Andrew Marvell: The Unfortunate Lover (1631 words)

Graham Parry (University of York)
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Here we have one of Marvell’s most enigmatic poems. “The Unfortunate Lover” presents a series of tableaux or emblematic pictures that are vividly imagined yet challenge interpretation. The language of the poem is elevated and portentous. Grand events are being described, events that “make impression upon Time” and take place among wars and tempests. Yet the hero of the poem is a lover, albeit a lover whose beloved is never named, nor described. Something tremendous has happened, something verging on the apocalyptic, as “the rattling thunder” of the storm evokes “the fun’ral of the world”. The imagery of the poem is drawn from Petrarchan love poetry – the “tyrant …

Citation: Parry, Graham. "The Unfortunate Lover". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 15 February 2018 [, accessed 19 June 2021.]

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