Thursday, June 30, 2011


No Hostile Hand

Andrew Marvell (1621-1678), Upon the Hill and Grove at Bill-Borow. To the Lord Fairfax, stanzas V-VI:

Upon its crest this Mountain grave
A Plump of aged Trees does wave.
No hostile hand durst ere invade    35
With impious Steel the sacred Shade.
For something alwaies did appear
Of the Great Masters terrour there:
And Men could hear his Armour still
Ratling through all the Grove and Hill.    40


Fear of the Master, and respect
Of the great Nymph did it protect;
Vera the Nymph that him inspir'd,
To whom he often here retir'd,
And on these Okes ingrav'd her Name;    45
Such wounds alone these Woods became:
But ere he well the Barks could part
'Twas writ already in their Heart.
38, 41: the master is Lord Fairfax, i.e. Thomas Fairfax, 3rd Lord Fairfax of Cameron (1612-1671).
43: Vera stands for Anne de Vere, whom Fairfax married.

Text in The Poems & Letters of Andrew Marvell, ed. H.M. Margoliouth, Vol. I (Poems) (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1927), pp. 56-58 (these stanzas on p. 57); discussion in A.J.N. Wilson, "Andrew Marvell: Upon the Hill and Grove at Bill-Borow and Musicks Empire," Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 51 (1969) 453-482.

Thanks very much to the generous patron who gave me Marvell's Poems & Letters, together with many other valuable books.


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