. Warren Chernaik and Martin Dzelzainis (London: Macmillan, 1999), 23-49; also see her two-volume reediting of Marvell's prose, cited in note 23 below. Zagorin corrects both his own earlier view and the overly religious misinterpretations of Milton's prose by Arthur Barker, Don M. Wolfe, and Christopher Hill in Milton: Aristocrat & Rebel: The Poet and His Politics (New York: D. S. Brewer, 1992), ix.

(2.) Joseph A. Mazzeo presents Marvell as a Royalist, monarchist, and conservative Machiavellian in "Cromwell as Davidic King' and "Cromwell as Machiavellian Prince in Marvell's 'An Horatian Ode,"' in Renaissance and Seventeenth-Century Studies (New York: Columbia UP, 1964), 166-208. John M. Wallace presents him as a conservative "loyalist" in Destiny His Choice: The Loyalism of Andrew Marvell (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1968), 106-40. Both have been countered by Warren Chernaik in The Poet's Time (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1983), and even earlier by Annabel Patterson in Marvell and the Civic Crown (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1978), 70-84, see 50-51n1-2 for a full review of the earlier literature. For a more recent overview, see Patterson's Early Modern Liberalism (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1997). Milton's Machiavellianism has been documented by several recent critics, especially Victoria Kahn, Machiavellian Rhetoric (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1994), 169-235.

(3.) Nicholas von Maltzahn, "Milton, Marvell, and Toleration," in Milton and Toleration, ed. Sharon Achinstein and Elizabeth Sauer (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2007), 86-104. Von Maltzahn also notes Milton's friendship with John Hales, the most influential contemporary exponent of this theology. Stavely's notes appear in the Yale edition of Milton's prose works cited in note 15 below.

(4.) This issue, too, has been largely overlooked, although Victoria Kahn usefully compares and contrasts Milton and Hobbes in "Political Theology and Reason of State in Samson Agonistes," SAQ 95.4 (1996): 1065-97; and Christopher Wortham compares Marvell and Hobbes in "Marvell's Cromwell Poems: An Accidental Triptych," in The Political Identity of Andrew Marvell, ed. Conal Condren and A. D. Cousins (Aldershot: Scolar P, 1990), 16-52.

(5.) See Stephen Fallon, Milton among the Philosophers: Poetry and Materialism in Seventeenth-Century England (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1991), 80-81, 96-98, 107-10, 136, 245-46.

(6.) Isaiah Berlin, Four Essays on Liberty (London: Oxford UP, 1969). Hereafter cited parenthetically as Liberty.

(7.) Richard Tuck traces the Tacitean influence on Hobbesian natural law in Philosophy and Government 1572-1651 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1993). He also notes that Tacitus could be used either to justify or to denounce tyranny, with Milton taking the latter position (253). Hereafter cited parenthetically as Philosophy.

(8.) Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, ed. C. B. Macpherson (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968), 2:21.266. Hereafter cited parenthetically as Leviathan.

(9.) Charles Taylor, "What's Wrong with Negative Liberty," in Liberty, ed. David Miller (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1991), 145.

(10.) Isaiah Berlin, "Two Concepts of Liberty," in Liberty, 51.

(11.) Philip Pettit, "Negative Liberty, Liberal and Republican," European Journal of Philosophy 1 (1993): 15-38; and Quentin Skinner, Liberty before Liberalism (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1998). On the republican opposition between slavery and freedom, see Skinner, 38-46. Pettit's text is hereafter cited parenthetically as "Negative Liberty."

(12.) In The Great Instauration: Science, Medicine, and Reform, 1626-1660 (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1975), Charles Webster notes that even the most radical social reformers simply wished to extend broader educational and other rights to the poor in order to increase their self-reliance, not their class mobility.

(13.) J.C. Davis, however, sees Christian voluntarism undermining the Levellers' political effectiveness in "The Levellers and Christianity," in Politics, Religion, and the English Civil War, ed. Brian Manning (London: Edward Arnold, 1973), 225-50.

(14.) Skinner, Liberty before Liberalism, 30-31. On the federalist aspect of The Readie and Easie Way, see also Blair Hoxby, Mammon's Music: Literature and Economics in the Age of Milton (New Haven: Yale UP, 2002), 77-92.

(15.) John Milton, The Complete Prose Works of John Milton, ed. Don M. Wolfe (New Haven: Yale UP, 1953-82), 7:458-59, 3:519. Milton's prose is hereafter cited parenthetically as Complete Prose.

(16.) John Milton, Complete Poems and Major Prose, ed. Merritt Y. Hughes (New York: Odyssey P, 1957), 14. All citations from Milton's poetry are taken from this work and are hereafter cited parenthetically by poem title and line number. His epic Paradise Lost is hereafter cited parenthetically as Paradise Lost.

(17.) On this point, see also Skinner, Liberty before Liberalism, 66-67.

(18.) I refer here to works like Arnold's Culture and Anarchy (1869), which revives the classical republican association of rampant, licentious individualism with social breakdown. Mill takes the opposing view in his famous essay "On Liberty" (1859).

(19.) Hoxby, Mammon's Music, 44-52.

(20.) See Blair Worden, "Classical Republicanism and the Puritan Revolution," in History and Imagination: Essays in Honour of H. R. Trevor-Roper, ed. Hugh Lloyd-Jones, Valerie Pearl, and Blair Worden (London: Duckworth, 1981), 182-200; Austin Woolrych, "Milton and Cromwell: 'A Short but Scandalous Night of Interruption?'," in Achievements of the Left Hand, ed. Michael Lieb and John T. Shawcross (Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 1974), 185-218; and Martin Dzelzainis, "Milton and the Protectorate in 1658," in Milton and Republicanism, ed. David Armitage, Armand Himy, and Quentin Skinner (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1995), 3-24.

