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“Had we but world enough, and time”

Miscellaneous Poems
Andrew Marvell (1621-1678)
London: [By Simon Miller?], 1681 for Robert Boulter, at the Turks-Head in Cornhill
First edition

This collection marks the first appearance of the majority of Andrew Marvell’s poems, including “To His Coy Mistress,” one of the most celebrated lyric poems in the English language. The collection was “taken from exact copies, under his own handwriting, found since his death among his other papers, witness my hand this 15th day of October, 1680. Mary Marvell.” So states the “Letter to the Reader.” However, the edition was published under mysterious circumstances.

There is no record that Marvell ever married. Mary Palmer was Marvell’s housekeeper. It is thought that friends of Marvell’s added the erroneous announcement, for reasons still hypothesized today. Some modern-day Marvell scholars accept that Mary Palmer was married to Marvell.

Leaves S1 and X1 are cancels, replacing thirteen leaves, necessitated by the suppression of three long poems in honor of Oliver Cromwell, the publication of which was thought to be impolitic. The suppressed leaves are missing in all but two known copies of the printed folio, these two copies being incomplete. Popular rumor attributed Marvell’s death to poisoning by Jesuits.

Illustrated with engraved frontispiece portrait of Marvell. Woodcut publisher’s device on title-page.