Look Homeward Angel: Angelic Guardianship and Nationhood
The poems presented here by Abraham Cowley, John Milton, Andrew Marvell, and George Wither are all state-of-the-nation poems that invoke the presence of national angels. Milton and Wither raise questions about the relationship between the islands and the kingdom. Cowley's Cromwell, driven by an evil angel, retorts to Marvell's ‘Angelic Cromwell’. Marvell may have known Wither's poem, and also Wither's later poem on Cromwell's riding accident, which construes a complex and qualified mode of praise. All of these writings are rooted in an account of the nature and offices of angels that was common in early modern Britain. And all engage in a dialogue that is founded upon a sense of the imaginative possibilities of angels.
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