Andrew Marvell: Poems

Andrew Marvell: The Pastoral, Conveyed

Andrew Marvell’s poetry exemplifies an ancient literary genre known as the pastoral. This genre, which dates back to the third century B.C.E., represents the values of the shepherd and rustic life. Marvell’s poems “The Garden” and “The Nymph Complaining for the Death of Her Fawn” both embody the pastoral style, but they differ in the way they portray pastoral ideals. This essay analyzes their pastoral themes and color metaphors.

“The Garden” focuses on an abstract theme, far-fetched and yet typical for Marvell, who is renowned for his unique, metaphysical elaborations. In this poem, he compares the shade of a garden to a sanctuary, a place where one finds peace and enlightenment. Marvell begins this metaphor by criticizing material ambition. He argues that glory-seeking men compete in “uncessant labors” in order to be “crowned from some single herb or tree” (3, 4). These crowns, however, produce only a “narrow-verged shade” that cannot compare to the much more satisfying shade of “all the flowers and trees” in the vast garden (5, 7). Marvell is overwhelmingly intrigued with the garden’s ability to cultivate knowledge, and in the second stanza he further develops the theme of Nature’s superiority. He goes on to explain that “...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 945 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 7623 literature essays, 2155 sample college application essays, 318 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in