An Horatian Ode Upon Cromwell's Return From Ireland

by Andrew Marvell

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"But Bowed His Comely Head, Down As Upon A Bed"

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Last Updated on January 18, 2016, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 139

Context: Influenced by Ben Jonson and John Donne, Marvell is considered the last of the metaphysical poets. In his work emotion and thought are synthesized, and feeling is presented in an intellectual form. In the Horatian ode which he wrote upon Cromwell's return, Marvell becomes the sober and contemplative observer who can see and understand two ideologies at work, balancing them one against the other; although he regrets the execution of King Charles, he feels that Cromwell is acting for the good of his country. In solemn words he pays tribute to the courage with which his King accepted death:

He nothing common did or mean
Upon that memorable Scene:
But with his keener eye
The Axe's edge did try:
Nor call'd the gods with vulgar spite
To vindicate his helpless right,
But bow'd his comely head,
Down as upon a bed.

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