Embodied Emblems of Gendered and Authorial Ambiguity
According to the National Portrait Gallery in London, there exist twelve confirmed portraits of Andrew Marvell, with a further four that are still in question. In each of these portraits we see a grave, long-nosed young man dressed in a dark overcoat with an elaborate white collar and long, dark hair parted in the center.[i] Some portraits render this hair curlier than others—notably the unattributed engraving of 1681, in which it borders on the frizzy—but it always falls at least to the level of his shoulders, and symmetrically frames his face in the “cavalier” style popular among upper-class men.
It would, naturally, be spurious to suppose too much from these portraits much information about the poet’s appearance and grooming habits (portraits are notoriously unreliable records of how someone actually looked), but on this evidence we can deduce a surprising amount about the poet and his manner of self-presentation. In eschewing the modest, close-cut style favored by parliamentarians of the period, Marvell is taking a provocative stance of non-conformity with aristocratic norms. He is also, according to Stephen Dobranski, adopting a style closely associated with poets, with long hair alluding implicitly to Apollo, whose harp and lute “were said to be strung with his own tresses.[ii]” Perhaps most intriguingly, he is acting in defiance of St. Paul’s frequently quoted admonition in 1 Corinthians that “if a man [has] long hair, it is a shame unto him,” a move that, given Marvell’s complex relationship with the church and other authorities, could potentially be interpreted as anti-clerical.[iii]
Whatever the nature of Marvell’s relationship to his own hair, however, it is clear that the image of it, at least as poetic device, held a particular interest for him. Once we begin to look for it, we find hair or hairy[iv] imagery cropping up with remarkable frequency in his work, whether it is the speaker in “The Fair Singer” becoming entangled in his lover’s “curled trammels,[v]” Ben threateningly waving his “gray locks” in “Tom May’s Death,[vi]” Daphnis rending his “locks” in grief over Chloe,[vii] or any number of the more than a dozen examples I count across his comparatively small oeuvre.[viii]
We overanalyze common, proliferative images like this at our peril—some images, the skeptic will say, are too ubiquitous to be effectively generalized about—but in this case the ubiquity of these images seems to me significant, particularly when considered in their conceptual and rhetorical contexts. As I will demonstrate in this essay, Marvell will often invoke hair when he is attempting to negotiate a particularly delicate rhetorical or ideological position, effecting the kind of conceptual acrobatics that resolve ambiguities or contradictions (such as those of gender or the author’s political position) into figures of equivocation. Why this is so is difficult to define, particularly because Marvell plays so deftly with ambiguity on every conceivable level, but I will suggest that the image of human hair, along with its concomitant motifs of weaving and entanglement, serves as an embodied emblem for a particular kind of rhetorical process, one which negotiates contradictions by keeping them unresolved and figures ambivalent structures of multivalent (read, non-committal) meaning. I will analyze this according to principles of Ramist reasoning and epistemology as they were commonly understood in the 17th century—which I believe, as I shall demonstrate, inform Marvell’s understanding of reasoning as a kind of metaphorical “weaving”—and show how the chameleonic Marvell makes use of these images to encode sophisticated ambiguities of gendered and authorial identification.
- Background: Ramus, Retexere, and Images of Ambiguity
The motif that Marvell most commonly associates with human hair is one of weaving or, as he says more playfully in “The First Anniversary,” the “skillful looms which through the costly thread / Of purling ore, a shining wave do shed.[ix]” This figure of weaving, at once action and image, is freighted with a broad range of implicit and associative information that is largely lost on the contemporary reader. In the 21st century, our familiarity with the 16th century logician Petrus Ramus is largely limited to second-hand knowledge gathered through study of early modern culture, particularly poets and philosophers. In the seventeenth century however, and particularly in the rarified cultural circles in which poets like Marvell moved, Ramus’s principles of logic and dialectics were so widely studied and accepted as to be part of the common intellectual discourse.[x] Indeed, Walter J. Ong, author of Ramus, Method, and the Decay of Dialogue, notes that in England “Ramism is the central route over which the Ciceronian rhetorical tradition and the scholastic logical tradition move in reorienting themselves for the modern world.[xi]” In simpler terms, anyone with any formal education in the 16th and 17th centuries would have learned to reason according to Ramist principles, and his (Ramus’s) particular, dichotomizing way of looking at the world had thus a profound impact on concepts of reason and dialectics as they were evolving in renaissance Europe.
