Poet, courtier, statesman…warlock. Andrew Marvell wore many hats during his lifetime…including a black pointy one.
Timeline of Nefarious Deeds:
1621 Discovered in a small, greene pod, in Yorkshire, March 3I by the Rev. Andrew Marvell and his wife, Anne. Adopted and christened Igor (after maternal uncle).
I624 Marvells chased by large, torch-wielding mob to Hampstead-Dam-Dull. Fearing divine retribution, they change child’s name to Andrew.
I633-7 Marvell matriculates at Trinity College, Cambridge. Dabbles in occult. Pet newt, Harold, translates Greek and Latin poems on Charles I, Queen Mary, and Ovid’s Metamorphoses.
I638-1639 Marvell becomes a scholar of Trinity. Harold burned at stake for blasphemy (Greek and Latin poems used for kindling). Marvell dismissed from Trinity.
I640 Father dies. Locusts descend, plagues abound, etc.
I640-46: Whereabouts unknown. Rumored to appear, briefly, at May Day celebrations, wearing only a fig leaf.
I650 Marvell opens for Prime Minister’s immensely popular Return from Ireland Tour. His Ode, “To the Papist-Bludgeoners, to Make Much of Time,” is sung in field and pub. Cromwell eats live bat on stage.
I650-53 Writes a series of homespun couplets which cloak nationalistic fervor in the guise of talent. Hips gyrate. Women faint.
1653-1657 Fearing for his own life, Milton recommends Marvell for a government position as Pig Latin Secretary (Later, Milton will steal Marvell’s title, “Aradisepay Ostlay”).
1656 Marvell fired for leaving out a poem in his title: “The Second Anniversary of the Government Under His Highness The Lord Protector Upon Whose Most Sacred Pinnacle We Gaze.”
I660 Intervenes in Commons to save Milton. In exchange, casts Spell of Incomprehensibility on Milton’s Syntax.
I661-63 Milton implores Marvell to cure him from the hex.
One letter (lasting three years) begins: “For that Babelling voice, which he who hexed Th’Apocalyps upon my style, heard cry in Heaven aloud, prolonged behind a thousand desperyte clauses, came furious down to be to be reveng’d on men’s Subjects, like Titans long-held captive to serve out never-ending sentences…”
I665-7 England starts war with Holland. Marvell responds by starting an advice column to painters (“First Advice to a Painter,” etc.) War ends. Veiled allegory between War and Paint lost on everyone…except painters.
I670-72 Milton locates Subject at end of sentence…loses his vision. His daughter commences reading aloud for him, hoping to find another Subject so that her father will also lose his voice.
I672-74 War with France as ally against Holland. Marvell abandons wildly unsuccessful stand-up act, “Mr. Thomas: The Dutch, Anti-Catholic, French-Hating Brit.”
1674: Second edition of Paradise Lost published. In return for Milton’s allowing him to write the introduction, Marvell promises to unravel syntax in 175 years.
1681: Marvel evaporates in a pillar of fire. (Milton’s wife banishes him to their basement, where he threatens to burn the building down).
1973: Thomas Pynchon inherits curse (Gravity’s Rainbow).