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Reading: Like Skillful Looms: Marvell, Cromwell, and the Politics of Weeping

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Like Skillful Looms: Marvell, Cromwell, and the Politics of Weeping

Author:

Stephen Spencer

Hunter College, CUNY, US
About Stephen
Stephen Spencer recieved his PhD in English at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. His dissertation, "Revolutionary Joy: Affect, Expression, and Community in Milton's England," mobilizes an early modern theory of Protestant affect to historicize the political life of radical joy in the poetry, polemical prose, and sermons of mid-seventeenth century England.
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Abstract

Recent work has illuminated the spiritual, eschatological, and gender dynamics of Marvell’s poetry of tears, but the politics of Marvellian weeping have yet to be tackled. Contextualizing the Cromwell encomia (‘The First Anniversary of the Government under His Highness the Lord Protector’ and ‘A Poem upon the Death of his Late Highness the Lord Protector’) amidst the man’s proclivity for weeping, this essay argues that Marvell poetically employs tears not just to embrace the vulnerability of the Lord Protector at the center of England’s new political settlement; he also attempts to bind moderate yet impassioned allies around a bourgeois Protestantism. The essay begins with a reading of ‘Eyes and Tears’ to establish the religious, economic, and ornamental dimensions of Marvellian weeping. ‘The First Anniversary’ echoes the aspect of luxurious display central to Marvell’s bourgeois Protestantism in ‘Eyes and Tears’, but it adds an emphasis on domestic productivity to suggest that private weeping can be publically beneficial. In this way, Marvell can speak to Cromwell as a well-known practitioner of weeping while also speaking to, and as, an audience of bourgeois Protestants, for whom religious devotion and economic productivity are mutually reinforcing endeavors. The essay concludes with a theoretical reflection on Marvellian weeping as affective politics, in which the externalization of internal emotion attempts to forge community. Ultimately, the affective politics of Marvellian weeping consists in publicizing private piety without forfeiting the sanctity of private life altogether.

How to Cite: Spencer, S., 2019. Like Skillful Looms: Marvell, Cromwell, and the Politics of Weeping. Marvell Studies, 4(2), p.1. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/ms.35
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  Published on 20 Nov 2019
 Accepted on 30 May 2019            Submitted on 28 Oct 2018

The simile at the heart of ‘The First Anniversary of the Government under His Highness the Lord Protector’ (Dec 1654–Jan 1655),1 in which Marvell compares weepers mourning Cromwell’s near-death experience in a coaching accident (29 Sept 1654) to embroiderers threading silver through a golden tapestry, foreshadows how the poet will ‘interweave’ the ‘one sorrow’ of the English Protectorate’s first year amidst its ‘other glories’ (ll. 181–82). Derek Hirst and Steven Zwicker argue that this simile embraces the vulnerability of the Protectorate regime, and David Loewenstein sees Marvell negotiating the ‘unsettled political and religious tensions which Cromwell himself personified’.2 Less consideration, however, has been paid to the possibility that it calls attention, deliberately or accidentally, to weeping as a specific means whereby Cromwell personified Protectorate-era tensions. While many viewed the lachrymose Cromwell as an effeminate hypocrite practicing political dissimulation, tears were, for him and his supporters, a masculine demonstration of fortitude and piety that could bind religious and political allies.3 The activist, feminine tears of ‘The First Anniversary’—‘employ[ed]’ as they are by ‘skilful looms’ (ll. 185, 183)—could be seen as ‘Cromwellian’ in their attempt at political dissimulation. But the image of the Protectorate faithful shedding tears like weavers embroidering a tapestry transforms the femininity of weeping from a negative association with hypocrisy into a positive association with domestic productivity.4 If Marvell is appealing to Cromwell as a well-known practitioner of weeping, he is equally cognizant of the need to poetically revise activist tears, if they are to appeal to an audience beyond Cromwell and his loyalists.5

Contextualizing ‘The First Anniversary’ and ‘A Poem upon the Death of his Late Highness the Lord Protector’ (Sept 1658–Jan 1659) amidst Cromwellian weeping, this essay argues that Marvell poetically employs tears not just to embrace the vulnerability of the Lord Protector at the center of England’s new political settlement; he also attempts to bind moderate yet impassioned allies around a bourgeois Protestantism.6 In explaining Marvell’s synthesis of republican, courtly, apocalyptic, and prophetic strands, David Norbrook suggests that ‘The First Anniversary’’s comparison of itself to a golden tapestry interwoven with silver additionally speaks to ‘sober men’ of ‘property’ and ‘fashion’, offering reassurance against the ‘absurd primitivism’ of radical sectarians in general and Fifth Monarchists in particular.7 Norbrook, however, does not consider why Marvell compares silver threads to grievous tears in appealing to this audience, nor does he consider their feminization. By depicting the weepers of ‘The First Anniversary’ as embroiderers, Marvell situates them in a trade that makes both their gender and artisanal identities ambiguous; the distinction between professional (mostly male) and amateur (mostly female) embroiderers grew more rigid throughout the seventeenth century, but embroidery was still predominantly associated with women, particularly of the gentry, merchant, and artisan classes.8 The comparison of embroidery to weeping strengthens the former’s feminine character, suggesting that the poem’s skillful looms, like Marvell seeking employment with the Protectorate regime, are amateurs with professional aspirations. When we recognize that, in early modernity, a nascent bourgeois class was primarily an amalgamation of masculine identities—the ‘good Christian’, ‘economic man’, and ‘substantial tradesman’ managing their homes as productive units of worship and business—it becomes apparent that Marvell’s feminization of the poem’s propertied, fashionable audience leverages the domestic productivity of embroidery to render weeping a similarly productive private activity.9 Hence, ‘The First Anniversary’’s comparison of itself to a tapestry does more than offer reassurance against sectarianism; it provides a model whereby private weeping can be productively publicized in Protectorate England, an era in which public religious profession was to be carried out with ‘sobriety’.10 As items of luxurious display, tears do not betray the effeminate hypocrisy of their shedders so much as they index the deeply interwoven, mutually reinforcing threads of private piety and domestic productivity constituting their subjectivities.11

Before discussing the politics of weeping in the Cromwell encomia, this essay begins with a reading of ‘Eyes and Tears’ to establish the religious, economic, and ornamental dimensions of Marvellian weeping. As recent scholarship has made clear, ‘Eyes and Tears’ marks an important development in the poet’s thought concerning the relationship between temporal and spiritual order. For Gary Kuchar, the poem negotiates between Catholic and Laudian exemplars of the weeping genre, and it comes to view the difference between worldly and spiritual order as a constitutive hinge. More recently, Brendan Prawdzik argues that ‘Eyes and Tears’ evinces an ‘Ecclesiastean skepticism’ promoting ‘engaged labor that is also humble, seasonable, and ordinary’.12 Kuchar and Prawdzik’s respective emphases on world-spirit relationality and engaged labor support my discussion of Marvellian weeping as indicative of the poet’s bourgeois Protestantism, which values tears as material signifiers of private piety that can edify the public. Similar to ‘The First Anniversary’’s image of tears-as-silver thread in a tapestry, the image of tears-as-pendants in ‘Eyes and Tears’ appeals to bourgeois Protestants in its synthesis of religious devotion and luxurious display.