There is, of course, nowhere near enough room in this essay to adequately address the scope and complexity of Ramus’s principles as they were understood in the 16-17th centuries. For the sake of clarity, however, a brief (and necessarily reductive) primer on these principles is necessary: Ramus’s primary innovation in the field of logical pedagogy, laid out in his 1555 work Dialectique, was to schematize reason itself as a branching system of dualisms. (He divided “logic,” for example, into a dialect of “judgment” and “invention,” judgment into a dialectic of “the axiomatic” and the “dianoietic,” the dianoietic into a dialectic of “method” and “syllogism,” and so on.) This tabular “outlining” of rational thought, within which any coherent proposition was reduced into a series of branching, irreconcilable categories, re-established the dialect as the central paradigm for understanding the world and how it functioned. This allowed Ramus, extrapolating outward from this paradigm, to reframe not only his view of logic but of existence as a whole according to this principle, effecting what Ong calls without exaggeration “a reorganization of the whole world of knowledge and indeed of the whole human lifeworld.[xii]”
This cannot, of course, account entirely for the regnancy of contradiction within 17th century poetic thought—the novelist Martin Amis once offered his New Statesman readers 50 pence for every poem they could name that was not based on duality or contradiction[xiii]— but it does provide essential context for understanding the intellectual climate of the period.
The way these dialectics were supposed to work in Ramus’s logic is inordinately complicated, but it is not strictly relevant to us here. What is relevant, rather, is the image Ramus invokes to described the interaction of binary elements—be they forces, propositions, ideas, etc.—in his system : Retexere. This word can be translated in various ways, but Ong favors the poetic “unweaving,” and this formulation is strikingly evocative for a body of work not otherwise rich in pictorial language. It evokes at once the movement of separation or unwinding and the state of being unwound, that is a fluctuant, indeterminate state between two binary positions. In this sense, the action/image of retexere is the enactment of a paradox—a figure that is both two things and one, that locates its essence in a state between defined, clearly opposing spaces. For a culture that considered paradox and the resolution of contradiction to be essential to poetic wit,[xiv] this concept, even if only absorbed implicitly, translated into remarkably diverse explorations of contradiction and synthesis across the literature of the 16th-17th centuries. Naturally enough, this was particularly true of writers and philosophers, and poetic imagery of the period, as Rosemond Tuve amply demonstrated in Elizabethan Imagery, is saturated in rhetorical and metaphorical strategies that reflect Ramist thinking.[xv] To claim a conceptual relationship between images of hair and figures of dialectical negotiation is neither spurious nor casuistic, then, for any images suggesting imagistic “weaving” would have invariably evoked Ramist logical principles for educated readers of the 17th century. (Indeed, the poet William D’Avenant, in his preface to Gondibert, evenwent so far to define poetry itself as “a webb consisting of the subt’lest threads…considerately woven out of our selves.[xvi]”)
What distinguishes Marvell from his contemporaries with respect to his explorations of Ramist symbolism is, naturally enough, his consistent interest in ambivalence or equivocation. Whereas someone like John Donne in “A Valdiction: Forbidden Mourning” uses a Ramist-inspired structure to reconcile the duality of fate and love (that poem’s compass conceit, illustrating the capacity of love to paradoxically remain unchanged in spite of changing circumstances, is perhaps as masterful a poetic imagining of Ramist principles as can be found), or Philip Sidney uses them prolifically to negotiate the contradictions in Astrophil and Stella,[xvii]Marvell typically reorients the trajectory of this reasoning toward a more equivocal resolution, keeping the “weave” of his thinking deliberately undone. Just as Marvell exploits ambiguity in his use of pronouns to avoid specific gendered and authorial identification,[xviii] then, so does his invocation of hair allow him to limn complex, multivalent structures of signification without definitively placing himself (his perspective, his ideology, etc.) within them. It is true that the very nature of these images makes them difficult to analyze in concrete terms, but I will propose to define them both according to the Ramist-informed conceptual framework I have laid out, and in reference to a useful definition of ambiguity put forth by William Empson in Seven Types of Ambiguity, one whereby discrepant propositions are set in concerted opposition before “combin[ing] to make clear a more complicated state of mind in the author.[xix]” As paradoxical as it may seem, in other words, to define images characterized by their indefinability, I will demonstrate that these framings allow us to better understand the complex networks of semantic generation and negation within which these images operate.
