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date: 26 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter investigates the relationship between music and Marvell’s poetry. Beginning with a detailed reading of ‘Music’s Empire’, the discussion then proceeds to consider three main musical qualities of Marvell’s verse. First, the poems are shown to have been written with music in mind, imagining or anticipating the frameworks of melody, harmony, and rhythm for his lyrics and dialogues. Second, the poems celebrate the power of music not only by being rich with musical metaphors but also by being consistently and richly alert to the sense of hearing. Third, the chapter suggests that Marvell’s poems turn to musical ideas as a way of characterizing the profound spiritual and political matters of his lifetime. The chapter ends with an account of some actual musical settings of his verse, drawing on early modern and more recent examples of composers’ interpretative responses to his poems.

Keywords: declamatory air, dialogue, empire, hearing, lyric, music, musical settings, song

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