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Andrew Marvell's commendatory poems to Robert Witty and Milton constitute his most explicit statements regarding not only translation but also writing in general, their commonalities revealing a remarkable steadiness in poetics over a period of two decades. The ethics of translation Marvell advocates in "To His Worthy Friend Doctor Witty"—ones that are rooted in Puritan tradition and overlap with key ideas from modern-day translation theory—provide a helpful basis for considering the specific issue of handling scripture that is raised in the poem to Milton. In both works, Marvell advocates that an exact essence of meaning is to be translated from source text to target.

Unlike most of Andrew Marvell's poems, "To His Worthy Friend Doctor Witty upon His Translation of the Popular Errors" (1651) and "On Mr Milton's Paradise Lost" (1674) were published during his lifetime. The two works appeared in print at the endpoints of his career, "Doctor Witty" as Marvell was finding his voice in the pastoral poems written at his patron Thomas, Lord Fairfax's estate, and "Mr Milton" just four years before his death in 1678. The two poems constitute Marvell's most explicit statements regarding not only translation but also writing in general, their commonalities revealing a remarkable steadiness in his poetics over a period of more than two decades. The ethics of translation Marvell advocates in "Doctor Witty"—ones that are rooted in sixteenth-century tradition and overlap with key ideas from modern-day translation theory—thus provide a helpful basis for considering the specific issue of handling scripture that is raised in "Mr Milton."1 In both poems, Marvell argues for an essentially conservative aesthetic that exists in tension with the openness of his thought.

A recurrent issue in translation theory is whether to render the original text loosely or literally into a second language. From antiquity until the Renaissance, the first of these alternatives held sway, as writers prized fluency and elegance for their intended readers; it was thought that a "sense-for-sense" translation, to use St. Jerome's phrase, conveyed the essence of the original text more effectively than a word-for-word one.2 An early departure [End Page 177] from this model, however, originates with the sixteenth-century Puritans and appears in Marvell's brief address to Dr. Robert Witty, a prefatory poem to the doctor's translation of a medical book that originally circulated in the 1630s.3 Although Marvell's poem lacks the prominence of other seventeenth-century statements on translation, such as those by George Chapman or John Dryden, it looks forward in an unusual way for its time to the values of the German Pietists and Romantics, who advocated a respect for the odd wrinkles of what is now referred to as the source language rather than fluency in the target one. In "Doctor Witty," Marvell breaks ranks with his fellow poets of the mid-seventeenth century in insisting on a literal rendition of the source text.4

Marvell's great poem on Milton's Paradise Lost, which perhaps with some purpose appears immediately adjacent to "Doctor Witty" in the posthumous Miscellaneous Poems (1681), expresses an analogous view in stipulating how scripture is to be rendered into vernacular imaginative literature.5 Although the poem on Milton does not address translation proper, Marvell's concern with the conversion of one text into another parallels the advice to Witty. In both works Marvell advocates that an exact essence of meaning is to be translated from source text to target.


When St. Jerome advocated a sense-for-sense over a word-for-word translation method with regard to scripture, he was affirming the values that Cicero and Horace had already established several centuries earlier in a pagan context.6 Sense-for-sense translations in antiquity had always been associated with rhetoric, the more prestigious endeavor in comparison to grammar, wherein word-for-word translations were valued.7 Writing with the authority of the Roman empire behind him, St. Jerome argues that the translator of Greek into Latin does not "attend to the drowsy letter" of the source material but "by right of victory carrie[s] the sense captive into his own language."8 St. Jerome's imperialistic word choice is reflective of his fourth-century context, when Latin enjoyed a confidence to mold Greek originals to its own ends.9

When translation flourished again during the Renaissance, the values of St. Jerome reappeared first in Martin Luther and later in the translators of the King James Bible (1611), who affirm in Miles Smith's preface, "wee have not tyed our selves to an uniformitie of phrasing, or to an identitie of words, as some peradventure would wish that we had done, because they observe, that some learned [End Page 178] men some where, have beene as exact as they could that way." For Smith, such "nicenesse in wordes" turns translation into a "trifling" activity. Reasons for the looser style are in part stylistic, as Smith desires that scripture may be understood by readers of every social level, a goal more readily accomplished when the translator is not restricted by literalism. But his reasons are also doctrinal, as freer translation affords an opportunity to proselytize, in this case in reaction to "the scrupulositie of the Puritanes."10 The long-standing power of this sense-for-sense tradition from St. Jerome to Luther to the Authorized Version highlights the Puritans' and Marvell's departures from it.

In a secular context, Elizabethan prose translators such as Thomas North, John Florio, and Philemon Holland were equally loose in their approach to translation. In his classic study of these writers, F. O. Matthiessen shows how the English translators sought to reach readers of all social classes, not just scholars and divines, in their translations of Plutarch, Michel de Montaigne, and Livy—hence the prevalence of slang, proverbs, and details of native English customs, even in the scholarly translations of the period.11 As Holland puts it, creating Livy in "English habit" made this instructive history available to the widest audience.12 Some readers did feel the threat of such efforts, but as Florio reassures them in his preface to Montaigne, "It were an ill turne, the turning of Bookes should be the overturning of Libraries."13

English theorists of verse translation in the seventeenth century accepted the same freedom as that advocated by the Elizabethan prose writers, but for a different reason: it was not so much to make the classics accessible to a wide audience as to represent them artistically in English, a task that required some poetic license on the part of the translator. In his preface to Achilles Shield (1598), Chapman writes to "the Understander," affirming that his audience for the poem was not "every bodie" but a select few who sustained a greater interest in the profundities of language—however obscure—than the average reader.14 Like North—who emphasized to Queen Elizabeth the ethical examples that figures from Plutarch could provide—Chapman also found salient meanings in the classics, but they were more mysterious ones that would seem "dark" to many readers.15 His "paraphrastical" style, rendering Homer loosely, restricted his readership rather than widened it.16 This freedom allowed a special relationship with the original author, who serves as "a beloved progenitor" in literary baton-passing.17 [End Page 179]

Marvell's contemporary poets at midcentury continued in this vein. Word-for-word translation was viewed as the work of "slavish brains," as John Denham remarks in his prefatory poem to Richard Fanshawe's 1647 translation of Giovanni Battista Guarini, or it seemed the work of a madman, as Abraham Cowley argues in the preface to his translations of Pindar (1656).18 The translator must instead inject some of his own "spirit" to make up for what had been lost in translation, Denham argues; if such an element "be not added in the transfusion, there will remain nothing but a Caput mortuum."19 All of these statements reinforced Chapman's views from earlier in the century that translators were artists in their own right, composing works with a creative life of their own.

By the mid-seventeenth century, a rich tradition had thus developed in thinking about translation, both of scripture and of secular texts, with translators often working with both sets of materials. Mary Sidney, for instance, is best known for her translation of the Psalms, but she also translated a section of Petrarch's I Trionfi, an allegorical narrative centered on Laura of the sonnets, as well as Robert Garnier's Marc Antoine, a Senecan tragedy based on Plutarch's account of Mark Antony and Cleopatra.20 Arthur Golding, whose translation of Ovid became a primary source for pagan mythology in the English Renaissance, also translated John Calvin's commentaries on the Psalms, Job, Galatians, Ephesians, and Deuteronomy, as well as other works by Protestant theologians such as Theodore Beza and Heinrich Bullinger.21 John Denham could speak of "[m]y old Master Virgil" and "[m]y new Master David" after translating first a portion of the Aeneid and later the Psalms.22 Cowley blurs the distinction between biblical and secular translation to the point that he juxtaposes examples from both in the same volume. His Poems sets side by side his translation of Pindar and his epic on David—modeled "after the Patern of our Master Virgil"—all of which is preceded by the amatory sequence The Mistress.23 In discussing his approach to translating Pindar, Cowley says it can be "applyed to all Translations" and goes on to compare translation of Pindar to that of the Psalms.24 Although its first two sections consist of an original lyric sequence rather than a translation, William Habington's Castara similarly juxtaposes secular love poems and elegies (parts one and two) with a collection of translations of Job and the Psalms ("the third part").25

It is in this milieu—in which many translators tried their hand at both sacred and secular works, generally taking considerable poetic license—that Marvell's poem on Witty appeared. James [End Page 180] Primrose, a doctor, had in 1638 published De Vulgi in Medicina Erroribus, a collection of popular misconceptions about doctors, diseases, and various home remedies. Witty, a physician and friend of Marvell's in Hull, translated the book into English; when Witty's work appeared in 1651, Marvell was staying at the Fairfax estate near York and probably read a draft of the book in late 1650 shortly before its publication.26

After a proper commendation to Witty at the beginning of the poem, Marvell sets about defining what makes a legitimate translation. The "good interpreter," he says, preserves the original, neither adding to nor detracting from the source text in converting it to a second language. Poor translators, in contrast, turn the original into something of their own creation, becoming authors themselves in the process:

[They] do strive with words and forcèd phraseTo add such lustre, and so many rays,That but to make the vessel shining, theyMuch of the precious metal rub away.He is translation's thief that addeth more,As much as he that taketh from the storeOf the first author. Here he maketh blotsThat mends; and added beauties are but spots.

