Abstract and Keywords
This article examines Andrew Marvell's three major poems on Cromwell in terms of the issues of patronage and allegiance that confronted poets and writers amid the shifting political contexts of the 1650s. It seeks to understand Marvell's Cromwell poems as in dialogue with the arguments and activities of his peers and fellow Cromwellians, as well as responses to the figure of Cromwell himself. The issue of allegiance was connected with the need to secure an income for someone such as Marvell, without sufficient private means to remain independent of employment. But neither was political allegiance decided only by the availability of patronage for a man as intellectually sophisticated as Marvell. There was ideological substance to Marvell's support for the Cromwellian Protectorate, and that support was rooted in the perception of Cromwell as a leader who could offer domestic security as well as military glory — who would suppress clerical and sectarian ambitions for power in the interests of civil liberty.
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