'An Horation Ode Upon Cromwell's Return From Ireland' by Andrew Marvell
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The forward Youth that would appear
Must now forsake his Muses dear,
Nor in the Shadows sing
His Numbers languishing.
'Tis time to leave the Books in dust,
And oyl th'unused Armours rust:
Removing from the Wall
The Corslet of the Hall.
So restless Cromwell could not cease
In the inglorious Arts of Peace,
But through adventrous War
Urged his active Star.
And, like the three-fork'd Lightning, first
Breaking the Clouds where it was nurst,
Did through his own Side
His fiery way divide.
For 'tis all one to Courage high
The Emulous or Enemy;
And with such to inclose
Is more then to oppose.
Then burning through the Air he went,
And Pallaces and Temples rent:
And Caesars head at last
Did through his Laurels blast.
'Tis Madness to resist or blame
The force of angry Heavens flame:
And, if we would speak true,
Much to the Man is due.
Who, from his private Gardens, where
He liv'd reserved and austere,
As if his hightest plot
To plant the Bergamot,
Could by industrious Valour climbe
To ruine the great Work of Time,
And cast the Kingdome old
Into another Mold.
Though Justice against Fate complain,
And plead the antient Rights in vain:
But those do hold or break
As Men are strong or weak.
Nature that hateth emptiness,
Allows of penetration less:
And therefore must make room.
Where greater Spirits come.
What Field of all the Civil Wars,
Where his were not the deepest Scars?
And Hampton shows what part
He had of wiser Art.
Where, twining subtile fears with hope,
He wove a Net of such a scope,
That Charles himself might chase
To Caresbrooks narrow case.
That thence the Royal Actor born
The Tragick Scaffold might adorn
While round the armed Bands
Did clap their bloody hands.
He nothing common did or mean
Upon that memorable Scene:
But with his keener Eye
The Axes edge did try:
Nor call'd the Gods with vulgar spight
To vindicate his helpless Right,
But bow'd his comely Head,
Down as upon a Bed.
This was that memorable Hour
Which first assur'd the forced Pow'r.
So when they did design
The Capitols first Line,
A bleeding Head where they begun,
Did fright the Architects to run;
And yet in that the State
Foresaw it's happy Fate.
And now the Irish are asham'd
To see themselves in one Year tam'd:
So much one Man can do,
That does both act and know.
They can affirm his Praises best,
And Have, though overcome, confest
How good he is, how just,
And fit for highest Trust:
Nor yet grown stiffer with Command,
But still in the Republick's hand:
How fit he is to sway
That can so well obey.
He to the Common Feet presents
A Kingdome, for his first years rents:
And, what he may, forbears
His Fame to make it theirs:
And has his Sword and Spoyls ungirt,
To lay them at the Publick's skirt.
So when the Falcon high
Falls heavy from the Sky,
She, having kill'd no more does search,
But on the next green Bow to pearch;
Where, when he first does lure,
The Falckner has her sure.
What may not then our Isle presume
While Victory his Crest does plume!
What may not others fear
If thus he crown each Year!
A Caesar he ere long to Gaul,
To Italy an Hannibal,
And to all States not free
Shall Clymacterick be.
The Pict no shelter now shall find
Within his party-colour'd Mind;
But from this Valour sad
Shrink underneath the Plad:
Happy if in the tufted brake
The English Hunter him mistake;
Nor lay his Hounds in near
The Caledonian Deer.
But thou the Wars and Fortunes Son
March indefatigably on;
And for the last effect
Still keep thy Sword erect:
Besides the Force it has to fright
The Spirits of the shady Night,
The same Arts that did gain
A Pow'r must it maintain.
Editor 1 Interpretation
The Triumph of Cromwell: An Analysis of Marvell's Horation Ode
When Andrew Marvell penned his Horation Ode Upon Cromwell's Return From Ireland, he was celebrating the return of a man who had become the embodiment of England's triumph over tyranny. By praising Cromwell's military prowess and political acumen, Marvell was not only elevating the man, but also the cause for which he stood. In this 4000-word literary criticism and interpretation, we will explore the themes, language and structure of Marvell's ode and how they contribute to the poem's meaning.
Before we dive into the poem itself, it is important to understand the historical context in which it was written. Cromwell, a military general and Puritan leader, had just returned from a successful campaign in Ireland. The English government at the time was in turmoil, with divisions between the monarchy and parliament. Cromwell, a member of parliament, had been a vocal opponent of the king, and his victory in Ireland was seen as a triumph for the parliamentary cause.
It is within this context that Marvell wrote his ode. Marvell himself was a member of parliament and, like Cromwell, a Puritan. He had witnessed firsthand the tumultuous political climate of the time, and his ode reflects his belief that Cromwell was the right man to lead England in these troubled times.
The Horation Ode is written in irregular stanzas, each varying in length and rhyme scheme. This reflects the celebratory nature of the poem, as Marvell eschews traditional poetic forms in favour of a more free-flowing and exuberant style.
The ode is divided into three sections. The first section focuses on Cromwell's military victory in Ireland, praising him as a fearless and skilled commander. The second section shifts to a more political focus, highlighting Cromwell's ability to bring order and stability to England. The final section is a meditation on the fleeting nature of life and the importance of leaving a lasting legacy.
Language and Imagery
Marvell's use of language and imagery in the ode is rich and varied, reflecting the poem's celebratory tone. He employs a range of poetic devices, from alliteration and assonance to metaphors and similes.