(lines 9–16)

It may surprise us that a poet known for his metaphysical conceits would pronounce against writers who add imaginative reach to their translations, such as Chapman and Denham. Indeed, Marvell grants inventive translators a certain magical quality, even as he criticizes them: the "lustre" and "rays" emanating from the shining vessel possess an attraction well worth the bit of metal rubbed away. Poetic license may add "spots" and "blots," but such blemishes qualify as "added beauties."

Marvell's aesthetic appreciation for the ornament a translator might provide is trumped, however, by a strong sense that the meaning of the original author is not to be altered. In this respect he hearkens back to the minority position of the "scrupulous Puritans" that Miles Smith and the writers of the King James Version found themselves at odds with, polemicists such as Hugh Broughton, who championed a word-for-word approach to translation.27 Puritan emphasis on a more literal method had begun with the Geneva Bible of 1560, which for the first time in English represented in different typeface any words added to the [End Page 181] Hebrew and Greek originals.28 Committed to literal translation, even when such a practice led to contradictions within the text, the Geneva translators marketed their Bible as loyal to the "proprietie of the woordes."29 Ambiguity or awkwardness could then be clarified in the copious annotations on the side of the page, a technique the English translators learned from their French peers in Geneva.30 Additional study aids included in the various editions of the Geneva—glossaries, indexes, cross-references, maps, genealogies, time charts—were all intended to help readers engage with a literal version of scripture laid out before them.31

Marvell's own Puritan background primed him to appreciate the translation ethic handed down to him by this tradition. Both he and his father attended university at Cambridge, "the engine house of English Puritanism," as Nigel Smith has remarked.32 Marvell's college, Trinity, had no Puritan affiliation, but his father attended Emmanuel College, a center for Puritanism since its founding in 1584, and St. Catherine's and Christ's were led by or nurtured prominent Puritan divines.33 Marvell's father, a moderate Puritan who served as preacher at Hull's Holy Trinity Church as well as master of the Charterhouse Hospital north of town, possessed in his library an impressive diversity of titles by Reformed and other theologians, including works by Calvinists Lambert Danaeu and Girolamo Zanchi, as well as the anti-Trinitarian Racovian Catechism, one of the most radical treatises of the period.34 Although we cannot know exactly which items in his father's library Marvell read, he grew up surrounded by works by Reformed theologians in the languages he was studying at school, and he is likely to have been supervised by his father, who was paid as a tutor for other gentlemen's sons.35

Much of Marvell's grammar schooling in Hull was under the guidance of Anthony Stevenson, a future Nonconformist divine Marvell would grow up to defend in the 1670s, and several of his classmates eventually became Puritan ministers.36 The grammar school experience might be described as an immersion in ancient languages, preparing Marvell for the curriculum at Trinity College, which focused not only on reading and writing ancient Greek and Latin but also on speaking them during the day.37 This steady diet of religious content—much of it in Greek and Latin, and presented in a Puritan milieu at home, at school, and at college—cultivated in Marvell a sensibility toward translation evinced in his poem to Witty. Having been trained in the double translation method at school and written several pair-poems in Latin and English [End Page 182] during his early career, Marvell understood the claims made on one's attention by both source text and target.38

The Geneva Bible of the Puritans would continue to be published until the 1640s, but Bible translation itself slowed down in Marvell's century, following the publication of the Authorized Version in 1611. A similar deceleration occurred in Germany, perhaps out of a desire for a stable text after the prolific translation activity and political tumult of the sixteenth century, as Jonathan Sheehan has suggested.39 When the English Civil Wars began in the 1640s, however, some religious figures began expressing dissatisfaction again with existing translations, especially Robert Gell, a contemporary of Marvell's and rector of the London parish of St. Mary Aldermary. Gell's adherence to Church of England practice was sufficient to enable him to retain his post at the Restoration and serve eventually as chaplain to Gilbert Sheldon, archbishop of Canterbury, but Gell subscribed to a number of unconventional views on astrology, alchemy, and mysticism that align him with post-Calvinist Platonists, as Nigel Smith has identified them.40 In An Essay toward the Amendment of the Last English-Translation of the Bible, Gell advocates for a translation method even more literal than that of the Geneva translators; the resulting awkward, even opaque, moments would allow for an abundance of meanings to be discerned by the astute reader.41 Gell's treatise promoting such a translation method appeared eight years after Marvell's poem to Witty, but it suggests that the Puritan commitment to literalness experienced renewed vigor during the years of the Republic and Protectorate.

The dominant translation method among English writers in the seventeenth century was thus loose when it came to literary forms such as epic and lyric poetry, but literal within Puritanism, especially in translating the Bible, a practice later adopted by German Pietists. Sheehan has traced the history of this intellectual development, showing how Pietist Bible translators such as Johann Reitz and Johann Schmidt in the early eighteenth century advocated a literal style, one that allowed for a plurality of meanings to emerge.42 In the preface to his translation of the New Testament, Reitz specifically cites Gell as the inspiration for his method.43 Influenced by English Puritans in general, Pietists developed a distinctive format for Bible elucidation, with parallel texts in vernacular languages—German and Dutch—for the first time.44

The literal approach to translation that Marvell advocates in "Doctor Witty," associated with Puritan tradition in England and [End Page 183] incipient Pietism in German-speaking lands ravaged by the Thirty Years War, anticipates the ethos of Friedrich Schleiermacher and the German Romantics, who safeguarded the integrity of source texts, even at the cost of eloquence. Brought up by Pietists in Moravia, Schleiermacher gave definitive form to the theoretical argument that literal translation was necessary to preserve the foreignness of original documents.45 It is in this respect that Schleiermacher's work marks an advance over previous advocacy of literal translation among the Puritans and Pietists. The sacrifice of the translator's own style constitutes "the most extraordinary form of humiliation" possible, but it is absolutely necessary if the integrity, the foreignness, of the original is to be preserved.46 In contrast to Gell or Reitz, who saw in literal translation of the Bible the possibility of a plurality of meanings, Schleiermacher emphasizes the distinct uniqueness of meaning in the source text. It is a "foreign state of being" or "foreign world" that remains elusive but that translation struggles to approximate.47 A translation that seeks to respect this foreign world "should sound foreign in a quite specific way" as it "adheres to the turns and figures of the original."48 This sense of national and linguistic difference, a unique identity that should not be domesticated in translation but preserved as distinct, is something that Schleiermacher theorized about for the first time, and it is what makes Marvell's poem to Witty so unusual in its seventeenth-century context.

