Marvell and the First Anniversary
Before ‘The First Anniversary’ came about, Andrew Marvell wrote next to nothing about the internal politics of the Puritan regimes whose external policies he favoured. He was virtually silent about the political tensions and convulsions of the two years and more following the victory at Worcester. The protector's standing abroad is a main theme of ‘The First Anniversary’. In celebrating it, Marvell projected the images of the protectorate that Marchamont Nedham's writings of 1654 had already fostered. Under the protectorate, Politicus, with rare exceptions, eschewed the irony that had made it so incisive a publication under the Commonwealth. The contrast parallels that between ‘An Horatian Ode’ and ‘The First Anniversary’, for in the second poem Marvell sheds the tension of competing meanings that marks the first.
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