On this day in 1621 the English poet Andrew Marvell was born.
He was a clever and educated man who managed successfully to steer his way through the difficult times of the Civil War, Cromwell and the restoration of King Charles II. As a close friend of Milton he was also able to protect the blind poet from any retribution by the restored King – Milton had shown himself as anti-monarchy during the Commonwealth.
Here is one of his poems that shows his awareness of the dangerous times that he lived in, A Garden, Written After The Civil Wars:
See how the flowers, as at parade,
Under their colours stand display’d:
Each regiment in order grows,
That of the tulip, pink, and rose.
But when the vigilant patrol
Of stars walks round about the pole,
Their leaves that to the stalks are curl’d,
Seem to their staves the ensigns furl’d.
Then in some flower’s beloved hut
Each bee, as sentinel, is shut,
And sleeps so too; but if once stirr’d,
She runs you through, nor asks the word.
…What luckless apple did we taste
To make us mortal and thee waste!
Unhappy! Shall we never more
That sweet militia restore,
When gardens only had their towers,
And all the garrisons were flowers;
When roses only arms might bear,
And men did rosy garlands wear.
Today I will work towards the goal of a world free from fear.