Schleiermacher addressed the question of translation in the wake of two key developments in the German-speaking world around the turn of the nineteenth century: first, the impact of Johann Gottfried Herder, also of Pietist background, who stressed the discrete history and value of individual cultures in opposition to the French Enlightenment; and second, the Napoleonic occupation of German territories, with the attendant reaction that foreign (i.e., French) institutions and ideas could not be imposed unchanged on another country.49 Drawing on the Pietist tradition of Bible translation and Herder's philosophy of history, and responding to Napoleon's recent conquests, Schleiermacher and his German contemporaries developed an appreciation for the uniqueness of a people's cultural history that was missing in the Enlightenment universals advocated by the French.50

Writing from the perspective of a culture on the edge of Europe that regarded the French with similar anxiety, Marvell affirms in "Doctor Witty" the preservation of the unique features of English through his description of Celia, a personification of the source language itself: [End Page 184]

Celia whose English doth more richly flowThan Tagus, purer than dissolvèd snow,And sweet as are her lips that speak it, sheNow learns the tongues of France and Italy;But she is Celia still: no other graceBut her own smiles commend that lovely face;Her native beauty's not Italianated,Nor her chaste mind into the French translated:Her thoughts are English, though her sparkling witWith other language doth them fitly fit.

(lines 17–26)

Marvell's English nationalism vis-à-vis the more established, prestigious cultures of France and Italy is remarkably similar to that of the Germans over a century later, the sensitivity of a less prominent culture that fears being squashed by more powerful neighbors.51 Celia's Englishness, "purer than dissolvèd snow," remains untouched by Italian affect or French permissiveness even as Italian and French words enter her "chaste mind."

Not so long prior to writing the poem to Witty, Marvell had spent four years on the Continent "travelling abroad with Noblemens Sones," an experience that offered immersion in the languages he reflects upon with regard to Celia.52 The time Marvell spent in Rome made a particular impression, as the gardens and sculptures of that city appear in a number of his works.53 He also became familiar with an expatriate community centered around the Duke of Buckingham and including the poet Richard Flecknoe, about whom he later wrote "Flecknoe, an English Priest at Rome."54 This satire voices in a harsher tone the same unease present in "Doctor Witty": the danger of another culture, in this case Roman, overwhelming one's identity. Impoverished and dependent on the charity of patrons, Flecknoe dresses in somber clothes,

But were he not in this black habit decked,    This half-transparent man would soon reflectEach colour that he passed by; and be seen,    As the chamelion [sic], yellow, blue, or green.55

Nigel Smith sees Flecknoe as a particularly monitory figure for Marvell: a "chameleon" with regard to both his aesthetic and his religion, this mercenary poet represents the danger of changing one's ideals and identity to suit a context.56 [End Page 185]

In contrast to Flecknoe, Celia is "not Italianated," nor does she succumb to the influence of France, another destination on Marvell's four-year tour. During his stay in France in the mid-1640s, Marvell would have encountered the French libertine school of poetry, including works by Théophile de Viau and Antoine Girard de Saint-Amant, references to which surface in other poems written at Nun Appleton.57 Marvell most likely wrote "Doctor Witty" in November of 1650, at about the time he began his employment with Fairfax, who shared Marvell's interest in contemporary French poetry and translated Saint-Amant's "La Solitude."58 The influence of these French poets appears most readily in Marvell's "Daphnis and Chloe," an ironic distillation of the ancient story of innocent love.59 Rather than gathering rosebuds while he may, Daphnis professes a sensibility so delicate he must refrain from all physical contact as he leaves Chloe:

Gentler times for love are meant.Who for parting pleasure strainGather roses in the rain,Wet themselves and spoil their scent.60

We learn shortly thereafter, however, that "Last night he with Phlogis slept; / This night for Dorinda kept," an outcome that the poem's speaker both warns about and defends, as Chloe's prior rejection of Daphnis accounts for the danger he now poses to young women.61 In an instance of "Unto the pure all things are pure," Celia of "Doctor Witty" can encounter French libertine sentiments of this kind but remain untouched by them: "Her thoughts are English, though her sparkling wit / With other language doth them fitly fit."62 The threats posed by contemporary material in vernacular languages, whether Italian or French, are not a risk to Celia, who remains unchanged except in her "wit," a term that here includes both Renaissance acuity—she sees resemblances between words and makes them "fitly fit"—and neoclassical esprit, her "sparkling" ease of expression, echoed by the closed couplet form Marvell employs to cap his description of her. So the pupil, as metaphor for the translated text itself, remains intact from one language to another, with slight variations in wit to accommodate the elegance of the adopted language.

This gendering of the source language as Celia then allows Marvell a transition to his final verse paragraph, which draws on the frontispiece to the Witty volume, where a female attendant appears at an ill man's bedside only to be held back by a [End Page 186] protective angel.63 The moment now casts Celia in a different light, however, not so much as embodiment of Witty's work as a translator but as distraction from it. These two examples of female nonprofessionals—Celia in Marvell's poem and the medic in the frontispiece—serve as personifications of information that diverts attention from what is most important.64 In Celia's case the neglected core knowledge is that presented by Witty's book:

Translators learn of her [Celia]: but stay, I slideDown into error with the vulgar tide;Women must not teach here: the Doctor dothStint them to caudles, almond-milk, and broth.

(lines 27–30)

Playing off the homespun gender humor of the image in the 1651 edition, Marvell reminds the reader that women are to keep to kitchen chores, not offer instruction in translating Latin or healing patients. He makes the point in order to contrast Witty with "the vulgar tide," thus drawing on both gender and class discriminations to highlight the expertise of two fields: that of the trained physician, and of the translator. Although elegant Celia initially functions as a contrast to the vulgar crowd of the final verse paragraph, her amateur status finally parallels that of the female medics, who are viewed as meddling in tasks that exceed their abilities. The slighting of women and "the vulgar tide" becomes an elaborate means of complimenting the judgment of the translator, Witty, and his strict method of rendering Latin into English. Thus Marvell looks forward to the translation methodology of Schleiermacher, but with national, gender, and class prejudices of his time still firmly intact.

Translation theorist Lawrence Venuti has developed in various writings an opposition between what he terms instrumentalist vs. hermeneutic points of view on the part of translators.65 The instrumentalist model maintains that the essence of meaning in a source text can be conveyed into the target language, the dominant point of view especially in religious translation from St. Jerome to Luther to Miles Smith and the editors of the Authorized Version. The hermeneutic model emphasizes in contrast that every translation involves an interpretation, that a pure essence of meaning from the original can never be represented in the target language. Schleiermacher's views on this question are mixed; at times he argues that translation should strive to represent an essence of meaning in its attention to foreignness, [End Page 187] as mentioned above; at other moments he sees this task as impossible, and that translators should accept that their work will always remain just an interpretation.66 Schleiermacher articulates the hermeneutic view in his understanding of language as being inextricably bound to ideas: "whoever acknowledges the formative power of language, which is one with the particular nature of a people, must also concede that the entire knowledge of even the most exceptional man, as well as his ability to represent it, has come to him with and through language, and that no one has his language mechanically attached to him from the outside as if by straps."67 Thus in the hermeneutic view it is impossible to convey an essence of meaning, as both the source and target languages prevent such a pure transfer of content.

Marvell's views on this issue are firmly instrumentalist, affirming that an essence of a text survives translation, as illustrated in the figure of Celia. The young woman experiences no untoward compromise in the transfer of her thoughts from one language to another: "Her native beauty's not Italianated, / Nor her chaste mind into the French translated." In this regard Marvell is very much of his time, as other translation theorists such as Denham and Dryden express a similar idea in different metaphors. For Denham, even though translators add poetic "spirit" to turn their compositions into art, they remain within the original author's "circle" in order to preserve original essence of meaning.68 For Dryden, even though the "dress" of language may change, the meaning of the source text remains constant.69

Although Schleiermacher's hermeneutic point of view has steadily grown in importance over the past two centuries, it has never absolutely prevailed over the instrumentalist. One of his great contributions was to formulate this central question of translation theory more fully than anyone had before, providing a helpful diagnostic for translators who preceded and followed him. In the translation of religious texts, for instance, most practice and some theory still assume that an essential meaning can be transferred between languages. In the twentieth century the chief advocate for this position was Eugene Nida, whose idea of "dynamic equivalence" in the 1960s approximates the practice of previous religious translators such as St. Jerome in antiquity and the Protestant Reformers in the sixteenth century.70 As Nida has explained, dynamic equivalence is not only an approximate paraphrase between languages but also a real translation of essential ideas. Many translation theorists of the last two decades, such as Venuti and Susan Bassnett, have moved away from Nida, [End Page 188] but some still adhere to the practical usefulness of his ideas.71 In areas such as the translation of global news, for instance, reporters write under the assumption that meaning translates fluidly across languages, and in the translation of religious texts the desire to preserve exact meanings of source languages remains an imperative.72 This line of thinking is particularly relevant to Marvell's poem on Milton, which worries the issue of whether core religious ideas can transfer unadulterated from scripture to the imaginative work of a poet.


