Abstract and Keywords
Marvell’s work as an elegist foregrounds his shifting political allegiance during the decade after his return to England. His first two elegies—‘An Elegy Upon the Death of My Lord Francis Villiers’ (1648) and ‘Upon the Death of Lord Hastings’ (1649)—place him in royalist literary circles during the Second Civil War and its immediate aftermath, whereas ‘A Poem upon the Death of his Late Highness the Lord Protector’ (1658‒9) testifies to his service to the Protectorate and personal relationship with Cromwell. In his elegies on Villiers and Hastings, Marvell uncovers the need for the historical and temporal agency that he later assigns to Cromwell in ‘An Horatian Ode’ and ‘The First Anniversary’. The death of Cromwell prompts Marvell to rework material and tropes from these earlier elegies to make sense of this seemingly immortal figure’s sudden mortality and to secure his former patron’s reputation and political legacy.
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