- Images of Hair in Context
To explore these images in action, we begin with perhaps the most straightforward example of hair-inspired equivocation in Marvell’s oeuvre. In “The Gallery,” we note a stark dualism figured in the image of its subject’s hair. First, in stanza 2,
Here thou are painted in a dress
Of an inhuman murderess;
Examining upon our hearts
Thy fertile shop of cruel arts:
…Of which the most tormenting are
Black eyes, red lips, and curled hair.[xx]
And later, in stanza 7,
But, of these pictures and the rest,
That at the entrance likes me best:
…A tender shepherdess, whose hair
Hangs loosely playing in the air
Transplanting flowers from the green hill,
To crown her head, and bosom fill.[xxi]
This poem takes the form of a debate about the virtues of an unidentified woman within the author’s mind—these virtues figured as discrete portraits in an imagined gallery—and in these stanzas we observe Marvell figuring her sharpest contradictions with hairy imagery. The implication of the woman’s “curled hair” in line, along with her black eyes and red lips, is that her character itself has a devious quality, reflecting (like Milton’s Eve) deviations in morality with literal deviations in her hair. By contrast, the “tender shepherdess” evoked in stanza 7 has hair that hangs “loosely playing in the air,” and is seen crowning this hair with symbols of feminine innocence and purity. The primary “weave” of this poem’s dialectic, then, is established as a counterpoise of hair-related symbolism, with the speaker enacting in stanzas 6 and 7 a kind of Empsonian synthesis of his subject’s contrarieties into an ambivalent whole.
These pictures and a thousand more do store
Of thee my Gallery do store…
But of these pictures and the rest,
That at the entrance likes me best:
Where the same posture, and the look
Remain, with which I first was took.[xxii]
The subject is at once both and neither of the poet’s discrepant images of her, a figure unweaving but not as yet unwoven, presented before us as somewhere in the middle. Resolution is found not through a dialectical negotiation of the singer’s disparate qualities, but rather an equivocal reframing of her totality (contradictions included) into a more “complicated” state of mind, with hair acting as the catalyst for this transformation.
As a rhetorical strategy, this is (by Marvell’s standards) fairly straightforward: Two contrasting images of hair conduce smoothly, by way of adroit juxtaposition, to a Marvellian figure of conceptual ambiguity. We reflect, however, that the authorial stakes of this poem, a variation on a common genre of the period, are comparatively low: Little of Marvell the author can or needs to be inferred from the text to understand it, even accounting for the mysterious identity of the subject. As soon as the stakes of authorial identification are raised, however—when questions of religious, gendered, or ideological positioning are invoked—Marvell’s handling of these images becomes considerably more complex. Take for example, the hair/weaving motif that is employed in “The Coronet”:
I gather flowers (my fruits are only flowers),
Dismantling all the fragrant towers
…Thinking (so I myself deceive)
So rich a chaplet thence to weave
As never yet the King of Glory wore:
Alas, I find the serpent old
That, twining in his speckled breast,
About the flowers disguised does fold
With wreaths of fame and interest.[xxiii]
The conceit of this poem is a symbolic counterpoise of the “weave” of the poet’s devotional verse against the “wreaths,” which is to say showy coils or convolutions, of vanity and self-interest. It is therefore engaging with decidedly more delicate material in its play with authorship and authorial identification, with questions of religious practice and allegiance (the stakes of which could be deadly in 17th century Britain) coming into play. There is no explicit reference to hair as he does this, but we note that it is in making garlands for “his savior’s head”—implicitly collocating Christ’s hair with the garland’s weave—that the poet limns this difficult contradiction.
I gather flowers (my fruits are only flowers)
…So rich a chaplet thence to weave
As never yet the King of Glory wore
…Alas, I find the serpent old
That, twining in his speckled breast,
About the flowers disguised does fold,
With wreaths of fame and interest.