"On Mr Milton's Paradise Lost" is in part a meditation on the art of translation—the translation of sacred truths into an English idiom that does them "fitly fit." Marvell writes in the poem that he initially "misdoubted" Milton's intent, uneasy that the elder poet "would ruin (for I saw him strong) / The sacred truths to fable and old song" (lines 6–8). After this initial disquiet he comes to the conclusion that "things divine thou treats of in such state / As them preserves, and thee, inviolate" (lines 33–4). As in the poem to Witty, Marvell is concerned that the source text be "preserve[d]" in an "inviolate" condition—a remarkable consistency in poetics over the course of almost twenty-five years.

As argued in the first half of this article, Marvell's point of view regarding translation is literal—the awkward but faithful style of the Puritans and the Pietists and of Schleiermacher—and instrumentalist, with the conviction that an essential meaning can be conveyed from source text to target. These two points of view are also present in the poem to Milton. Marvell begins by worrying about writers who take too many liberties with scripture, either oversimplifying or making needlessly complex the truths they find there. Marvell sees a bad translation as the infliction of Samson-scale violence on the text, an abuse he has feared in Milton: "(So Sampson groped the Temple's posts in spite) / The world o'erwhelming to revenge his sight" (lines 9–10). Milton certainly holds the power on one hand to reduce scripture to "fable and old song," and on the other to "perplex" it (line 15), giving baroque twists to truths that require no overexplaining. But he does neither, instead exercising restraint in rendering the original "inviolate," with no one detail missing or added.

In the transformation of biblical materials into literary epic, there is much more at stake than the scholarly accuracy praised in the poem to Witty; for Marvell, the truth itself of scripture may [End Page 189] suffer, as the original text is potentially downgraded into entertainment. As is frequently the case with writers who theorize about the translation of religious texts, Marvell's instrumentalist view assumes an essence of meaning can and should be preserved. His anxiety about amplification of scripture places him in line with sixteenth-century Italian literary theorists such as Jacopo Mazzoni and Torquato Tasso, who forbade appending poetic "phantasies" to biblical material, a sentiment Marvell also voices in his prose from the 1670s.73 Writing against the theologian Samuel Parker in The Rehearsal Transpros'd (1672), Marvell argues, "And I am afraid besides, that there may a Curse too belong to him who shall knowingly add or diminish in the Scripture."74 Marvell's insistence that Parker neither embellish nor omit in his treatment of biblical text echoes Marvell's thoughts in the Milton poem from the year before and the Witty poem twenty-five years before that.

But, of course, Marvell's poem on Milton is a good deal more complex than all this, since Milton in Paradise Lost does in fact add dramatically to scripture. As "On Mr Milton's Paradise Lost" continues, Marvell acknowledges these additions:

Pardon me, mighty poet, nor despiseMy causeless, yet not impious, surmise.But I am now convinced, and none will dareWithin thy labours to pretend a share.Thou hast not missed one thought that could be fit,And all that was improper dost omit:So that no room is here for writers left,But to detect their ignorance or theft.

(lines 23–30)

Milton has supplied so much in fact that he has "not missed one thought that could be fit," leaving no room for subsequent writers to treat his subject without succumbing to "theft." Milton's expansion, his invention of material, is so prominent that Marvell must go on to ask, "Where couldst thou words of such a compass find? / Whence furnish such a vast expense [sic] of mind?" (lines 41–2). The answer to this question is that Milton has acquired his extra-biblical material from heaven itself, which has bestowed upon him prophetic vision analogous to that of Tiresias (see lines 43–4). The sheer power of Milton's additions thus reveals the divine fiat behind them, silencing quibbles that the poet has overstepped his role. [End Page 190]

In his reflections on Milton's expansions, Marvell taps into a line of thinking expressed most forcefully by Cowley among his contemporaries but also one that reaches back to Giles Fletcher earlier in the seventeenth century and to Marco Girolamo Vida and Guillaume de Salluste Du Bartas in the sixteenth.75 In Cowley's discussion of his Davideis in the 1656 edition of his collected works, he reflects on "how many other bright and magnificent subjects … the Holy Scripture affords, and preffers, as it were, to Poesie."76 Rather than composing fables, satires, or encomiums to patrons and mistresses, writers should choose subjects from the books of the Bible, "the best Materials in the world" for poetry. Such adaptations do not debase scripture but instead elevate poetry, bestowing on it a purity it otherwise lacks: "It is time to Baptize it in Jordan, for it will never become clean by bathing in the Waters of Damascus."77 Cowley intends his own Davideis to serve as a model to other English poets to undertake similar tasks.

In the generation before Cowley and Marvell, Fletcher had made a similar argument regarding his reshaping of material from the gospels for Christs Victorie, and Triumph (1610). Pointing to the work of poets such as Juvencus, Prudentius, and Sedulius in antiquity, and Jacopo Sannazaro and Du Bartas in the Renaissance, Fletcher offers in his prefatory remarks a comprehensive account of adaptations of scripture in the various vernacular literatures.78 Indeed, Milton thought Fletcher's reworking of scripture in Christs Victorie sound enough to model a good part of Paradise Regained after the second book of it. Marvell thus found himself in a quandary in his reactions to Paradise Lost, having to balance his long-standing literal approach to translation, where the original text is preserved "inviolate," with the poetic license Cowley and Fletcher had advocated and Milton had employed in both of his epics. One has the sense in "Mr Milton" that Marvell maintains his allegiance to strict conversion of text but is flexible in examining the particular achievements of Paradise Lost. In both his poetry and his prose Marvell recurrently comes across as someone who subscribes to deeply held values but lives in the world and can compromise when situations demand it. Thus in both "To his Worthy Friend Doctor Witty" and "On Mr Milton's Paradise Lost" we see strongly worded statements favoring literal approaches to translation—of foreign languages and of scripture—but also compelling exceptions to the rules Marvell establishes.

Marvell's conflicted attitude in "On Mr Milton's Paradise Lost" toward adaptation of scripture into an imaginative literary work corresponds to more general aesthetic attitudes one finds in his [End Page 191] writing. As a rule, he subscribes to an aesthetic conservatism that tugs against the openness of his thought. In the last decade several prominent readers of Marvell have noted different sides of this conservatism, an art of restraint that I would argue also affects his views on translation. Nigel Smith has remarked on the special quality of tetrameter rhyme in Marvell, the precision of which often creates "an impression of stasis rather than activity," wherein "everything appears to rhyme and therefore nothing follows."79 In Marvell's characteristically tight eight-syllable lines, there are more rhymes—especially exact rhymes—per quantity of text than in the pentameter line that dominates the seventeenth century. This stasis in rhyme is reinforced by an even quality of meter, a "prosody not of individuality and expressiveness but of containment," as John Creaser has observed.80 For Creaser, these aesthetic qualities contribute to a strong desire for stability in Marvell, with accompanying restrictions on poetic and political freedom.81 We might thus hear in the couplets of "Mr Milton" an eerie containment of Paradise Lost's vigorous freedoms: the power of Milton's blank verse is acknowledged but put in its place, a Shakespearean relic out of step with Marvell and his generation's new poetics.

But one might argue as well that Marvell's aesthetic conservatism can work in the other direction, enabling rather than shutting down tolerance for other points of view. In a series of essays comparing political attitudes in Marvell and Milton, Nicholas von Maltzahn notes that Marvell lacks the unconditional commitment to freedom one finds in Milton, revealing instead a defense of conscience based on recognition of "interests" rather than absolutes.82 The Treaties of Westphalia from 1648–49 particularly define the separation between the two writers, with Milton adhering to a pre-Westphalian understanding of universal Protestant identity to be defended at all costs, and Marvell adjusting to a new political climate in which compromise was the order of the day and rival national interests to be acknowledged and negotiated rather than categorically accepted or opposed.83 However tentative it may appear in comparison to adamantine Miltonic principle, Marvell's version of tolerance has in the end proved the more durable one, informing the liberal tradition of the eighteenth century that has predominated to the present day.

Paradoxically then, Marvell's aesthetic conservatism, with its attendant stability, actually encourages a heightened tolerance for competing ideas rather than a resistance to them. From the dialogues of the lyric poetry—e.g., "A Dialogue, between the Resolved [End Page 192] Soul, and Created Pleasure," "A Dialogue between the Soul and Body," "A Dialogue between Thyrsis and Dorinda," "Ametas and Thestylis Making Hay-Ropes"—to the waves of quotation in the occasional prose, Marvell draws on the tradition of animadversion, balancing contained but opposing interests, whether amatory, philosophical, or political.84 Thus Marvell can insist on a literal translation of words and ideas from scripture—in firm adherence to Puritan tradition—while allowing for Milton's additions to the Bible, as long as they remain consistent with what is proper, or "fit," in the original. In this fashion, the two attitudes toward translation I have associated with Marvell in "Doctor Witty," the literal and the instrumentalist, correspond to the views expressed about scripture in the poem on Milton.

In contemporary translation theory, these two approaches, the literal and the instrumentalist, are generally considered at odds with each other—word-for-word translations preserve oddities in the source language that do not translate well, mitigating against equivalence of meaning, while sense-for-sense translations iron these oddities out, facilitating equivalence. As with so much of his art, Marvell is not easy to categorize, however: the traditional and the exploratory, the placid and the annihilating, all exist side by side. It should not surprise us to find a similar tension in his thoughts on translation. For this supremely self-aware poet, the literal meaning of words must be preserved along with the most sacred of ideas.

Curtis Whitaker

Curtis Whitaker is Professor of English at Idaho State University, where he teaches seventeenth-century literature. He contributed an essay on German translations of Milton to Milton in Translation (2017) and has written on Marvell in the Huntington Library Quarterly and the Ben Jonson Journal.


Research for this article was supported in part by Faculty Research Grant No. 1040 from the Faculty Research Committee, Idaho State University, Pocatello, Idaho; I am grateful for this assistance. I would also like to thank Jonathan Post, under whose guidance I began working on the topic; members of the Andrew Marvell Society, who provided invaluable feedback at the 2014 meeting of the South-Central Renaissance Conference; and the anonymous reviewer at SEL, who made essential improvements throughout.

1. "To His Worthy Friend Doctor Witty" remains a relatively unknown poem within the Marvell corpus. Nigel Smith provides a helpful introduction to the medical, social, and literary context of the poem, as well as many individual notes. See Marvell, "To His Worthy Friend Doctor Witty upon His Translation of the Popular Errors," in The Poems of Andrew Marvell, ed. Nigel Smith, rev. edn. (London: Pearson Longman, 2007), pp. 178–9. Subsequent references to this poem, hereafter "Doctor Witty," are from this edition and will appear parenthetically in the text by line number. For a discussion of Tom May's poor example of a translator versus Robert Witty's good one, see Robert Wiltenburg, "Translating All That's Made: Poetry and History in 'Tom May's Death,'" SEL 31, 1 (Winter 1991): 117–30, 119–20; for a comparison of the poem to its Latin companion, see Estelle Haan, Andrew Marvell's Latin Poetry: From Text to Context, Collections Latomus 275 (Brussels: Éditions Latomus, 2003), pp. 95–111; and for a dating of Witty's known connections to Nun Appleton, see Timothy Raylor, "Dr Witty and a Nun Appleton Poisoning," N&Q 51, 1 (March 2004): 27.

Scholarly discussion of "On Mr Milton's Paradise Lost" by comparison is extensive, much of it following in the wake of Christopher Hill's essay "Milton and Marvell" (in Approaches to Marvell: The York Tercentenary Lectures, ed. C. A. Patrides [London: Routledge & K. Paul, 1978], pp. 1–30), as Matthew C. Augustine has recently remarked (see Augustine, "The Chameleon or the Sponge?: Marvell, Milton, and the Politics of Literary History," SP 111, 1 [Winter 2014]: 132–62, 132–3). Several early essays focused on the degree to which Marvell replicated or departed from Milton's style. These include Judith Scherer Herz, "Milton and Marvell: The Poet as Fit Reader," MLQ 39, 3 (September 1978): 239–63; Joseph Anthony Wittreich Jr., "Perplexing the Explanation: Marvell's 'On Mr. Milton's Paradise lost,'" in Approaches to Marvell, pp. 280–305; Kenneth Gross, "'Pardon Me, Mighty Poet': Versions of the Bard in Marvell's 'On Mr. Milton's Paradise Lost,'" MiltonS 16 (1982): 77–96; and G. F. Parker, "Marvell on Milton: Why the Poem Rhymes Not," CQ 20, 3 (1991): 183–209. Henry F. Lippincott Jr.'s early essay on the poem, "Marvell's 'On Paradise Lost'" (ELN 9 [June 1972]: 265–72), places this stylistic relationship between Marvell and Milton in the context of the anonymous attack on Milton's poetics in The Transproser Rehears'd (1673).

For further rhetorical positioning of Marvell's voice in the poem, see Michael Lieb, "S. B.'s 'In Paradisum Amissam': Sublime Commentary" (MiltonQ 19, 3 [October 1985]: 71–8), which compares the two commendatory verses that open the 1674 edition of Milton's epic; and Andrew Shifflett, "'By Lucan Driv'n About': A Jonsonian Marvell's Lucanic Milton" (RenQ 49, 4 [Winter 1996]: 803–23), an analysis of Jonsonian precedents for Marvell's poem. For conflicting assessments of the effectiveness of Marvell's praise, see Barbara K. Lewalski, "Paradise Lost and the Contest over the Modern Heroic Poem" (MiltonQ 43, 3 [October 2009]: 153–65, 161), an affirmation of the poem as a "tour de force"; and David Brewer, "On the Value of the Town-Bayes," in Shakespeare Up Close: Reading Early Modern Texts, ed. Russ McDonald, Nicholas D. Nace, and Travis D. Williams (London: Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare, 2012), pp. 119–24, a critique of the poem's "quiet clumsiness," however intentional such clumsiness may be (p. 122). For an account of Marvell's heightened awareness of himself as a reader of Milton's epic, see Sharon Achinstein, "Milton's Spectre in the Restoration: Marvell, Dryden, and Literary Enthusiasm," HLQ 59, 1 (1996): 1–29.

In several recent essays, Nicholas von Maltzahn has contrasted Milton's and Marvell's politics: see "Milton, Marvell, and Toleration," in Milton & Toleration, ed. Achinstein and Elizabeth Sauer (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2007), pp. 86–104; "Liberalism or Apocalypse? John Milton and Andrew Marvell," in English Now: Selected Papers from the 20th IAUPE Conference in Lund 2007, ed. Marianne Thormählen (Lund Sweden: Lund Univ. Press, 2008), pp. 44–58; and "Ruining the Sacred Truths? Marvell's Milton and Cultural Memory," in Writing and Religion in England, 1558–1689: Studies in Community-Making and Cultural Memory, ed. Roger D. Sell and Anthony W. Johnson (Farnham UK: Ashgate, 2009), pp. 367–86. John McWilliams, in "Marvell and Milton's Literary Friendship Reconsidered" (SEL 46, 1 [Winter 2006]: 155–77), further probes the nature of the two poets' friendship. Nigel Smith provides comprehensive biographical context to "Mr Milton" in his edition of Poems from 2007 and his biography from 2010: see Marvell, "On Mr Milton's Paradise Lost," in Poems, pp. 180–4; and Nigel Smith, Andrew Marvell: The Chameleon (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 2010), pp. 282–4. Subsequent references to "On Mr Milton's Paradise Lost," hereafter, "Mr Milton," are from this edition and will appear parenthetically in the text by line number.