(21.) Blair Worden, "John Milton and Oliver Cromwell," in Soldiers, Writers, and Statesmen of the English Revolution, ed. Ian Gentles, John Morrell, and Blair Worden (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1998), 244n2, 257, 259. Worden quotes Milton's Defensio pro populo Anglicano (1651) from the Columbia edition.

(22.) Kahn, Machiavellian Rhetoric, 179, 132.

(23.) Annabel Patterson, ed., The Prose Works of Andrew Marvell (New Haven: Yale UP, 2003), 1:xxxii-xxxiii, see also n34. Marvell's The Rehearsal Transpros'd distances himself from Hobbes, but still conveys absolutist implications (212-13).

(24.) Robert Hodge, Foreshortened Time: Andrew Marvell and Seventeenth Century Revolutions (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1978), 14-15. In "Liberty Transpros'd: Marvell and Samuel Parker," Jon Parkin proposes an intriguing "revisionist" argument that the poet's greater knowledge of the "monster of Malmesbury" actually allows him to out-Hobbes Samuel Parker, in Marvell and Liberty, ed. Chernaik and Dzelainis, 280-83. Wortham builds an even broader case in "Marvell's Cromwell Poems," see below.

(25.) Quotations from Marvell's poems are from The Poems of Andrew Marvell, ed. Nigel Smith (Harlow: Pearson, 2003). Hereafter cited parenthetically by title and line number.

(26.) On the authoritarian, disciplinarian, and imperial aspect of the Calvinist tradition, see William Lamont, Godly Rule: Politics and Religion 1603-1660 (New York: Macmillan, 1969), and Puritanism and Historical Controversy (Montreal: McGill-Queen's UP, 1996). Hodge believes that Marvell's lingering royalist sympathies made him receptive to a King Oliver, but admits that little sign of royalism remains in Marvell's post-Restoration faithfulness to Milton or even his support for Charles II (Foreshortened Time, 96).

(27.) In Writing the English Republic: Poetry, Rhetoric, and Politics 1627-1660 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1999), 243-98, David Norbrook similarly notes Marvell's protosecularist aesthetic (265-66, 290-91), his lack of a "consistent ideological pattern" in the Commonwealth and Protectorate poems (249), and his Horatian Ode's fusion of an "unillusioned realism" that is "Hobbesian in spirit" with "an activist republicanism" (264).

(28.) See my "The Phoenix and the Crocodile: Milton's Natural Law Debate with Hobbes Retried in the Tragic Forum of Samson Agonistes," in The English Civil Wars in the Literary Imagination, ed. Claude Summers and Ted Pebworth (Columbia: U of Missouri P, 1999), 242-70.

(29.) Marvell, "To a Friend in Persia," in Herschel Maurice Margoliouth, The Poems and Letters of Andrew Marvell (Oxford: Clarendon P, 1927), 2:309.

(30.) Marvell, The Rehearsal Transpros'd, in The Prose Works of Andrew Marvell, 1:192.

(31.) J.G.A. Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1975), 378-79.

(32.) Hodge, Foreshortened Time, 118-22.

(33.) Virgil, The Aeneid, trans. Robert Fitzgerald (New York: Random House, 1981), 1:564-66.

(34.) Compare Virgil, Aeneid, 1:581-83.

(35.) Milton, Complete Poems, 161, note to Sonnet 16, 10-11.

(36.) Norbrook in Writing the English Republic contrasts Marvell's treatment of war in the "Horatian Ode" and "Character of Holland" with Milton's "unease" about war in his Cromwell sonnet, 292-98.

(37.) Compare Wallace, Destiny His Choice, 30-38, 45-48, 54-58.

(38.) Compare David Quint, Epic and Empire: Politics and Generic Form from Virgil to Milton (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1992).

(39.) William Lamont, in "The Religion of Andrew Marvell: Locating the 'Bloody Horse,"' shows that Marvell's providential history is closer to Presbyterians like Richard Baxter than to Milton; see The Political Identity of Andrew Marvell, 141-43.

(40.) Skinner, Liberty before Liberalism, 23.

(41.) Marvell's source is Cicero, who said that the highest, lowest, and intermediate orders of a commonwealth harmoniously join, like sounds, when the principle of moderation is applied (Cicero, On the Commonwealth, 2.42.69).

(42.) Wortham, "Marvell's Cromwell Poems," 26-27, cites Hobbes, De Cive, ed. Howard Warrender (Oxford: Clarendon P, 1983), 158.

(43.) Marvell, The Rehearsal Transpros'd, The Second Part, in The Prose Works of Andrew Marvell, 1:323. On the difference between Marvellian and Miltonic gardens, see my essay on "The Enclosed Garden and the Apocalypse: Immanent Versus Transcendent Time in Milton and Marvell," in Milton and the Ends of Time, ed. Juliet Cummins (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2003), 144-68.
COPYRIGHT 2007 Indiana University, Purdue University of Fort Wayne
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Oliver Cromwell, John Milton, Andrew Marvell,
Author:Martin, Catherine Gimelli
Publication:CLIO
Article Type:Critical essay
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2007
Words:9393
Previous Article:Happiness: A History.
Next Article:Coding famine: famine relief and the British Raj in Rudyard Kipling's "William the Conqueror".
Topics:

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2022 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |