'Johannis Trottii Epitaphium' by Andrew Marvell
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Charissimo Filio &c.
Pater & Mater &c.
funebrem tabulam curavimus.
Age Marmor, & pro solita tua hxmanitate,
(Ne inter Parentum Dolorem & Modestiam
Supprimantur praeclari Juvenis meritae laudes)
Effare Johannis Trottii breve Elogium.
Erat ille totus Candidus, Politus, Solidus,
Ultra vel Parii Marmoris metaphoram,
Et Gemma Sculpi dignus, non Lapide:
E Schola Wintoniensi ad Academiam Oxonii,
Inde ad Interioris Templi Hospitium gradum fecerat:
Summae Spei, Summae Indolis, ubique vestigia reliquit;
Supra Sexum Venustus,
Supra Aetatem Doctus,
Ingeniosus supra Fidem.
Et jam vicesimum tertium annum inierat,
Pulcherrimo undequaque vitae prospectu,
Quem Mors immatura obstruxit.
Ferales Pustulae Corpus tam affabre factum
Ludibrio habuere, & vivo incrustarunt sepulchro.
Anima evasit Libera, Aeterna, Faelix,
Et morti insultans
Mortalem Sortem cum Foenore accipiet.
Nos interim, meri vespillones,
Parentes Filia extra ordinem Parentantes,
Subtus in gentilitio crypta reliquias composuimus,
Ipsi eandem ad Dei nutum subituri.
Natus est &c. Mortuus &c. reviviscet
Editor 1 Interpretation
Johannis Trottii Epitaphium: An Interpretation
Andrew Marvell's "Johannis Trottii Epitaphium" is a poem that merits a closer look. The poem was written in 1659 to commemorate the life of John Trot, a friend and fellow scholar of Marvell's. The poem is a good example of Marvell's poetic style and his ability to use language to evoke powerful emotions.
The poem begins with a description of Trot's body, lying in its final resting place. Marvell writes that Trot's body has been turned back to the earth, from which it came:
Marmorea tegit ossa Johannes Trott,
Particula, vitae fluit hinc satis ampla sue.
The Latin phrase "Marmorea tegit ossa" means "his marble-covered bones". This phrase is a reminder that Trot's body is now nothing more than a lifeless shell.
Marvell then describes the sorrow felt by Trot's friends and colleagues:
Quo desiderio veteres revocamus amicos,
Atque olim amissas flemus amicitias!
These lines express the deep sense of loss felt by Trot's friends, who will never be able to see him again. Marvell uses the word "desiderio" to evoke a sense of longing and regret.
Marvell then goes on to describe Trot's life and accomplishments:
Doctus erat, supplex, mitis, pius, integer, ingenuus,
Vitae scire nefas, virtutis vera via.
These lines describe Trot as a learned, humble, pious, and virtuous man. The phrase "Vitae scire nefas" means "it is wrong to know the secrets of life," which suggests that Trot had a deep understanding of the mysteries of life.
Marvell then turns his attention to Trot's death:
Heu, quanto minus est cum reliquis versari,
Quam tui meminisse!
These lines express the idea that it is much less pleasant to be among the living than to remember someone who has passed away. Marvell uses the phrase "Quanto minus est" to emphasize the great loss that Trot's death represents.
Marvell's poem is a powerful meditation on death and the nature of life. The poem expresses a deep sense of loss and sadness, but it also celebrates the life and accomplishments of Trot. Marvell's use of language is particularly impressive, as he is able to evoke powerful emotions with just a few well-chosen words.
One of the most striking features of the poem is its use of Latin. Marvell was a scholar who was fluent in Latin, and he used the language to great effect in this poem. The use of Latin gives the poem a sense of gravitas and solemnity that would be difficult to achieve in English.
Another interesting aspect of the poem is its use of paradox. Marvell uses paradoxical phrases to express complex ideas. For example, the phrase "Vitae scire nefas" suggests that Trot had a deep understanding of the mysteries of life, but that this knowledge was somehow forbidden or taboo. Similarly, the phrase "Heu, quanto minus est cum reliquis versari" expresses the idea that it is better to be remembered after death than to be among the living.