2. St. Jerome, "Letter to Pammachius," trans. Kathleen Davis, in Translation Studies Reader, ed. Lawrence Venuti, 2d edn. (New York: Routledge, 2004), pp. 21–30, 23.

3. Marvell's poem appeared for the first time as a prefatory poem in Witty's English translation of James Primrose's Popular Errours. Or the Errours of the People in Physick, trans. Witty (London: Nicholas Bourne, 1651), A8v–B1r; EEBO Wing (2d edn.) P3476. Witty's source text, a medical book by Primrose, is Iacobi Primirosii, Doctoris Medici, de Vulgi in Medicina Erroribus (London: H. Robinson, 1638); EEBO STC (2d edn.) 20384.

4. Nigel Smith notes Marvell's departure from his contemporaries' emphasis on what John Denham calls "a free and bolder" approach to translation; see Marvell, "Doctor Witty," p. 178; and Denham, "To the Authour of This Translation," in Il Pastor Fido, The faithfull Shepherd, by [Giovanni] Baptista Guarini, trans. [Richard Fanshawe] (London: R. Raworth, 1647), a[1]r–v, a[1]v; EEBO Wing G2174. George Chapman's remarks are to be found in the various prefatory materials to his editions of the Iliad appearing in 1598, 1608, 1611, and 1614; they are collected in Chapman's Homer: The Iliad, ed. Allardyce Nicoll, Bollingen Series 41 (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1998). John Dryden's essays on translation are many. I will be quoting from his preface to Ovid's Epistles, Translated by Several Hands (London: Jacob Tonson, 1680), A3r–[a]4r; EEBO Wing O659; and from the various prefatory materials in his edition of The Works of Virgil (London: Jacob Tonson, 1697); EEBO Wing V616.

5. Because the first collection of Marvell's work, Miscellaneous Poems ([London: Robert Boulter, 1681]; EEBO Wing M872), was published posthumously, the significance of the ordering of the poems remains speculative. Annabel Patterson provides compelling reasons to divide the poems into six groups, however, with "Doctor Witty" and "Mr Milton" falling into one having to do with "literary occasion" ("Miscellaneous Marvell?," in The Political Identity of Andrew Marvell, ed. Conal Condren and A. D. Cousins [Aldershot UK: Scolar Press, 1990], pp. 188–212, 203).

6. For Cicero's and Horace's remarks on translation, see Venuti, "Foundational Statements," in Translation Studies Reader, pp. 13–20, 13–4.

7. See Venuti, "Genealogies of Translation Theory: Jerome," Boundary II 37, 3 (Fall 2010): 5–28, 10–1.

8. St. Jerome, p. 25.

9. Jerome's metaphors make explicit a Roman attitude toward translation with a long pedigree. From its beginnings in the third century BCE, Roman translation of Greek texts reflected the point of view of writers in a position of authority who domesticated works from a less powerful culture—in this case, Greece—to their own ends. Conversely, when Roman officials needed to translate from Latin into the languages of subject states, they insisted on a literal style, reinforcing linguistically the necessity to conform to Roman norms. See Denis Feeney, Beyond Greek: The Beginnings of Latin Literature (Cambridge MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 2016), pp. 45–9, 83–6. Roman liberty with Greek literary texts also owes something to the use of the scroll rather than the codex for much of antiquity, as the earlier technology did not allow for easy maneuvering between a source text and target one. Instead, translators from one scroll to another relied heavily on their memories, leading to a freer translation style. See Siobhán McElduff, Roman Theories of Translation: Surpassing the Source (New York: Routledge, 2013), pp. 7–11.

10. [Miles Smith], "The Translators to the Reader," in The Holy Bible, Conteyning the Old Testament, and the New (London: Robert Barker, 1611), [A3]v–[B2]v, [B2]v; EEBO STC (2d edn.) 2216.

11. See F. O. Matthiessen, Translation: An Elizabethan Art (1931; rprt. New York: Octagon Books, 1965).

12. Philemon Holland, "To the Reader," in The Romane Historie Written by T. Livius of Padua (London: Adam Islip, 1600), [A6]r; EEBO STC (2d edn.) 16613.

13. John Florio, "To the Curteous Reader," in The Essayes or Morall, Politike, and Millitarie Discourses of Lo: Michaell de Montaigne (London: Edward Blount, 1603), A5r; EEBO STC (2d edn.) 18041.

14. Chapman, "To the Understander," in Chapman's Homer, pp. 548–50, 548.

15. Chapman, "To the Understander," p. 548.

16. Chapman, "The Preface to the Reader" [for Homer's Iliads], in Chapman's Homer, pp. 14–8, 16.

17. T. R. Steiner, English Translation Theory, 1650–1800, Approaches to Translation Studies 2 (Assen: Van Gorcum, 1975), p. 11.

18. Denham, "To the Authour of this Translation," A[1]r; and see Abraham Cowley, preface to Pindarique Odes, in Poems (London: Humphrey Moseley, 1656), Aaa2r–v, Aaa2r; EEBO Wing C6683.

19. Denham, preface to The Destruction of Troy, an Essay upon the Second Book of Virgils "Æneis" (London: Humphrey Moseley, 1656), A2r–[A4]r, [A3]r; EEBO Wing (CD-ROM) V624.

20. Both works, The Triumph of Death and Antonius, are included in vol. 1 of The Collected Works of Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess of Pembroke, ed. Margaret P. Hannay, Noel J. Kinnamon, and Michael G. Brennan, 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998).

21. John Considine, "Golding, Arthur (1535/6–1606)," in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2004), accessed 5 November 2016,

22. Denham, "The Preface," in A Version of the Psalms of David (London: Printed for J. Bowyer, H. Clements, T. Varnam, and J. Osborn, 1714), pp. xiii–xxviii, xiii; ECCO ESTC T091807.

23. Cowley, "The Preface," in Poems, a[1]r–[b3]v, [b1]v.

24. Cowley, preface to Pindarique Odes, in Poems, Aaa2r.

25. William Habington, Castara, 3d edn. (London: Printed by T. Cotes for Will Cooke, 1640); EEBO STC (2d edn.) 12585. "The third part" (p. 167), filled with biblical translations, appears only in the third edition of this work.

26. For the dating of "Doctor Witty," see von Maltzahn, An Andrew Marvell Chronology (Houndmills UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), pp. 34–5.

27. Gerald Hammond, "English Translations of the Bible," in The Literary Guide to the Bible, ed. Robert Alter and Frank Kermode (Cambridge MA: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 1987), pp. 647–66, 653.

28. See Bruce M. Metzger, The Bible in Translation: Ancient and English Versions (Grand Rapids MI: Baker Academic, 2001), p. 65. Although anonymous, the Geneva Bible is thought to have been primarily the work of William Whittingham and Anthony Gilby, who in identifying added words followed the lead of the first French translation of the Bible by Pierre Robert Olivétan, John Calvin's cousin. See David Daniell, The Bible in English: Its History and Influence (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 2003), p. 292; and Femke Molekamp, "Genevan Legacies: The Making of the English Geneva Bible," in The Oxford Handbook of the Bible in Early Modern England, c. 1530–1700, ed. Kevin Killeen, Helen Smith, and Rachel Willie (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2015), pp. 38–53, 40.

29. The phrase "proprietie of the woordes" occurs in the prefatory "To Our Beloved in the Lord," in The Bible (London: Christopher Barker, 1576), [¶3]v; EEBO STC (2d edn.) 2118, reel 1618:01, qtd. in Molekamp's discussion of the marketing of the Geneva Bible in "The Geneva and the King James Bibles: Legacies of Reading Practices," BStu 15 (2011): 11–25, 16. For the Geneva translators' preservation of contradictory political language in the Bible, see Tom Furniss, "Reading the Geneva Bible: Notes toward an English Revolution?," PSt 31, 1 (April 2009): 1–21, 14.

30. See Hammond, The Making of the English Bible (Manchester UK: Carcanet New Press, 1982), p. 106, qtd. in Daniell, p. 297; and Molekamp, "Genevan Legacies," pp. 41–5.