These Pendants of the Eyes: The Bourgeois Protestantism of ‘Eyes and Tears’

A year or so after the Restoration, Abraham Cowley describes how many became aware that Cromwell’s ‘unmanly tears’ were nothing more than political theater, ‘as if a Player, by putting on a Gown, should think he represented excellently a Woman, though his Beard at the same time were seen by all the Spectators’.13 Cowley’s comparison of a tearful Cromwell to an actor adorning a gown exemplifies how hypocrisy and femininity were often interchangeable accusations levied at ‘pious’ weepers. As we will see, Marvell recuperates tears as feminine display by displacing them from the stage to the household. In ‘Eyes and Tears’, weeping is bourgeois insofar as tears are luxurious ornaments, but it is also Protestant, insofar as the speaker demonstrates vigilance in scrutinizing tears as material, spiritual, and poetic signifiers.

Once considered a resolutely Catholic form of sacramental penitence, weeping is now understood to have been a prominent, but contested, form of private prayer in early modern Protestantism.14 Because tears were simultaneously understood as divine gifts and human creations, weeping helped Protestants distinguish true from false repentance, even if it did not cause such repentance. The rise of pious weeping in Reformation England surely owes much to Protestantism’s de-emphasis of sacraments, but unlike medieval affective piety, Protestant weeping was a largely private prerogative; public weeping raised the specter of hypocrisy. It is important to note that Catholic preachers of the high Middle Ages were similarly preoccupied with hypocrisy and exaggeration as it pertained to penitent weeping, even as they encouraged their parishioners to shed tears. In this respect, Catholic and Protestant notions of weeping are not so different. But the public weeping of medieval devotion became less common in Reformation Europe and England, and the problem of hypocrisy shifted away from excessive and towards public weeping.15 Though sermons and funerals were acceptable occasions for weeping, elite and popular Calvinism argued that tears emerging from physical pain or earthly loss possessed no inherent spiritual value. Thus, it was better for Protestants to shed tears in private, lest they be accused of hypocrisy.

Protestant weeping was heavily gendered. Because women and children tended to weep more than adult men, worldly tears were often consigned to the former, and the latter faced charges that their ‘pious’ tears were womanish, childish, or both.16 Elaborating the gendered nature of Protestant weeping helps scholars recognize how readings of ‘Eyes and Tears’ that describe the poem as secular in its depiction of female weeping often miss its engagement with the fluid intersection between Catholic and Protestant worship. Catholic poets indebted to Southwell usually reached the same devotional conclusions as their progenitor, but they often shifted their focus to questions of feminine subjectivity and the dichotomy between public, ‘external’ emotion and private, ‘internal’ emotion. Such shifts led Protestants to moralize and satirizize the poetry of tears tradition, but they nevertheless found appealing its emphasis on divine agency.17 Gary Kuchar argues that secular lyrics depicting female weepers mediate ‘Eyes and Tears’ partly because Marvell is interested in celebrating ‘the sensual and aesthetic side of … transformative grief … while nevertheless maintaining a degree of lyrical constraint’.18 But because Marvell’s constrained lyricism attempts to render constructive the feminine stigma of weeping, we can also conclude that Marvell is equally interested in providing a properly Protestant depiction of weeping by wedding feminine subjectivity to private piety.

With its poetic speaker ‘insulated from the world around [him] and the world of values from which [he came]’, ‘Eyes and Tears’ (~1648) reflects the private bent of Protestant weeping. Nigel Smith calls ‘Eyes and Tears’ a highly original commentary on ‘English religious verse since the late sixteenth century and the confessional battleground of which it was a part’. This is not to say, however, that the poem directly participates in the poetry of tears tradition inaugurated by Southwell; Marvell’s aesthetic use of religious imagery is not particularly concerned with distinctions between Catholic and Protestant forms of worship.19 Nevertheless, the poem’s center of gravity resides in the figure of a weeping Mary Magdalene. Most early modern Protestant depictions of the Magdalene focus on her conversion from ‘a life of sensual delight to one of chaste and contrite faith’. The contrast between ‘subversive eroticism’ and ‘puritanical orthodoxy’, however, breaks down when we consider how Mary Magdalene’s ‘sacred eroticism’ suggests that female sexuality ‘inhabits a traditional construct of religious subjectivity, one that passes from the cloistral devotions of the Middle Ages into early modern representations of a privatized, autonomous inwardness’.20 Indeed, Marvell depicts the conflation of eroticism and piety through the manner in which the Magdalene’s ‘tears more wise/Dissolved those captivating eyes’, so as to ‘fetter her Redeemer’s feet’ with ‘liquid chains’ (ll. 29–32). These liquid chains might strike the reader as recalling a rosary,21 perhaps suggesting that Marvell is replacing a materialistic with an affective repentance. But it is Christ who is fettered by these chains, thus indicating that Marvell is not critiquing so much as reappropriating this ‘Catholic’ image so as to depict how the Magdalene’s tears, embodying her sins, materially script Christ into his role as humanity’s redeemer. Christ’s absolution of the Magdalene’s sins plays out in the episode at the house of Simon the Pharisee in Luke 7: 36–50, in which she bathes Jesus’s feet with her tears. Simon questions Jesus’s prophetic abilities, but Jesus responds that the sins of this woman have been forgiven, partly because of her faith and partly because of her demonstration of hospitality. The scriptural subtext of the Magdalene stanza thus evinces the poem’s interest in godly conduct within the household. There is value in publicizing private tears, just as scripture makes the Magdalene’s tears known to a Christian audience.22

As the poem adopts a more public voice in its concluding stanzas, the speaker brings himself to the brink of opening the ‘double sluice’ of his eyes, allowing them to ‘practise’ their ‘noblest use’ (ll. 45–46):

Now like two clouds dissolving, drop,
And at each tear in distance stop:
Now like two fountains trickle down:
Now like two floods o’erturn and drown. (ll. 49–52)

Unlike Magdalenian tears, flowing upward like ‘incense’ to ‘heaven dear’ (l. 41), the poet’s similes, which become increasingly terrestrial (‘two fountains trickl[ing] down’) and hyperbolic (‘two floods o’erturn[ing] and drown[ing]’), figure tears as flowing downward. The Magdalene helps the speaker of ‘Eyes and Tears’ understand and appreciate the pious potential of weeping, but in the poem’s final stanza, he ceases addressing his own eyes and speaks in the second person: ‘let your streams o’erflow your springs,’ he says (ll. 53–54, my emphasis). The deictics of the final line ambiguously ally weeping with both the speaker and his audience (‘these weeping eyes’) while placing the tears themselves at a remove (‘those seeing tears’ [l. 56, my emphasis]). In positing the ‘rigorous reflexivity’ of Marvell’s poem, Kuchar suggest that Marvell moves towards something inexpressible without quite reaching it.23 In keeping with its reflexivity, ‘Eyes and Tears’ ends on a Protestant compromise between pious weeping and poetic language as a substitute for pious weeping.24 It is significant that this compromise plays out at precisely the moment in which the speaker directly addresses an audience: the moment in which he shifts from a private to a public voice.