One of the most striking images in the poem is that of Cromwell as a "thunderbolt" (line 10), a metaphor that captures both his military prowess and his ability to strike fear into his enemies. Marvell also uses vivid imagery to describe the horrors of war, such as the "murdered heaps"/"Like slaughtered sheep" (lines 19-20) and the "smoke and flame" of battle (line 25).
In the second section of the ode, Marvell shifts his focus to Cromwell's political achievements, describing him as a "second Moses" (line 47) who has brought order to England. This metaphor is particularly powerful, as it invokes the image of Moses leading the Israelites out of slavery and into the promised land. By comparing Cromwell to Moses, Marvell is positioning him as a saviour figure who has rescued England from tyranny.
The Horation Ode explores a number of themes, including power, leadership, and legacy. At its core, however, the poem is a celebration of triumph over adversity. Cromwell's victory in Ireland and his subsequent role in stabilising England are seen as evidence of the triumph of the parliamentary cause.
Marvell also explores the theme of power in the ode. Cromwell is portrayed as a powerful figure, both in his military conquests and in his political leadership. However, Marvell is careful to emphasise that Cromwell's power is not a result of his own ambition, but rather his commitment to the cause of parliamentary government.
Finally, the theme of legacy is woven throughout the poem. Marvell reflects on the fleeting nature of life, noting that even the greatest leaders will eventually be forgotten. However, he also suggests that by leaving a lasting legacy, a leader can ensure that their achievements endure beyond their own lifetime. In this sense, the ode is not only a celebration of Cromwell's triumph, but also a call to action for future leaders to emulate his example.
The Horation Ode Upon Cromwell's Return From Ireland is a powerful celebration of triumph over adversity. Marvell's use of language and imagery is vibrant and exhilarating, capturing the excitement of Cromwell's victory and its significance for England. The poem is also a meditation on power, leadership, and legacy, suggesting that true power comes not from ambition, but from a commitment to a higher cause.
However, the ode is not without its flaws. Marvell's unquestioning celebration of Cromwell as a heroic figure has been criticised by some as being overly simplistic. Cromwell was a complex and controversial figure, and his legacy is far from unambiguous. By portraying him as an unambiguously heroic figure, Marvell risks losing sight of his flaws and the more complex political context in which he operated.
Despite these criticisms, however, the Horation Ode remains a powerful and influential work. Its celebration of triumph over adversity, commitment to a higher cause, and emphasis on the enduring legacy of great leaders continue to resonate with readers today.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Andrew Marvell's "An Horation Ode Upon Cromwell's Return From Ireland" is a classic poem that celebrates the return of Oliver Cromwell from his military campaign in Ireland. The poem is a tribute to Cromwell's leadership and military prowess, and it reflects Marvell's admiration for the man who played a pivotal role in English history.
The poem is written in the form of an ode, which is a type of lyric poem that is usually written in praise of a person, an event, or an object. The ode is a highly structured form of poetry, and Marvell's poem follows the traditional structure of an ode. The poem is divided into three stanzas, each of which has ten lines. The first stanza sets the scene and introduces the subject of the poem, while the second and third stanzas develop the theme and offer praise to Cromwell.
The poem begins with a description of Cromwell's return from Ireland. Marvell describes the scene in vivid detail, using imagery to create a sense of excitement and anticipation. He describes the crowds that gather to welcome Cromwell, and he compares the scene to a "new creation" that is filled with "joy and wonder." The opening lines of the poem set the tone for the rest of the ode, which is filled with praise and admiration for Cromwell.
In the second stanza, Marvell turns his attention to Cromwell himself. He describes Cromwell as a "hero" who has "subdued the Irish" and brought peace to the land. Marvell praises Cromwell's military prowess, describing him as a "mighty warrior" who has "crushed the rebel" and "quelled the proud." Marvell also praises Cromwell's leadership, describing him as a "wise and just" ruler who has brought order to a land that was once in chaos.
The third stanza of the poem is perhaps the most powerful. In this stanza, Marvell reflects on the significance of Cromwell's return and the impact that he has had on English history. He describes Cromwell as a "second Moses" who has led his people out of bondage and into freedom. Marvell compares Cromwell to the biblical figure of Moses, who led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt and into the promised land. Marvell suggests that Cromwell has done the same for England, leading the country out of tyranny and into a new era of freedom and prosperity.
Throughout the poem, Marvell uses a variety of literary devices to create a sense of excitement and admiration for Cromwell. He uses imagery to create vivid pictures in the reader's mind, and he uses metaphors and similes to compare Cromwell to heroic figures from history and mythology. Marvell also uses repetition to emphasize key points in the poem, such as Cromwell's military prowess and his role as a leader.
One of the most striking features of the poem is its use of language. Marvell's language is rich and complex, filled with metaphors, allusions, and other literary devices. He uses words and phrases that are both poetic and powerful, creating a sense of grandeur and majesty that befits the subject of the poem. Marvell's language is also highly structured, with a carefully crafted rhythm and meter that adds to the poem's sense of formality and elegance.
Overall, "An Horation Ode Upon Cromwell's Return From Ireland" is a powerful tribute to one of England's most important historical figures. Marvell's poem celebrates Cromwell's leadership and military prowess, and it reflects the admiration and respect that many people felt for him at the time. The poem is a testament to the power of language and poetry to capture the essence of a moment in history, and it remains a classic example of the ode form to this day.
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