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Literature and Politics in Cromwellian England$
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Blair Worden

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199230822

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199230822.001.0001

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Marvell and the Ambassadors

Marvell and the Ambassadors

(p.116) 5 Marvell and the Ambassadors
Literature and Politics in Cromwellian England

Blair Worden

Oxford University Press

After 1650 Andrew Marvell put himself forward on two fronts. He was a poet, but he also aspired to a post in diplomacy or foreign affairs. In February 1653, John Milton, the now blind Latin Secretary, wrote to his and Marchamont Nedham's friend the Commonwealth's statesman John Bradshaw to ask, in vain as it turned out, for Marvell to be offered a job as his own assistant. Milton pointed to Marvell's experience of foreign travel, and his knowledge of languages. On that basis he made the audacious claim that ‘in a short time’ Marvell would be able to do ‘as good service’ for the republic as that performed by Anthony Ascham, the ambassador to Madrid. Perhaps Marvell's upbringing at the great port of Hull, which traded with northern Europe, helped to explain why he cultivated a particular interest in the affairs of those rivals for mastery of the Baltic, the Netherlands, and Sweden, the subjects of his political poetry.

Keywords:   Andrew Marvell, poet, foreign affairs, John Milton, Marchamont Nedham, John Bradshaw, Anthony Ascham, ambassador, political poetry

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