If the speaker struggles to weep, perhaps it is because, earlier in the poem, he reveals himself to be too much a creature of the world, prone to conceptualizing the relationship between affect and tears in economic, rather than religious, terms:

Two tears, which Sorrow long did weigh
Within the scales of either eye,
And then paid out in equal poise,
Are the true price of all my joys. (ll. 9–12)

The speaker sees himself purchasing joys from sorrow with his tears. Nigel Smith suggests that this mercantilist exchange is indeed pious, signifying ‘a penitent sense of redemption through sacrifice’.25 The following stanza, however, complicates this exchange as one and done, for tears return to the speaker:

What in the world most fair appears,
Yea, even laughter, turns to tears;
And all the jewels which we prize,
Melt in these pendants of the eyes. (ll. 13–16)

This stanza seems to chastise vain materialism; worldly objects are only ‘fair’ on the level of their appearance. But curiously, Marvell retains the same material conceit in describing the melting of the literal ‘jewels’ in the speaker’s field of vision within the figurative jewels—‘pendants’—of the speaker’s tears. These tears, worn by the speaker’s eyes as luxury items, exemplify the fluid threshold between worldly and spiritual value. As Joan Hartwig argues, they transform ‘a sense of plentitude in this world’ into ‘something of greater value, a joy that is unbounded by sorrow because the weeping eye has transformed joy and sorrow into the same feeling’. Kuchar sees the unification of joy and sorrow in these stanzas as translating the gendered representations of purification in the tradition of spiritual alchemy into experiential terms so as to advance a ‘mysteriously contained celebration of grief’.26 But because such purification occurs while retaining the poetic conceit of the jewel, it seems that Marvell is equally interested in turning tears into luxurious ornaments signifying humble materialism beyond effeminate hypocrisy. The shift in the poeticization of tears occurring across these two stanzas—from currency exchanged for joys to ornaments signifying joy-sorrow hybridity—utilizes the metaphoric field of economy to detail a subtle move towards greater spiritual understanding.

The image of tears-as-pendants evinces Marvell’s bourgeois Protestantism because it reconciles the pious potential of weeping with weeping’s unavoidable association with gaudy, ‘effeminate’ display. It achieves this reconciliation by embracing tears as outward displays while paradoxically juxtaposing them to the vain objects of sight; though tears are figured as potential objects of ocular vanity, they emerge from the dissipation of such vanity. Thus, Marvell makes weeping appealing to a fashionable audience by utilizing an image of fashion to depict the subject’s transcendence over worldly vanity without rejecting worldliness outright. In its image of tears-as-silver thread in a tapestry, ‘The First Anniversary’ echoes the aspect of luxurious display central to Marvell’s bourgeois Protestantism in ‘Eyes and Tears’, but it adds an emphasis on domestic productivity to suggest that private weeping can be publically beneficial. In this way, Marvell can speak to Cromwell as a well-known practitioner of weeping while also speaking to, and as, an audience of bourgeois Protestants, for whom religious devotion and economic productivity are mutually reinforcing endeavors.

Employing Tears in Protectorate England

Blair Worden explains how Cromwell aroused ‘conflicts of emotion’ throughout the Interregnum; both his enemies and devotees mistrusted him, for they believed that England’s fate ‘would be determined by his character and decisions’.27 In ‘An Horatian Ode upon Cromwell’s Return from Ireland’ (June–July 1650), Marvell registers such unease in depicting the ‘wiser art’ (l. 48) of Cromwell’s Machiavellian political cunning. At Hampton Court Palace, where Charles I negotiated with Parliament and the New Model Army after his defeat in the Second Civil War, Cromwell ‘twin[s] subtle fears with hope’, weaving ‘a net of such a scope/That Charles himself might chase/To Caresbrook’s narrow case’ (ll. 49–52). Smith points out that the contemporary suspicion voiced in this stanza—Cromwell arranged for Charles to flee to Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight so that the governor could betray him—is groundless.28 Nevertheless, this moment in the ‘Horatian Ode’ reflects Cromwell’s potential for emotional manipulation. The memoirs of Edmund Ludlow detail an episode in which Charles narrates an interaction with Cromwell, wherein the general ‘wept plentifully’ on account of remembering the King’s encounter with his children. Cromwell divulged ‘the Sincerity of his Heart towards the King’, but Charles saw such emotional expression emerging from the dependence Cromwell, Independents, and the army had on him as a means of acting against Parliament.29 A sympathetic reading of Cromwell’s tears would argue that they demonstrate his veneration of domestic affection. But it is striking that Charles, of all people, who would become the ‘tearful martyr-king’ of Royalists through the publication of Eikon Basilike, construes Cromwell’s tears as nothing more than political dissimulation.30 Perhaps Charles learned a thing or two from Cromwell about the political power of tears.

This would not be the only time Cromwell wept to political effect. His dissolution of the Rump Parliament (20 April 1653) tipped the scales of power towards Thomas Harrison’s faction within the army and his Fifth Monarchist movement, but the manner in which Cromwell enacted the dissolution caused Parliament to question his sincerity. Newsletters of that year note the rise of a ‘zealous party in the Army’ speedily pressing for ‘a new Representative’ body for England. Preaching members of the army, a newsletter of 15 April 1653 claims, ‘have drawne the General to them, who, as it’s beleeved, was never from them, but meerly for their ends’. Earlier, Cromwell visited the House of Commons ‘with weeping eyes’, promising that ‘he would as willingly hazard his life against any whatever that should professe themselves their enemys, as he had done against those that were publique enemys to the Commonwealth’.31 Indeed, Cromwell wept at the thought of violence towards Parliament and vowed future army-Parliament fidelity.32 But as the newsletter claims, most in Parliament knew that Cromwell ‘hath teares at will, and can dispence with any Oath or Protestation without troubling his conscience’. Five days later, Cromwell dissolved the Rump Parliament. This was not ‘the finishing stroke of an elaborately worked-out plan’, as C. H. Firth explains, but rather ‘a sudden change of plan, a desertion of the policy which he had previously been pursuing, and the adoption of a completely different policy’. Cromwell’s change of course likely owed much to the ‘rising excitement in the army during the early part of 1653’.33 But for Parliament, it was a surprising rebuke of his earlier professions of loyalty. The general’s tears were viewed not only as instruments of political deception, but as signs of his malleable conscience.34

