Andrew Marvell and Payne Fisher

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The Latin-English bilingualism of seventeenth-century English poetry remains barely explored, and, with the exception of studies of Milton, almost no work has attempted to map the interaction between major English and Latin poems of the period, even when such works were produced in close temporal and geographical proximity and on the same events. This article explores the significance of such interactions through an examination of the relationship between Andrew Marvell's English political poetry of the 1650s and the work of Payne Fisher, Cromwell's poet, who produced a stream of major Latin works in that decade, issued in fine editions several of which were sent abroad to solicit international support for the Commonwealth and Protectorate. With the work of David Norbrook, Nigel Smith, Blair Worden, Nicholas McDowell, James Loxley, Paul Davis and others, the intertextual connections of Marvell's verse have been particularly well explored; but where Fisher's work has been mentioned in passing in relation to Marvell, comment has almost always depended upon Thomas Manley's workmanlike 1652 translation of just one of Fisher's works, not upon Fisher's Latin itself, and has depicted Fisher as the secondary poet, dependent upon or imitative of Marvell. The evidence suggests that the influence ran mostly in the other direction. Marvell and Fisher were both drawing on, and contributing to, a distinctive political poetry of the Protectorate, and our appreciation of both poets is improved by reading them alongside one another.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)524–548
Issue number285
Early online date7 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


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