31. See Molekamp, "Genevan Legacies," pp. 42 and 44.

32. Nigel Smith, Andrew Marvell: The Chameleon, p. 31.

33. See Nigel Smith, Andrew Marvell: The Chameleon, p. 31.

34. Nigel Smith considers Marvell's father's library, sermons, and clerical activity and finds his practice "a moderate Puritanism," in accord with Marvell's own assessment after his father had died (Andrew Marvell: The Chameleon, p. 17; see also pp. 14–25).

35. See von Maltzahn, An Andrew Marvell Chronology, pp. 20 and 23.

36. Anthony Stevenson became usher at Hull Grammar School in 1630—Marvell's second year—and master in 1632, remaining in the position until 1646. Marvell left Hull in 1633 for Cambridge. See Nigel Smith, Andrew Marvell: The Chameleon, p. 27.

37. See Nigel Smith, Andrew Marvell: The Chameleon, pp. 26–31.

38. Marvell's pair-poems in English and Latin include "On a Drop of Dew" and Ros; "The Garden" and Hortus; "Doctor Witty" and Dignissimo suo Amico Doctori Wittie. De Translatione Vulgi Errorum D. Primrosii; "Upon the Hill and Grove at Bilbrough, to the Lord Fairfax" and Epigramma in Duos Montes Amosclivum et Bilboreum. Farfacio; and "Epigram: Upon Blood's Attempt to Steal the Crown" and Bludius et Corona. Paradoxically, in his own translation practice Marvell does not follow the ethos of literal translation he advocates in "Doctor Witty," the English and Latin versions of his own poems diverging widely in content. The Latin version of the poem to Witty, for instance, differs from the English in focusing on proliferation of printed material in Marvell's time rather than on questions of translation and the privileges of a professional physician. Other Latin poems such as Hortus and Ros adhere more closely to their English companions but still engage with different themes of their own. Marvell thus allows considerable liberty to poets when they rework their own verse, as both source text and target are imaginative products of their own devising. It is when one translates the work of another that the ethics of literal translation apply. For a discussion of how Marvell's translation practice may derive from the double translation method begun by Elizabethan schoolmasters, see Haan, pp. 11–6.

39. Jonathan Sheehan gives a comprehensive account of Bible translation in German in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; for his account of the seventeenth century, see "The Vernacular Bible: Reformation and Baroque," in The Enlightenment Bible: Translation, Scholarship, Culture (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 2007), pp. 1–25. On publication of the Geneva Bible through the 1640s, see Crawford Gribben, "Deconstructing the Geneva Bible: The Search for a Puritan Poetic," L&T 14, 1 (March 2000): 1–16, 3–4.

40. See Nigel Smith, "Retranslating the Bible in the English Revolution," in The Oxford Handbook of the Bible, pp. 98–110, 108. In addition to placing Robert Gell's writing in the context of 1640s and 1650s London, Smith identifies his deep connections with seventeenth-century German mystics and Pietists. As Gell's biography would suggest, he is hard to pin down on his religious affiliation. Christopher Hill refers to him as a familist (see Milton and the English Revolution [New York: Viking Press, 1978], p. 34); Tai Liu argues he was "clearly not a Presbyterian" (Puritan London: A Study of Religion and Society in the City Parishes [Newark: Univ. of Delaware Press, 1986], p. 170); and Louise Hill Curth writes he was "able to present himself as orthodox" but with "decidedly unorthodox views" ("Gell, Robert [1595–1665]," in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, accessed 1 May 2018,

41. See Nigel Smith, "Retranslating the Bible," pp. 98–9 and 106.

42. For Sheehan's discussion of Johann Reitz, see pp. 57–8 and 64–8; for his discussion of Johann Schmidt, see pp. 121–31.

43. See Reitz, Das Neue Testament, 2d edn. (Frankfurt: Joh. Friderich Regelein, 1706), [)o(2v]. See also Sheehan, p. 67; and Nigel Smith, "Retranslating the Bible," p. 109.

44. For Puritan influence on Pietists, see Douglas H. Shantz, An Introduction to German Pietism: Protestant Renewal at the Dawn of Modern Europe (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2013), pp. 47–50; and Markus Matthias, "Pietism and Protestant Orthodoxy," in A Companion to German Pietism, 1660–1800, ed. Shantz (Leiden: Brill, 2015), pp. 17–49, 21. On the first vernacular parallel Bible, Johann Otto Glüsing's Biblia Pentapla (1710), see Sheehan, pp. 57–64.

45. On Friedrich Schleiermacher's Pietist upbringing, see Michael Forster, "Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher," in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2015 edn.), ed. Edward N. Zalta, accessed 7 August 2016, Venuti first brought attention to Schleiermacher's theory that literal translation could serve to foreignize a source text, an idea that has been widely influential in translation studies (see The Translator's Invisibility [London: Routledge, 1995], pp. 83–98). See also Susan Bassnett, Translation (London: Routledge, 2014), pp. 16–7 and 47–8; and Susan Bernofsky, Foreign Words: Translator-Authors in the Age of Goethe (Detroit: Wayne State Univ. Press, 2005), pp. 25–9.

46. Schleiermacher, "On the Different Methods of Translating," trans. Bernofsky, in Translation Studies Reader, pp. 43–63, 53.

47. Schleiermacher, p. 50.

48. Schleiermacher, pp. 54 and 53.

49. For Johann Gottfried Herder's Pietist background, see Herder, Another Philosophy of History and Selected Political Writings, ed. Ioannis D. Evrigenis and Daniel Pellerin (Indianapolis IN: Hackett Publishing, 2004), p. ix; and Helmut Walser Smith, The Continuities of German History: Nation, Religion, and Race across the Long Nineteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2008), pp. 56–7. Herder expresses his dislike for philosophical universals in "Yet Another Philosophy of History" (1774), where he laments, "No one in the world feels the weakness of generalizing more than I" ("Yet Another Philosophy of History," in Against Pure Reason: Writings on Religion, Language, and History, trans. and ed. Marcia Bunge [Minneapolis MN: Fortress Press, 1993], pp. 38–48, 38). For accounts of Herder's ongoing critique of the French Enlightenment in its various aspects, see Isaiah Berlin, "Herder and the Enlightenment," in Three Critics of the Enlightenment: Vico, Hamann, Herder, ed. Henry Hardy, 2d edn. (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 2013), pp. 208–300; Vanessa Pupavac, Language Rights: From Free Speech to Linguistic Governance (Basingstoke UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), pp. 64–5; and Forster, "Johann Gottfried von Herder," in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, accessed 7 August 2016, Sheehan makes the connection between Herder's emphasis on literal translation and nationalism (see pp. 168–73). For an account of widespread German animus toward Napoleon among Herder, the Brothers Grimm, and others, see Joep Leerssen, National Thought in Europe: A Cultural History (Amsterdam: Amsterdam Univ. Press, 2006), pp. 119–26. Peter Watson offers an overview of German feeling toward the French at the beginning of the nineteenth century (see The German Genius [New York: HarperCollins, 2010], pp. 261–2).

50. For Schleiermacher's view of "the entire French translation tradition as grossly assimilationist or domesticating," see Venuti, "Genealogies of Translation Theory: Schleiermacher and the Hermeneutic Model," in Un/Translatables: New Maps for Germanic Literatures, ed. Bethany Wiggin and Catriona MacLeod (Evanston IL: Northwestern Univ. Press, 2016), pp. 45–62, 56. I am grateful to Professor Venuti for sharing this manuscript with me in advance of its publication. German dislike for "les belles infidèles" of French Enlightenment translation practice was of course not limited to Schleiermacher (Venuti, "Genealogies of Translation Theory: Schleiermacher and the Hermeneutic Model," pp. 58–9); for its prevalence among Pietists, see Shantz, "Pietism as a Translation Movement," in A Companion to German Pietism, pp. 319–42, 321–2.