The Cromwell of Marvell’s ‘First Anniversary’ does not weep, nor does he practice emotional manipulation, but he does navigate ‘the wat’ry maze’ (l. 1) of life that becomes the ‘new’ seas of the Commonwealth era (l. 157). Marvell, however, is not so naïve as to ignore Cromwell’s role in creating England’s tempests; the poem concludes by comparing him to the angel of Bethesda (John 5:4), paradoxically ‘[t]roubling the waters’ so that he can ‘yearly mak’st them heal’ (l. 402). The poem deploys a seafaring metaphor to explain Cromwell’s rationale for dissolving the Rump Parliament and encouraging the resignation of the Nominated Parliament; reading providence with his ‘more careful eye’, he takes the helm from ‘the artless steersman’ and ‘doubles back’ the ship of state ‘unto the safer main’ (ll. 273–76). But we might imagine moderate MPs reading Marvell’s praise of Cromwell’s ‘sober spirit’ (l. 230) as deeply ironic, especially if they witnessed his enthusiastic tears for the Rump right before dissolving it. If said MPs were harboring royalist sympathies, the conclusion of Marvell’s stanza may have registered as an unintentional reference to Cromwell’s manipulative tears before Charles: ‘down at last thou poured’st the fertile storm;/Which to the thirsty land did plenty bring,/But though forewarned, o’ertook and wet the king’ (ll. 236–38). Cromwell, however, habitually weeping in his speech to the Nominated Parliament (4 July 1653), explains how allowing the Rump to stay in session, given their inability to produce a constitution, would have been tantamount to ‘throw[ing] away the liberties of the nation into the hands of those who had never fought for it’.35 Indeed, Marvell takes seriously Cromwell’s role in planting the vine of ‘sober liberty’ in post-Civil War England by comparing him to Noah (ll. 289, 283). Having successfully navigated the ark of state through ‘the wars’ flood’ (l. 284), Cromwell has become the country’s post-diluvian ‘husbandman’, and ‘the large vale lay subject to [his] will’ (ll. 286–87). If he wished to water the vine of liberty with his tears, such was his prerogative.

Even in ‘A Poem Upon the Death’, which claims that the Lord Protector was ultimately killed by grief over the passing of his daughter Elizabeth (6 Aug 1658, one month before his own passing), Marvell would only indirectly depict a weeping Cromwell. Marvell compares the deceased Elizabeth to ‘some dear branch … pruned by an untimely knife’ from her ‘parent-tree’, which ‘through the wound its vital humour bleeds’ (ll. 93–96). ‘Trickling in wat’ry drops’, this sap’s ‘flowing shape/Weeps that it falls ere fixed into a grape’ (ll. 97–98). As a depiction of weeping, Marvell’s image of Cromwell dropping sap as a function of branch pruning speaks to the enormous grief of a father outliving his child. Still, Marvell avoids directly presenting a weeping Cromwell, even though the premature death of his daughter would surely be an appropriate occasion. Nevertheless, Marvell’s image of Cromwell trickling sap illustrates Hirst and Zwicker’s claim that the elegy harmonizes ‘domestic affection’ and ‘the hidden sympathies of suffering’ in presenting the Cromwells as an ‘affective family’.36 Perhaps Marvell is simply ignoring the well-known portrait of Cromwell dispensing tears at will, but it is also possible that the elegy affords him a means of redefining his political value as the value of publicizing domestic affection.

In ‘The First Anniversary’, it is the poet and the Protectorate faithful that weep, and Marvell’s comparison of weeping to embroidery confers upon the former a sense of domestic productivity:

Like skilful looms which through the costly thread
Of purling ore, a shining wave do shed:
So shall the tears we on past grief employ,
Still as they trickle, glitter in our joy. (ll. 183–86)

Just as ‘skilful looms’ stitch a silver thread through an otherwise golden tapestry, the faithful ‘employ’ tears in the otherwise joyful milieu of Protectorate England’s first year in response to Cromwell’s coaching accident. The embroidery terms Marvell employs recall the image of Cromwell weaving Charles’s net in the ‘Horatian Ode’, thus intimating Cromwellian dissimulation. But these terms also appeal to an audience of domestic workers, both male professionals and female amateurs, simultaneously concerned with the political value of Cromwell’s accident and the economic value of their tapestry. While the threads of ‘purling ore’ (the manifold glories of the Protectorate’s first year) are much more ‘costly’ than the tapestry’s ‘shining wave’ (weeping over Cromwell’s accident), this wave does not devalue it as a whole; they make the tapestry shine, much as the weeping faithful ‘glitter in [their] joy’, given Cromwell’s survival of the accident. Unlike Cromwell, accused of effeminacy in actively deploying tears, the weeping of the Protectorate faithful can only be considered effeminate insofar as femininity is associated with diligent weaving that edifies the English Protectorate through the production of a celebratory tapestry earnestly grappling with the vulnerability of its Lord Protector. The bourgeois Protestants weeping over Cromwell’s accident are rendering such weeping productive, as they would by embroidering less costly silver threads into a golden tapestry.

To better understand the bourgeois Protestantism of ‘The First Anniversary’’s joyful weeping, it will be instructive to compare it to similar tears in James Harrington’sThe Commonwealth of Oceana (1656), which shares with Marvell a political interest in unifying moderates. In Oceana, Harrington combines a republican critique of Cromwell’s dissolution of the Rump with an attempt to counsel the Lord Protector into achieving settlement through a ‘balance of dominion’ predicated on the protection of property.37 One way Harrington appeals to Cromwell is by indirectly praising his rejection of the crown, through Lord Archon’s divestment of power after finding ‘the rapture of motion’ (rotating elections) in Oceana and the ensuing rapture of ‘joy and harmony, into which his spheres … were cast’. Because this rapturous harmony occurred ‘naturally’, Lord Archon sees no need to force the Senate or people to take an oath of allegiance. But as a Christian, he wants to destroy ‘all unreasonable desires’ in the commonwealth, so he enters the senate to abdicate his magistracy. The ‘astonished’ senate stood silent until Lord Archon exited, leaving them ‘with the tears in their eyes’.38 The senate then decides to place the virtues and merits of the office of Archon in its ‘true meridian’—Olphaus Megaletor, Oceana’s Cromwell figure. Argus, a skilled orator expressing the ‘true-heartedness’ and ‘goodwill’ of the people, argues that Lord Archon could have done the people of Oceana great mischief but decided not to. Reflecting on Lord Archon’s noble deeds, Argus cannot control his affective response: ‘I dare say there was never a one of them could forbear to do as I do—and, it please your fatherhoods, they be tears of joy’.39 To be clear, Lord Archon is not a Cromwell stand-in; the office of ‘Archon’, as created by Lord Archon’s abdication of magistracy, stands in for the office of Lord Protector. In this scenario, Cromwell imperfectly holds the office of Archon; he did not receive the office of Lord Protector from some higher source. Still, the division of power is so great a moment for the senate that Argus, a man accustomed to rhetoric’s potential for emotional deception, cannot help but weep for joy. Because Argus and Oceana’s senate weep as a natural expression of gratitude for the separation of power, we can thus view these tears as illustrative of Harrington’s material philosophy of political interest.40 Oceana’s aristocratic few and well-affected many involuntarily weep for joy, we might speculate, because the installation of a new head of state secures their property and riches: the foundation of true liberty.