Ah, foolish man, that wouldst debase with them,
And mortal glory, Heaven’s diadem![xxiv]
John Carey notes that the central conflict of this poem inheres in the poet’s inability to extricate his desires for worldly fame (the “wreaths of fame and interest”) from his devotional impulses, and Marvell figures this contradiction through a reflexive contortion of “weaving” as an emblem of creation.[xxv] By attempting to weave garlands for the head of Christ, in simpler terms, the poet is tempted through this very act into a symbolic “twining” of his religious impulses with his own vanity and desire for self-promotion, making his virtue the irreconcilable obverse of his vice. He can’t serve God and his own ambition equally, but he finds his means serving one sinuously entangled with the other. This subtle collocation of hair and weaving thus facilitates a classic Marvellian ambiguity, the “self-inwoven” figure convolved/confused with its own identity, and forces the reader to at once synthesize and dualize the poetic subject (making the act of “weaving” both one thing and two contradictory things). In perhaps Marvell’s most naked revelation of religious feeling, then, it is the yoking of hair and weaving that gives him his entrée into the contrarieties that animated his thought, and us as readers the frame for understanding their (poetically, very productive) reciprocation.
Indeed, this figure of the “self-inwoven” simile has particular relevance for our purposes, for not only does it in itself mirror the dialectical procedures evoked in the hairy images we have discussed, it is also yoked in multiple instances to these images themselves. A “self-inwoven” simile, we recall, is a figure that, according to Christopher Rick’s definition in “Its Own Resemblance,” “both reconciles and opposes, in that it describes something both as itself and as something external to it which it could not possibly be.[xxvi]” These figures abound in Marvell’s poetry, and aptly illustrate the complex dimensions of equivocation and compromise that enable him to play so elusively with authorial identification. More concisely, here is William Keach describing such images as they typically function in context: “Reflexive images call unusual attention to the act of mind they presuppose, an act of mind which combines a moment of analysis and division, in which an aspect is separated from the idea to which it belongs, and a moment of synthesis and reunion, in which the separated aspect is brought back into relationship with the idea.[xxvii]” We have seen how images of human hair, when deployed in metaphorical or illustrative contexts, allow Marvell to mirror “woven” patterns of dialectical thought, often in the service of equivocal authorial positioning. It is perhaps within these figures of reflexive, self-inwoven identification, however, that the full semantic complexity of these images is explored, with the symbolic qualities of image assimilating to broader matrices of thought and conceptualization.
As an example of this, we turn to “A Poem upon the Death of His Late Highness the Lord Protector,” the very poem Ricks adduces in “Its Own Resemblance” to illustrate the range and intellectual rigor of Marvell’s reflexivity:
That Providence which had so long the care
Of Cromwell’s head, and numbered every hair,
Now in its self (the glass where all appears)
Had seen the period of his golden years.[xxviii]
As an instance of reflexive, “in-bending” imagery this is passage fairly straightforward: Providence, imagined as the caring benefactor of Oliver Cromwell, becomes “in its self” a witness to Cromwell’s growth and senescence, becoming both subject and object of reflection in the metaphor. On closer examination, however, we may wonder how to account for the (frankly bizarre) reference to Cromwell’s hair in line 2. Is it a token of paternal solicitude, a sign of Cromwell’s uniquely intimate relationship with providence? Or is it simply a poetic expedient, humanizing Cromwell and furnishing a useful rhyme for “care” in the previous line? In all likelihood there is truth to both of these possibilities, but bearing in mind what we have seen of Marvell’s hair images thus far, we note how seamlessly the reference to Cromwell’s “numbered” locks insinuates itself into the reflexive, self-inwoven figure of lines 3-4 (“That Providence which… / …numbered every hair, / Now in its self (the glass where all appears) / Had seen the period of his golden years.[xxix]”) It is as if the very image of hair is “woven” into the following lines, adumbrating a Ramist structure through its very turn into the following phrase. (The word verse itself derives from the Latin vers, meaning to turn across a line.[xxx])
We see, then, that the very form of Marvell’s contorted, ambivalent musings on Cromwell’s legacy (the poem vacillates between encomium and critique) is this given a physical and metaphorical shape, with complex gestures of equivocation referring back to this metaphor throughout the text. It is important to remember that Marvell’s political poems—including those written before, during, and after the revolution—are always couched in calculatedly ambiguous terms, leaving sufficient “wiggle room” in matters of interpretation to protect against invidious accusations. What we see here, then, in the articulation of these equivocal rhetorical structures through an image of human hair, is essentially an instantiation of the same effect evoked in “The Gallery,” but evoked here as a kind of prefiguring metaphor—the figure of hair, including its reflexive turn, primes us for interpreting the ambiguous “turns” of Marvell’s thought. It becomes a kind of loose, overriding conceit, less rigorous than a conceit in the purest sense, but sufficiently well-controlled to keep the “weave” of the poet’s argumentation from becoming definitively closed.