51. Although Germany did not exist formally as a nation-state until 1871 under Wilhelm I, its national self-consciousness in relation to France was long-standing, as in Herder's remarks referred to above. One might point as well to Martin Luther's goal in his translation of the Bible to write in "no particular dialect, but use the common language so that everyone in upper and lower Germany can understand" (qtd. in Shantz, "Pietism as a Translation Movement," p. 323); already in the sixteenth century, strong nationalist feelings underlay the desire for translation in the German vernacular.

52. Samuel Hartlib, qtd. in von Maltzahn, An Andrew Marvell Chronology, p. 43.

53. See Nigel Smith, Andrew Marvell: The Chameleon, pp. 53–62.

54. See Nigel Smith, Andrew Marvell: The Chameleon, pp. 56–62; and von Maltzahn, An Andrew Marvell Chronology, pp. 30–1.

55. Marvell, "Flecknoe, an English Priest at Rome," in Poems, pp. 169–74, lines 79–82.

56. Nigel Smith, Andrew Marvell: The Chameleon, p. 62.

57. See Nigel Smith, Andrew Marvell: The Chameleon, pp. 49–52; and Giulio Pertile, "Marvell as libertin: Upon Appleton House and the Legacy of Théophile de Viau," SCen 28, 4 (December 2013): 395–418.

58. For the date of November 1650, see von Maltzahn, An Andrew Marvell Chronology, pp. 34–5. The translation of Antoine Girard de Saint-Amant by Thomas, Lord Fairfax, may be found in The Poems of Thomas, Third Lord Fairfax, from MS. Fairfax 40 in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, ed. Edward Bliss Reed (New Haven: Yale Univ., 1909), pp. 263–70.

59. See Nigel Smith, Andrew Marvell: The Chameleon, pp. 50–2.

60. Marvell, "Daphnis and Chloe," in Poems, pp. 103–6, lines 85–8.

61. Marvell, "Daphnis and Chloe," lines 102–3.

62. Titus 1:15 (AV).

63. See the frontispiece to Primrose, Popular Errours, [A2]r.

64. Primrose's title, Popular Errours, indicates his focus on the medical mistakes of nonprofessionals. One particularly associated with women such as the attendant in the frontispiece is uroscopy, the visual inspection of a patient's urine for medical diagnosis; "silly women" who "peepe into Urines," Primrose says, delay legitimate treatment by the physician (p. 56, qtd. in Natale G. De Santo, Giovambattista Capasso, Cinzia Ciacci, Leonardo Gallo, and Garabed Eknoyan, "Origins of Nephrology: The 17th Century," American Journal of Nephrology 12, 1–2 [1992]: 94–101, 97).

65. See Venuti, "Genealogies of Translation Theory: Jerome," pp. 5–7; and Venuti, Translation Studies Reader, p. 6.

66. See Venuti, "Genealogies of Translation Theory: Schleiermacher and the Hermeneutic Model," pp. 53–4.

67. Schleiermacher, pp. 56–7.

68. Denham, "To the Authour of this Translation," a1v.

69. Dryden, preface to Ovid's Epistles, [a3]r.

70. See Eugene Nida, "Principles of Correspondence" (1964), in Translation Studies Reader, pp. 153–67, 162–3.

71. See Peter Kirk, "Holy Communicative? Current Approaches to Bible Translation Worldwide," in Translation and Religion: Holy Untranslatable?, ed. Lynne Long (Clevedon UK: Multilingual Matters, 2005), pp. 89–101, 94.

72. Esperança Bielsa and Bassnett write that in international journalism newswriters focus on the essence of the event they are describing, not faithful reproduction of a source text; the act of translation becomes in fact "invisible." News agencies aim for "objectivity and neutrality" even while heavily domesticating news information for their target audiences (see Bielsa and Bassnett, Translation in Global News [London: Routledge, 2008], pp. 73 and 69).

73. Jacopo Mazzoni writes in On the Defense of the "Comedy" of Dante (1587), "I cannot praise [Jacopo] Sannazaro nor [Marco Girolamo] Vida nor other similar poets who, in spite of having taken from the sacred books a subject that is inalterable for the reasons just given, yet have wished to add to it, and certainly too boldly, many phantasies" (On the Defense of the "Comedy" of Dante, in Allan H. Gilbert, Literary Criticism: Plato to Dryden [1940; rprt. Detroit MI: Wayne State Univ. Press, 1962], pp. 359–403, 390–1). Torquato Tasso was similarly rigorous a short time later in Discourses on the Heroic Poem (1594), wherein he forbids that subject matter from the Bible be adapted to an epic poem. See Lewalski's discussion of Tasso in Milton's Brief Epic (Providence: Brown Univ. Press, 1966), pp. 77–8.

74. Marvell, The Rehearsal Transpros'd, vol. 1 of The Prose Works of Andrew Marvell, ed. Patterson, Martin Dzelzainis, N. H. Keeble, and von Maltzahn, 2 vols. (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 2003), p. 139.

75. For an overview of seventeenth-century questions on the nature of epic, see Lewalski, "Paradise Lost and the Contest," pp. 153–65.

76. Cowley, "The Preface," b2r.

77. Cowley, "The Preface," [b3]r and [b2]v.

78. See Giles Fletcher, "To the Reader," in Christs Victorie, and Triumph (Cambridge: C. Legge, 1610), [¶4]v; EEBO STC (2d edn.) 11059.

79. Nigel Smith, "Andrew Marvell and Rhyme," EIRC 35, 1 (Summer 2009): 88–102, 91.

80. John Creaser, "Prosody and Liberty in Milton and Marvell," in Milton and the Terms of Liberty, ed. Graham Parry and Joad Raymond (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2002), pp. 37–55, 39.

81. See Creaser, pp. 47 and 51.

82. Von Maltzahn, "Milton, Marvell and Toleration"; von Maltzahn, "Liberalism or Apocalypse?"; and von Maltzahn, "Ruining the Sacred Truths?" For Marvell's commitment to "interest politics" see von Maltzahn, "Liberalism or Apocalypse?," pp. 52–5. For the greater durability of Marvell's version of tolerance, see "Milton, Marvell and Toleration," pp. 86 and 104.

83. As von Maltzahn points out, the importance of Westphalia was realized later in England than on the Continent, but by the time of Richard Cromwell and of the early Restoration, English affairs of state had become less committed to the idea of international Protestantism and more attuned to realpolitik ("Liberalism or Apocalypse?," p. 53). Von Maltzahn notes the post-Westphalian point of view, especially in Marvell's acknowledgment of competing "interests" in An Account of the Growth of Popery and Arbitrary Government in England, wherein Marvell uses the word many times to represent competing points of view that should be understood on their own terms (p. 55). Thus Marvell writes of "the Interest of England," "the French and Popish Interest," "the National Interest of Religion," and the "secular Interest" (see Marvell, The Prose Works of Andrew Marvell, 2:336, 289, 273, 237). An Account of the Growth of Popery dates from 1677, but Marvell was using the word "interest" in the same sense much earlier in his correspondence with the mayors of the Hull Corporation, where he writes to them of their individual personal interests (Marvell to Mayor Richardson [22 November 1660], pp. 4–5, 4; Marvell and John Ramsden to Mayor Richardson [8 December 1660], pp. 8–9, 9); "the interest of a wholl inline graphic" (Marvell and Ramsden to Mayor Richardson [11 December 1660], pp. 10–1, 11); "the interest of your Trade" (Marvell to Mayor Lambert [14 November 1667], pp. 59–60, 60); the interests of the gentry in their individual counties (Marvell to Mayor Foxley [27 March 1677], p. 192); and "the Interest of this Nation" (Marvell to Mayor Shires [23 October 1675], pp. 166–7, 167), in vol. 2 of The Poems and Letters of Andrew Marvell, ed. H. M. Margoliouth, 3d edn., rev. Pierre Legouis and E. E. Duncan Jones (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971).

84. For the importance of animadversion—an argumentative format in which one polemic answers a prior one—throughout both seventeenth-century discourse and the Marvell corpus, see von Maltzahn, "Adversarial Marvell," in The Cambridge Companion to Andrew Marvell, ed. Derek Hirst and Steven N. Zwicker (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2011), pp. 174–93.

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