The poetic tapestry of ‘The First Anniversary’ also praises Cromwell’s humility in declining the English crown. But unlike the senate of Oceana, who weep joyful tears as a result of Lord Archon’s divestment of power, the poet and Protectorate faithful actively employ grievous tears in order to enhance the joy of Protectorate England. The sectarians could be found ‘[r]ejoicing when [Cromwell’s] foot had slipped aside’ because they erroneously expected their ‘new king’ (Christ, but also Harrison) might ‘the fifth scepter shake,/And make the world, by his example, quake’ (ll. 296–98).41 The poet and company, however, render the coaching accident productive:

So with more modesty we may be true,
And speak as of the dead the praises due:
While impious men deceived with pleasure short,
On their own hopes shall find the fall retort. (ll. 187–90)

Unlike ‘impious’ sectarians, the Protectorate faithful are modest in their (radical) promise to speak of the Lord Protector as if he were to have died in the accident. Such poetic speech concludes when ‘the great captain … returning yet alive/Does with himself all that is good revive’ (ll. 321–24). In the intervening 100-plus lines, Marvell weaves a tapestry of Cromwellian and biblical events in quite a different manner than the sectarians, who deface ‘the scriptures and the laws … With the same liberty as points and lace” (ll. 315–16). ‘The First Anniversary’’s imagined elegy for Cromwell is certainly a prophecy of what could have happened, had Cromwell passed. But as Ryan Netzley argues, it is also an ‘alternative past’ urging readers to be wary of the transcendent, imminent apocalypticism advanced by sectarians.42 The elegy crescendos into a comparison of the fallen Protector ascending to heaven like Elijah, a figure anti-Cromwellians like Fifth Monarchist Christopher Feake deployed to criticize the pseudo-monarch. But whereas Feake associates himself with the prophet,43 Marvell turns Cromwell into Elijah, whisked up into the Miltonic ‘kingdom blest of peace and love’ (l. 218). The Protectorate faithful become his disciple Elisha,44 left on earth with a legacy they are not yet ready to handle: ‘We only mourned ourselves, in thine ascent,/Whom thou hadst left beneath with mantle rent’ (ll. 219–20). In this way, they take a cue from Cromwell himself, who gave up his ‘privacy so dear’ to become ‘the headstrong people’s charioteer’ while modestly refusing the crown (ll. 223–28). As Laura Knoppers argues, this episode ‘foregrounds and problematizes the process itself of constructing a Cromwellian image’, though it insists that the right interpretation is ‘Cromwell is not a king’. But it also represents, as Norbrook suggests, ‘the kind of poetry that it would have been necessary to produce had Cromwell perished in his coaching accident’.45 It is thus crucial that the heart of ‘The First Anniversary’ is the opaque vision of a company of weepers weaving a unique scriptural tapestry imagining Cromwell’s death, searching for alternative pasts so as to prepare for an uncertain future. The bourgeois productivity of weaving and the private piety of weeping have become intertwined metaphors for the poem’s submerged pastiche of scripture.

Marvell stitches the poem’s second depiction of weeping to its first through images of sectarians rejoicing over Cromwell’s accident, thus suggesting that he is linking the domestic productivity of the first image to the solitary fortitude of the second. Against the hypocritical Adamism of the sectarians (ll. 319–20), Marvell tells the story of the ‘first man’ during the first ‘morning new’, pleased with the sun’s ‘shining race’ until sorrowing when it ‘plunged below the streams’ (ll. 326–30). Such a scene recalls the final two stanzas of ‘The Garden’ (1653–55),46 in which the speaker compares his quiet innocence to ‘that happy garden-state,/While man there walked without a mate’ (ll. 57–58). Tellingly, Marvell champions this state of masculine isolation (‘After a place so pure, and sweet,/What other help could yet be meet?’ [ll. 59–60]) while admitting that such a state of solitary wandering ‘’twas beyond a mortal’s share’ (ll. 61–62). In ‘The First Anniversary’, however, the first man is despondent his first night in paradise; his ‘weeping eyes’ keep ‘doleful vigils’ for the fallen sun, recalling the Protectorate faithful weeping in response to Cromwell’s accident. Indeed, he is environed by the ‘screeching noise’ of owls and ravens that, like the ranting sectarians, ‘[d]id make the fun’rals sadder by their joys’ (ll. 333–34). Finally, ‘with such accents, as despairing’, the first man mourns in words: ‘“Why did mine eyes once see so bright a ray;/Or why day last no longer than a day?”’ (ll. 338–40). Without knowledge of the cycle of days, the first man feels the intensity of existential despair. But Marvell’s tautological repetition of day pokes fun at the sectarians; waiting for ‘the day’ of Christ’s return, they will experience nothing but the ordinary cycle of days. Weeping, often considered by Protestant hardliners to be the effeminate antithesis to masculine fortitude,47 serves in ‘The First Anniversary’ as solitary man’s first instinctual response to the foreboding threat of nightfall. By linking this individual bout of masculine weeping to the feminized weeping of the Protectorate faithful through the metaphorically dense image of weaving, Marvell suggests that the faithful are ethically revived through weeping because it produces fortitude.