As if to underline the effect of this apposition of hair and reflexivity, Marvell goes so far as to recapitulate the pairing in lines 67-74:
And now Eliza’s purple locks were shorn
Where she so long her Father’s fate had worn:
…Like polished mirrors, so his steely breast
Had every figure of her woes expressed.[xxxi]
Though the metaphorical “turn” here is less pronounced than in lines 1-4 (the actual collocation of the images is deferred by five lines) we witness essentially the same effect—a bodily invocation of hair (“Eliza’s purple locks”) is enfolded into a broader framework of ambivalent conceptualization, with a reference to “polished mirrors” in line 73 reflecting once again the circinate, self-inwoven structure of the poem’s argument (“How good was Cromwell really? How honest can I be about his legacy?”) There is even an implicit invocation of hair, not unlike that we saw in “The Coronet,” employed in lines 228-233:
And in his alter’d face you something faigne
That threatens death he yet will live againe.
Not much unlike the saired Oake which shoots[xxxii]
To heav’n its branches and through earth its roots:
Whose spacious boughs are hung with Trophees row
And honour’d wreaths have oft the Victour crown.
Marvell is here describing the paradox that something can remain glorious even in death, and in so doing he evokes the image of wreaths “crowning” his metaphorical subject. Again the wreaths, a figure of circinate weaving, again a figure of paradox, and again the invocation of hair, this time implicit in the evocation of the crown. The controlling metaphor we witnessed established in the poems opening lines is thus brought back a second time, this time near the poem’s close, as if to symbolically close the “weave” of the poem’s argument while allowing Marvell, ever the political pragmatist, to dissimulate his authorial positions into Empson’s “more complicated state of mind.”
We witness something similar in “The Loyal Scot,” another poem that deftly navigates the pitfalls of political tribute during unstable times.
Not so brave Douglas…
[Whose] modest beauty yet his sex did veil
While envious virgins hope he is a male.
His yellow locks curl back themselves to seek,
Nor other courtship knew but to his cheek[xxxiii]
We see here another instance of deft authorial positioning (Douglas, as a “hero” of the bloody interregnum wars, was a figure of equivocal moral merit) and an insinuation of that hero’s hair into a figure of recursion (his locks literally “curl themselves back”) Like “A Poem upon the Death of his Late Highness,” this controlling metaphor of hairy “weaving” is established right from the start, with text’s subsequent equivocations implicitly referring back to it. We also witness an element of the gendered/sexual ambiguity that colors Marvell’s other explorations of hair imagery. There is an element of intimate, highly embodied flattery in the poet’s evocation of Douglas’s beauty—the reference to his cheek is particularly suggestive—and we see Marvell playing off this friction to complicate the gendered presentation of the author. The suggestive reference to “envious virgins” in line 17, coupled with the implied caress of line 20, adds a frisson of sexuality to the poet’s description of Douglas, a frisson that jars with the puritanical ethic that Douglas and his co-revolutionaries embodied. A reflexive image of hair has thus introduced two complicated dualities into the text—dualities which, as in Marvell’s political poems in general, will be ambiguously negotiated throughout the text.