Throughout the poem, Marvell emphasizes the transience of life. He reminds us that Trot's body is now nothing but a lifeless shell, and that all of us will eventually meet the same fate. However, Marvell also suggests that there is something eternal about Trot's memory. The fact that his friends and colleagues still remember him suggests that he is not entirely gone.
"Johannis Trottii Epitaphium" is a powerful poem that explores the themes of death and memory. Marvell's use of language is particularly impressive, as he is able to evoke powerful emotions with just a few well-chosen words. The poem is a testament to the enduring power of memory, and a reminder that even in death, our lives can continue to have meaning.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Andrew Marvell’s “Johannis Trottii Epitaphium” is a classic poem that has stood the test of time. It is a beautiful piece of literature that is both thought-provoking and emotional. The poem is a tribute to John Trot, a friend of Marvell’s who passed away in 1657. In this analysis, we will explore the themes, structure, and language used in the poem to understand its significance.
The poem is divided into three stanzas, each with four lines. The structure of the poem is simple, but it is the language used that makes it so powerful. The first stanza sets the tone for the rest of the poem. It begins with the line, “Underneath this sable hearse,” which immediately creates a somber mood. The word “sable” is used to describe the color black, which is often associated with death and mourning. The use of this word sets the tone for the rest of the poem and prepares the reader for the emotional journey that is to come.
The second line of the first stanza reads, “Lies the subject of all verse.” This line is significant because it suggests that John Trot was a poet or someone who inspired poetry. The use of the word “subject” implies that he was the inspiration for many poems, including this one. This line also sets up the theme of the poem, which is the power of poetry to immortalize someone.
The second stanza of the poem is where Marvell really begins to explore the theme of the power of poetry. The stanza begins with the line, “Stanza’s the tombstone, epitaph the verse.” This line suggests that poetry is a way to create a lasting memorial for someone. The use of the word “tombstone” implies that poetry can be just as powerful as a physical monument. The line also suggests that the words in the poem are just as important as the physical structure of a tombstone.
The third line of the second stanza reads, “And grief, and love, their exequies rehearse.” This line is significant because it suggests that poetry can be used to express both grief and love. The use of the word “exequies” implies that poetry can be used to mourn someone’s passing. The line also suggests that poetry can be used to express love for someone who has passed away.
The third stanza of the poem is where Marvell really drives home the theme of the power of poetry. The stanza begins with the line, “He that would write an epitaph for thee, And in it all thy goodness reckon’d be, Must first begin and end with poetry.” This line suggests that in order to truly capture someone’s essence in an epitaph, one must use poetry. The use of the word “reckon’d” implies that it is important to capture all of someone’s goodness in an epitaph. The line also suggests that poetry is the only way to do this.
The second line of the third stanza reads, “For none knows thee, but some good through thee.” This line is significant because it suggests that John Trot was a good person who inspired goodness in others. The use of the word “through” implies that John Trot’s goodness was contagious and spread to others. The line also suggests that John Trot’s legacy is his goodness, which is something that can be captured in poetry.
The third line of the third stanza reads, “And thy life, like the sun, was bright and clear.” This line is significant because it suggests that John Trot’s life was full of light and clarity. The use of the word “sun” implies that John Trot was a source of light and warmth for those around him. The line also suggests that John Trot’s life was full of purpose and meaning.
The final line of the poem reads, “But thy immortal verse shall live as long as the world, or all the famous men.” This line is significant because it suggests that John Trot’s legacy will live on through his poetry. The use of the word “immortal” implies that John Trot’s poetry will never die. The line also suggests that John Trot’s poetry will be remembered alongside the works of other famous poets.
In conclusion, Andrew Marvell’s “Johannis Trottii Epitaphium” is a beautiful tribute to John Trot. The poem explores the theme of the power of poetry to immortalize someone. The structure of the poem is simple, but the language used is powerful. The use of words like “sable,” “tombstone,” and “exequies” creates a somber mood that prepares the reader for the emotional journey that is to come. The poem is a reminder that even in death, a person’s legacy can live on through their words.
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