The figurative tears of mourning in ‘The First Anniversary’, as Joad Raymond argues, are ‘a dress rehearsal for the actual event’ in ‘A Poem Upon the Death’. Indeed, both poems attempt to champion the Protectorate faithful above the sectarians. As Edward Holberton argues, the elegy distinguishes the ‘sober affections’ of Cromwell and his loyalists from the ‘cruder passions’ of the people.48 This dynamic plays out in the stanza claiming that the Lord Protector’s death date—3 September, the same day as his decisive military victories at Dunbar (1650) and Worcester (1651)—immortalizes him. Recalling ‘The First Anniversary’s’ attempt to distinguish the pious weeping of the faithful from the shameful rejoicing of sectarians upon Cromwell’s accident, the elegy differentiates those mourning Cromwell’s death from those celebrating it:

That so who ere would at his death have joyed,
In their own griefs might find themselves employed;
But those that sadly his departure grieved,
Yet joyed rememb’ring what he once achieved. (ll. 149–52)

Unlike the weeping faithful in the poem, who employ grief-like tears to prudently forecast the uncertainties of a Cromwell-less Protectorate, the sectarians of the elegy can only employ themselves with their own grief because Cromwell’s death date reminds them, for all eternity, of his momentous achievements. Upon his death, the Protectorate faithful are left with the task of remembering Cromwell’s place in English history. Part of Cromwell’s spiritual attraction, Holberton explains, was his private simplicity. Marvell’s poem, in fact, resembles a later pamphlet that claimed to be the ‘expositor’ of a private Cromwell who had special insight into the ‘“Mysteries of Godliness”’ and the ‘“great secret of Gods election”’.49 Thus, the Protectorate faithful confidently assert the piety of their tears (‘Where heaven leads, ’tis piety to weep’ [l. 166]), but these tears are anything but private, restrained, and apolitical:

Stand back ye seas, and shrunk beneath the veil
Of your abyss, with covered head bewail
Your monarch: we demand not your supplies
To compass in our isle; our tears suffice. (ll. 167–70)

Marvell’s image of Cromwell’s mourners encircling England with their tears cuts in both isolationist and expansionist directions. On the one hand, the verb’s preposition—‘[t]o compass in our isle’—suggests that the mourners are protecting a newly-vulnerable England with their tears, whereas the surrounding seas endanger the island through the specter of naval invasion. But as the stanza develops, Marvell celebrates Cromwell’s international and transatlantic achievements; he has ‘joined us to the continent’ by ‘plant[ing] England on the Flandric shore’, and he has ‘stretched our frontier to the Indian ore’ (ll. 172–74). The first example, alluding to Anglo-French forces capturing Dunkirk from the Spanish (1658), possibly speaks to a bourgeois Protestant audience in celebrating an expansion of English land through defeat of a powerful Catholic nemesis. The second example also speaks to such an audience, likely interested in the gold to be procured from Jamaica, taken by England in 1655.50 Keeping chaos at bay while forging connections to the outside world, the tears of Cromwell’s mourners, shed by a vigilant bourgeois citizenry, ultimately serve as England’s best fortification as it transitions from Lord Oliver to Lord Richard Cromwell, from ‘storms’ and ‘deluge[s]’ to ‘a shower’ and ‘[r]ainbows’ (ll. 322–24).51

Throughout the Cromwell encomia, Marvell reimagines tears as employment. ‘The First Anniversary’’s simile comparing weeping to weaving reworks the femininity of weeping into a positive association with domestic productivity not only to speak as and to an audience of bourgeois Protestants, but moreover, to conflate weeping and scripturalism as demonstrations of private piety that can be publicized to beneficial ends. In connecting this simile to the poem’s depiction of individual masculine weeping, Marvell suggests that weeping can be masculine because it produces fortitude. Indeed, tears become England’s material fortification in ‘A Poem Upon the Death’, protecting the newly vulnerable country without isolating it from the outside world. Despite being ‘lost in tears’ as they ‘[w]ander like ghosts about [Cromwell’s] loved tomb’ (ll. 300–1), Marvell and the faithful are prepared for the uncertainties of Protectorate England’s future. Even though Richard Cromwell continues to tread the ‘rugged track’ (ll. 305–6) of his father, they place more faith in their own tears to ‘guide us upward through this region blind’: ‘Since thou art gone, who best that way couldst teach,/Only our sighs, perhaps, may thither reach’ (ll. 302–4).

Glitter In Our Joy: Marvellian Weeping as Affective Politics

As I have argued throughout this essay, Marvell’s transformation of the femininity of weeping into an indicator of private piety and domestic productivity responds to weeping’s strong association with Cromwell throughout revolutionary England. In concluding, I would like to follow Matthew Augustine’s lead in moving ‘beyond politics’ and exploring how a ‘critical sensibility’ regarding the ‘events’ staged by Marvell’s poetry can help scholars avoid reducing the politics of Marvell’s verse to its immediate and textually demonstrable contexts, in the interest of constructing a broader concept of the political.52 To this end, one might notice that the two poetic ‘events’ primarily dealt with in this essay—tears-as-jewels melting into pendants (‘Eyes and Tears’) and tears-as-silver threaded into a golden tapestry (‘The First Anniversary’)—both meditate on the relationship between sorrow, weeping, and joy through images of luxurious display. Perhaps, then, Marvellian weeping indicates an affective concept of the political, one in which the externalization of internal emotion attempts to forge community.

To consider weeping an expression of joy in Marvell’s poetics is to invoke a much more distant historical context: the early Christian tradition of gratia lacrimarum (‘grace’ or ‘gift of tears’). Eugenie Brinkema points out the influence of Augustine’s distinction between public and private weeping on gratia lacrimarum, but her categorization of pre-Enlightenment weeping as ‘antisocial’ skips over the vexed contours of privacy and publicity in early modern Protestant devotion.53 Marvell’s iteration of gratia lacrimarum, particularly with the pendants of ‘Eyes and Tears’, taps into the etymological origin of the English word ‘joy’ as it derives from the Latin ‘gaudere’, which provides the origin of the English ‘gaudy’, a word usually describing ornate jewelry. For Brinkema, the link between ‘gaudy’ and ‘gaudies’—the beads on a rosary—indexes a conception of affect in which ‘joy’s merriment hovers in the pleasure or gladness in the glittering surface of things’.54 As ornaments emanating and reflecting light, Marvell’s pendants are a complex overlay of exteriority and interiority: they are adorned on the outside of the body, and their own interiority is opaquely visible yet ultimately opaque. To say that joy hovers on the glittering surface of tears is not to say that weeping transforms sorrow into joy, but that weeping produces a tearful surface wherein joy can be discovered.55 In this way, Marvell’s poetic deployment of gratia lacrimarum does not use the image of the pendant to illustrate how tears publicize a profound interior piety; the pendant contains the private-public dichotomy, thus suggesting that tears produce joy by publicizing interplays between privacy and publicity while ultimately leaving private the interior piety of the adorner.