This complex synthesis of gendered and authorial ambiguity is perhaps most revealingly explored in “The Last Instructions to a Painter,” a poem that funnels these three concepts into a spectacular hair metaphor in its final lines. This poem bristles with hairy, ramist-inspired symbolism from beginning to end, and enacts on a grand scale what we witnessed in “The Gallery” and “The Coronet. In analyzing the sorry state of his nation, good ship England and its military forces are compared to a dilapidated ship with “ropes untwine,[xxxiv]” and the solution posed by Marvell is a “chain,” that is to say a woven coupling of different elements: “Our wretched ships within their fate attend, / And all our hopes now on frail chain depend.[xxxv]” Marvell is inserting himself into a very complicated political debate here, seemingly weighing up the merits of a republican (read, anti-royal) takeover of the country against that of a unifying monarchy. The stakes of political and authorial identification, then, could hardly be higher, and we note that, even before introducing hair into the text, Marvell figures his equivocal position once again through the image of weaving:
The pleasing sight [Charles] often does prolong:
Her masts erect, tough cordage, timbers strong,
Her moving shapes, all these he does survey,
And all admires, but most his easy prey.[xxxvi]
In this vision of an England under a restored and empowered monarchy, the nation’s fraying ropes are rewoven into “cordage strong,” but they are also contorted into manacles of control, with cordage standing at once for political stability and—as we know from consulting “A Dialogue between the Resolved Soul and Created Pleasure[xxxvii]”—personal and political restraint. The central weave of this poem’s dialectic, then, is once again a Ramist contradiction—there appears to be no logical solution to this problem. Having established this weaving motif as the poem’s controlling metaphor, however, Marvell directs it toward a remarkable image in the final lines, integrated gendered and ideological equivocation in one fell swoop:
[The King] wakes, and muses of th’ uneasy throne;
Raise up a sudden shape with a virgin’s face
(Though ill agree her posture, hour, or place),
Naked as born, and her round arms behind
With her own tresses, interwove and twined.[xxxviii]
This startling, literally embodied vision of England as a woman “naked as born…With her own tresses, interwove and twined” directs all of the dialectical energy that animates the poem into a spectacular metaphor for the tangled, interwoven politics of the period, and recapitulates the subtle codes of gender and authorial identification Marvell has explored. The king, the figure who ends the poem pondering the future of his country, is given the task of effecting the most consequential (in political terms), Ramist-inspired equivocation in Marvell’s oeuvre: “In his deep thoughts the wonder did increase, / And he divined ‘twas England or the Peace.[xxxix]” Facing the hairiest of hairy dilemmas, unable to resolve the knotted complexities of the political situation in his country, the king does exactly what the speaker in “The Gallery” does and, in finding a “solution” that is contrary to his own interests but in line with the nations,’ resolves it into a more complicated, and therefore more sophisticated state of mind.
It is perhaps significant, given what we have seen of Marvell’s exploration of hair imagery to codify ambiguities, that “weaving” is one of the few explicit metaphors that he employs for the act of writing poetry itself. “Out of these scattered Sibyl’s leaves,” writes the poet in “Upon Appleton House,” “strange prophesies my fancy weaves.[xl]” This notion of fusing disparate, apparently unrelated elements into coherent wholes is a striking one, and throws interesting new light on what we have observed in Marvell’s handling of gendered and authorial ambiguities. If the defining quality of Marvell’s verse is its chameleonic navigation of contrariety, its resistance to attempts of ideological identification, then this “weaving” of discordant elements represents a key poetic strategy. The necessity to dissemble and equivocate in so many aspects of his authorial presentation, his constant recourse to ideological balancing acts, required a particular facility for metaphor, and some of his most subtle manipulations of metaphor make use of hair. While I have not attended here to every example of hairy imagery across his oeuvre, and while irrefutable evidence of a conceptual link in Marvell’s mind between embodied images of hair and ambiguous gendered or authorial positioning is unlikely to emerge, I have demonstrated (I hope) that such images enable Marvell, in the poetic/philosophical terms that I’ve described, to explore and reify these ambiguities in a cogent and revealing way.
[i] “Andrew Marvell.” National Portrait Gallery. Accessed November 3, 2021. https://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/person/mp02994/andrew-marvell.
[ii] Stephen Dobranski, “Clustering and Curling Locks: The Matter of Hair in Paradise Lost.” PMLA , March 2010, Vol. 125, No. 2 (March 2010), pp. 337-353, 512.
[iii] Cited by Dobranski, 337.
[iv] English having no better adjective meaning “of or relating to hair” than the archaic “pileous,” I have had to make do with the more clumsy “hairy” throughout this paper.
[v] Andrew Marvell. “The Fair Singer.” In Andrew Marvell: The Complete Poems. Edited by ElizaIIIbeth Story Donno. (London: Penguin Books, 2005), 39, l. 9.
[vi] Andrew Marvell. “Tom May’s Death.” In Andrew Marvell: The Complete Poems, 59, l. 32.
