Adnax Publications

A selection of English Poetry from Milton to Marvell

John Milton (1608-1674)

John Milton, most celebrated as the author of Paradise Lost, also wrote a certain amount of other poetry in English, Latin and Italian. His total output prior to the publication of his magnum opus was not large, but it was enough to establish his reputation as a major poet. He then spent a considerable amount of time in his prime in writing pamphlets, largely in the service of Cromwell's government, amongst which the Tenure of Kings and Magistrates acted as an eloquent justification for the trial and execution of King Charles I in January 1649. In March of that year, he was appointed Secretary of Foreign Tongues for the new government.

Our selection of poems dates from an ealier, less dramatic period when Milton was persuaded by Henry Lawes, one of the King's personal musicians, to provide words for an aristocratic entertainment. Comus was the result, a playful, beautifully crafted piece of work which, in 1634 (26) clearly presages the quality of the poetry that was to be finally published more than thirty years later.

Excerpt from Comus

Methought I saw my late Espousèd Saint

On Time

Andrew Marvell (1621-1678)

Little is known about Andrew Marvell other than that he was a member of Parliament, and travelled on the continent and to Russia as his country's representative, but the quality of this verse is undeniable. It is also very striking, direct and original. It troubles modern commentators who are enmired in their own sexual hang-ups. The appreciation of the poem also depends on making the effort to find out how 'am'rous birds of prey' actually behave.

To his Coy Mistress 

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