Brinkema’s treatment of tears not as an expression of interiority but as ‘a self-folding exteriority that manifests in, as, and with textual form’56 dovetails with Marvell’s interest in the relationship between weeping and poetry, especially as it plays out in ‘The First Anniversary’’s iteration of gratia lacrimarum, in which tears glitter like the submerged thread of silver in a golden tapestry. Tears certainly manifest in the poem: as a response to Cromwell’s accident affording the poet an opportunity to imagine an alternative past allowing him to refashion the prevailing scripturalism of the present. In this sense, Marvell is attempting to convince readers that there is a real contingent of Protectorate faithful weeping with the skillful looms in the poem itself. But by claiming that he ‘employ[s]’ grievous tears to ‘interweave’ the ‘one sorrow’ of Protectorate England’s first year amidst his ‘yearly song’, Marvell is also suggesting that tears manifest as the poem itself; as they ‘glitter in [their] joy’, the weeping faithful shine like the thread of Cromwell’s accident within the poem itself. Thus, ‘The First Anniversary’ renders nearly synonymous the weeping of the faithful and their poeticization of Cromwell’s vulnerability as self-folding exteriors: as inherently public phenomena containing private folds.57

The affective politics of Marvellian weeping, then, consists in publicizing private piety without forfeiting the sanctity of private life altogether. Marvell values the privacy of weeping in Protestant thought and worship, but he reconciles this valuation with his equally strong insistence that weeping is the ‘noblest use’ of human eyes (‘Eyes and Tears’, l. 46). The employment of tears seems to contradict the entire premise of gratia lacrimarum, in which tears are gifts conferred by God and the Holy Spirit. Indeed, Marvell employs gratia lacrimarum as poetic gifts to his readers, gifts that validate tears as human adornments and creations while confronting inevitable accusations of dissimulation. In an article on early modern crocodile tears, Joseph Campana explores the tension between affect and ethics created by the question of animal weeping: ‘The rush to distribute affect, emotion, cognition, and speech to nonhuman creatures seems to imply a countervailing desire to strip capabilities from the human, as if to turn away from reason and sentience is to turn towards happiness’.58 Marvell would certainly agree; weeping is the noblest use of the eyes because ‘only human eyes can weep’ (‘Eyes and Tears’, l. 48). But weeping does constitute a turn towards happiness, joy, and peace when early modern affect and ethics are situated in religious contexts. For Marvell, the joy of weeping resides in publicizing privacy to the appropriate degree. Like skillful looms in the privacy of their homes weaving a tapestry meant for public display, Protestants can publicize their private weeping in a manner that enriches—even beautifies—the public.

Notes

1All dates for and citations of Marvell’s verse, unless otherwise noted, derive from Andrew Marvell, The Poems of Andrew Marvell: Revised Edition, ed. Nigel Smith (Longman Annotated English Poets. Oxon: Routledge, 2013). 

2Derek Hirst and Steven Zwicker, Andrew Marvell, Orphan of the Hurricane (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 3; David Loewenstein, Representing Revolution in Milton and his Contemporaries: Religion, Politics, and Polemics in Radical Puritanism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 144. 

3On Cromwell and weeping, see Bernard Capp, ‘“Jesus Wept” But Did the Englishman? Masculinity and Emotion in Early Modern England’, Past and Present 224 (2014): 83–87, 97–102. 

4Marvell’s weeping-weaving simile thus plays off two seventeenth-century developments: the feminization of productive inside work and masculine adoptions of traditionally feminine forms of expression as signs of strength. See Michael McKeon, The Secret History of Domesticity (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005), 170–77; Jennifer C. Vaught, Masculinity and Emotion in Early Modern English Literature (London: Routledge, 2008), 1–23. 

5In emphasizing Cromwell and audiences beyond Cromwell as potential readers of ‘The First Anniversary’, I build off work highlighting its unique status as a printed patronage poem. For Nicholas von Maltzahn, the poem is almost surely a conscious attempt at currying Cromwellian patronage; when the government printer Thomas Newcomb registered the poem, he recognized Marvell’s authorship even though Marvell left it anonymous. See Nicholas von Maltzahn, ‘Marvell and Patronage’, The Oxford Handbook of Andrew Marvell, ed. Martin Dzelzainis and Edward Holberton (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019), 52. But unlike all the other poems involved in Marvell’s bid for government patronage, which circulated in manuscript, ‘The First Anniversary’ appeared in print, perhaps suggesting a wider audience. See Paul Davis, ‘Marvell and Manuscript Culture’, The Oxford Handbook of Andrew Marvell, 214. Matthew Augustine describes the poem as both deeply entrenched in Protectorate interests and the most public of Marvell’s verse. Matthew C. Augustine, ‘Marvell and Print Culture’, The Oxford Handbook of Andrew Marvell, 231. For Joad Raymond, ‘The First Anniversary’ and the other Cromwell poems ‘do not speak in a direct way of commitment or loyalty, or at least of the poet’s commitments’; he describes them as ‘exquisite demonstrations of technique’ and a ‘heuristic exercise’. At the very least, ‘The First Anniversary’ is conscious of courting other audiences as it primarily courts Cromwell; the poem’s depiction of weeping strikes such a balance. See Joad Raymond, ‘A Cromwellian Centre?’, The Cambridge Companion to Andrew Marvell, ed. Derek Hirst and Steven N. Zwicker (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 140. 

6Marvell’s disposition towards moderate Protestantism derives, in part, from his father, Andrew Marvell Sr. (1585–1641). A minister at Hull’s Holy Trinity Church in the 1630s, Marvell Sr. found himself trapped between Laudian autocracy and Baptist nonconformity. Despite these pressures, he maintained openness and toleration towards radicals. His drowning (23 Jan. 1641) robbed Andrew of a clear path towards an academic or clerical career, but Marvell Sr. did leave his son with a deep interest in theology and ecclesiology, along with a healthy skepticism of the clergy. For a discussion of Andrew Marvell Sr.’s influence on Andrew, see Nigel Smith, Andrew Marvell: The Chameleon (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010), 14–41. 

7David Norbrook, Writing the English Republic: Poetry, Rhetoric and Politics, 1627–1660 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 348. Concerning Marvell’s religious politics throughout the revolutionary decades, it is important to note that his anticlericalism, which would flower after the Restoration, somewhat conflicts with his desire to see a national church settlement in Protectorate England. Reading the royalist elegies, Nicholas McDowell sees Marvell attempting to forge a royalist-Independent alliance, stemming from his distaste for the beleaguered Charles’s negotiations with the Presbyterians and Scots. Proponents of a royalist-Independent alliance needed to distinguish anticlericalism from sectarianism. See Nicholas McDowell, Poetry and Allegiance in the English Civil Wars: Marvell and the Cause of Wit (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 155–66. In the Protectorate era, as Philip Connell explains through a reading of ‘The First Anniversary’, Marvell sees the need to reconcile the true church’s mystical identity and public worship through the establishment of a national church as central to the question of Cromwellian religious settlement. See Philip Connell, Secular Chains: Poetry and the Politics of Religion from Milton to Pope (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), 34–37. My reading of weeping in the Cromwell encomia attempts to understand a form of public worship beyond the church in Marvell’s thought that, emerging as it does from private religious devotion, is distinct from the antinomian enthusiasm of sectarians. 