[vii] Andrew Marvell. “Daphnis and Chloe.” In Andrew Marvell: The Complete Poems, 45, l. 34.
[viii] Accounting for ambiguous references to “locks,” my final count stands at 14.
[ix] Andrew Marvell. “The First Anniversary.” In Andrew Marvell: The Complete Poems, 131, l. 183.
[x] As a contemporary comparison, we might compare Ramism to the Rutherford model of atomic physics. Both represent constructivist, image-based theories of how the world works (even though, just as the world bears little material resemblance to Ramus’s system of outlines, molecules look nothing like the orbiting protons, neutrons, and electrons theorized by Rutherford, et al). The importance of these systems was their utility in framing the world’s functions in a logical and predictable ways, not their pictorial fidelity.
[xi] Walter J. Ong. Ramus, Method, and the Decay of Dialogue (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1958), 7, italics mine.
[xii] Ong, 16.
[xiii] Martin Amis. “Coleridge’s Beautiful Diseases.” In The War Against Cliché: Essays and Reviews 1971-2000 (London: Jonathan Cape, 2001), 177.
[xiv] George Williamson writes that contradiction “is at the center of poetic wit in the 17th century,” becoming “paradox [i.e. resolved contradiction] in the first half of the century, and antithesis [unresolved contradiction] in the second.”
[xv] Tuve, Rosemond. Elizabethan and Metaphysical Imagery. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974.
[xvi] I am indebted for this quotation to Daniel Allan Gray’s 1977 dissertation, “Andrew Marvell and Seventeenth-Century Metaphor,” a full citation of which is appended in the bibliography.
[xvii] Rosemond Tuve notes that Ramus’ influence is particularly prominent in Sidney’s verse (she cites sonnet xxvii in Astophil and Stella as an example), and that “one only has to open Sidney” to find evidence of Ramist thought (324).
[xviii] See Paul Hammond’s Marvell’s Pronouns:(Hammond, P. . “Marvell’s Pronouns.” Essays in Criticism, 53, 219–234.)
[xix] William Empson. Seven Types of Ambiguity. 3rd edition (London: Chatto and Windus, 1963), 133.
[xx] Andrew Marvell. “The Gallery.” In Andrew Marvell: The Complete Poems, 40, l. 9-16.
[xxiii] Andrew Marvell. “The Coronet.” In Andrew Marvell: The Complete Poems, 54, l. 6-16.
[xxiv] Ibid. l. 6-18.
[xxv] John Carey. “Reversals Transposed.” In Approaches to Marvell: The York Tercentenary Lectures. Edited by C.A. Patrides (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1972).
[xxvi] Christopher Ricks. “Its Own Resemblance.” In Approaches to Marvell: The York Tercentenary Lectures, 109.
[xxvii] Cited in Ricks, 110.
[xxviii] Andrew Marvell. “A Poem upon the Death of His Late Highness the Lord Protector.” In Andrew Marvell: The Complete Poems, 148, l. 1-4.
[xxx] “verse, n.”. OED Online. March 2017. Oxford University Press (Accessed December 04, 2021).
[xxxi] Andrew Marvell. “A Poem upon the Death of His Late Highness the Lord Protector.” In Andrew Marvell: The Complete Poems, 150, l. 67-74.
[xxxii] Ibid. l. 228-233.
[xxxiii] Andrew Marvell. “The Loyal Scot.” In Andrew Marvell: The Complete Poems, 183-84, l. 15-20.
[xxxiv] Andrew Marvell. “The Last Instructions to a Painter.” In Andrew Marvell: The Complete Poems, 160, l. 321.
[xxxv] Ibid. l. 585-86.
[xxxvi] Ibid. 727-730
[xxxvii] e.g. “Cease, tempter. None can chain a mind / Whom this sweet chordage cannot bind” (l.43-44).
[xxxviii] Andrew Marvell. “The Last Instructions to a Painter.” In Andrew Marvell: The Complete Poems, 180-81, l. 890-895.
[xxxix] Andrew Marvell. “The Last Instructions to a Painter.” In Andrew Marvell: The Complete Poems, 180-81, l. 890-905.
[xl] Andrew Marvell. “Upon Appleton House.” In Andrew Marvell: The Complete Poems, 93, l. 577-78.