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SIMPKIN AND MARSHALL, STATIONERS'-HALL-COURT;
JOHN HEATON, LEEDS; AND JAMES PURDON, HULL.
The Biographical Memoir now submitted to the Public, was intended to have commenced a series of Lives, to be published under the title of “ The Worthies of Yorkshire and Lancashire,” for which a Prospectus was issued last March.
As the original Editor and Compiler of that Work, the writer of the present Life, made considerable Collections for the purpose of carrying it into effect with credit and punctuality. He had not proceeded far, however, when he found himself frustrated in his wish to have the Work conducted with that exactness and regularity which was promised in the Prospectus.
This circumstance determined him to relinquish it; but not wishing that his labours should be entirely lost, he now presents the Public with a Life of ANDREW MARVELL, in a detached form. Should the present Memoir be favourably received, it is his intention to publish, at distant intervals, the Lives of some of the most eminent Yorkshiremen—for which he possesses ample materials.
Though it has been the endeavour of the Compiler of this Life to make it as perfect as possible, he will esteem it a favour (through the medium of his Publisher) to be furnished with, or directed to, further information respecting the illustrious Patriot who is the subject of the present Work.
August 24th, 1832.
It is the privilege of posterity to adjust the characters of illustrious persons:-ANDREW MARVELL has therefore become a celebrated name, and is now known as one of the most incorruptible patriots that England, or any other country, ever produced. The “British Aristides” has been long the great exemplar of public and private integrity. A character so exalted and pure astonished a corrupt age, and overawed even majesty itself. His manners were Roman: he lived on the turnip of Curtius, and would have bled at Philippi.
As a Poet, too, Marvell possesses considerable merit, and as a Satirist he was one of the keenest in the luxuriant age of Charles II. It is not matter of surprise, when the literary character of MILTON was so long in struggling into public admiration, that the poetical fame of Marvell should experience a similar fate.* If the humiliating and sturdy prejudices of Dr. JOHNSON were so far overcome, or overawed, as charitably to admit the biography of Milton among his “Lives of the Poets,” he could hardly be expected to chronicle the stern patrio
* The following proof of political prejudice, earlier than Johnson's day, may not be known :-"John Milton was one whose natural parts might deservedly give him a place amongst the principal of our English Poets, having written two heroic poems and a tragedy, viz:- Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes; but his fame is gone out like a candle in a snuff, and his memory will always stink, which might have ever lived in honourable repute, had he not been a notorious traitor, and most impioasly and villanously belied that blessed martyr, King Charles I.”- Lives of the most famous English Poets, &c. 1687, by Wm. Winstanley.