8On the gendered distinction between professional and amateur embroiderers, see Sarah Randles, ‘“The Pattern of All Patience”: Gender, Agency, and Emotions in Embroidery and Pattern Books in Early Modern England’, Authority, Gender and Emotions in Late Medieval and Early Modern England, ed. Susan Broomhall, Genders and Sexualities in History (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 163. On women embroiderers of the middling classes, see Susan Frye, Pens and Needles: Women’s Textualities in Early Modern England (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010), xv–xvii. 

9On the intersectional nature of the early modern bourgeois class, see R.H. Tawney, Religion and the Rise of Capitalism: A Historical Study (London: Verso, 1926), 242–51. Helpful in understanding the ‘bourgeois’ character of the weeping-weaving simile of ‘The First Anniversary’ is Phil Withington’s discussion of early modern citizenship as it pertains to Marvell. As Withington explains, the term ‘citizen’ referred to ‘the householders who were formally enfranchised to urban corporations (in return for the economic and political privileges located there) and the men—such as Marvell—whom they employed to solicit their “business”’. In this schema, Marvell maps private weeping onto both householders engaged in economic production and himself as one of their employees. Gendering such production and employment feminine not only reworks femininity into a positive association; it includes women as household producers (and, perhaps, household employees). See Phil Withington, ‘Andrew Marvell’s Citizenship’, The Cambridge Companion to Andrew Marvell, 105. 

10On public worship in Protectorate England, see Blair Worden, Literature and Politics in Cromwellian England: John Milton, Andrew Marvell, Marchamont Nedham (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 150–51. As Ann Hughes argues, private and public realms are deeply intertwined in Marvell’s Cromwell encomia. See Ann Hughes, ‘Marvell and the Interregnum’, The Oxford Handbook of Andrew Marvell, 71–77. 

11For Michael Walzer, conscience and work supplied the basis for ‘the new politics of revolution’, but it also provided ‘an internal rationale for the diligent efficiency of the modern official and the pious political concern of the modern bourgeois’. Thus, one strand of Puritan sainthood in early modernity involves the coexistence of holiness and productive interest. See Michael Walzer, The Revolution of the Saints: A Study in the Origins of Radical Politics (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1965), 2, 316. 

12Gary Kuchar, The Poetry of Religious Sorrow in Early Modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 99–101; Brendan Prawdzik, ‘“Till Eyes and Tears Be the Same Things”: Marvell’s Spirituality and the Senses of History’, Explorations in Renaissance Culture 41 (2015): 220–21. 

13Abraham Cowley, A Vision, Concerning His Late Pretended Highnesse, Cromwell, the Wicked (London: Henry Herringman, 1661), 52–53. Cited from Thomas Dixon, Weeping Britannia: Portrait of a Nation in Tears (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), 66. 

14The discussion of Protestant weeping in this paragraph is deeply indebted to Alec Ryrie, Being Protestant in Reformation Britain (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 187–95. 

15On weeping in medieval Catholic sermons, see Susan C. Karant-Nunn, The Reformation of Feeling: Shaping the Religious Emotions in Early Modern Germany (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 23–24. On public and private weeping in Reformation Europe, see William A. Christian, Jr., ‘Provoked Religious Weeping in Early Modern Spain’, Religion and Emotion: Approaches And Interpretation, ed. John Corrigan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 35–38, 46. 

16See Ryrie, 191–92. 

17On Protestant reworkings of the poetry of tears tradition, see Alison Shell, Catholicism, Controversy and the English Literary Imagination, 1558–1660 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 77–88. 

18Gary Kuchar, ‘Spiritual Alchemy in Andrew Marvell’s Eyes and Tears’, Notes and Queries 65, no. 2 (2018): 204. 

19Smith, The Chameleon, 68–69. 

20Debora Kuller Shuger, The Renaissance Bible: Scholarship, Sacrifice, and Subjectivity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), 167–68, 191. 

21See Smith’s annotation in Marvell, Poems, 52n31. 

22On Mary Magdalene’s hospitality, see Michael D. Coogan, ed., The New Oxford Annotated Bible: Third Edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), NT 110, n.7.36–50. Renaissance sermons often discuss Luke 7:36–50 to praise Mary Magdalene’s limitless tears. See Marjory E. Lange, Telling Tears in the English Renaissance (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1996), 152–55. 

23Kuchar, Religious Sorrow, 120. 

24Protestants often navigated the gendered problem of weeping (penitent tears were often construed as shamefully womanish, but an inability to weep indicated hardness of heart) by ‘turn[ing] weeping into a metaphor’, especially through poetry. See Ryrie, 192. 

25See Smith’s annotation in Marvell, Poems, 52n9–12. 

26Joan Hartwig, ‘Tears as a Way of Seeing’, On the Celebrated and Neglected Poems of Andrew Marvell, ed. Claude J. Summers and Ted-Larry Pebworth (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1992), 77; Kuchar, ‘Spiritual Alchemy’, 204. 

27Worden, Literature and Politics, 11–12. 

28See Smith’s annotation in Marvell, Poems, 275n47–52. 

29Edmund Ludlow, Memoirs of Edmund Ludlow Esq.; Lieutenant General of the Horse, Commander in Chief of the forces in Ireland, one of the Council of State, and a Member of the Parliament which began on November 3, 1640. In two volumes. Vol. I (Switzerland: Vivay, 1698), 199. 

30Dixon, Weeping Britannia, 62–65. 

31The quotations in this paragraph derive from C. H. Firth, ‘Cromwell and the Expulsion of the Long Parliament in 1653’, The English Historical Review 8, no. 31 (1893): 529. They are from newsletters contained amongst the Clarendon Papers. The newsletters, dated from 18 March to 6 May 1653, ‘describe Cromwell, up to the very eve of his expulsion of the parliament, as restraining the army and resisting their demands for the dissolution of the parliament’ (526). 

32Blair Worden, The Rump Parliament 1648–1653 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1974), 357. 

33Firth, ‘Expulsion’, 526–27. 

34According to Giuseppina Iacono Lobo, Cromwell’s emphasis on godly nationhood reconciles the radicalism and conservatism evident in his deployment of the language of conscience. I see Marvell as similar in his emphasis on godly nationhood in Protectorate England, especially as weeping increasingly indexes English fortitude in the Cromwell encomia. See Giuseppina Iacono Lobo, Writing Conscience and the Nation in Revolutionary England (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2017), 51–76. 

35Wilbur Cortez Abbott, The Writings and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell, Volume III: The Protectorate, 1653–1655 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1945), 51, 60. 

36Hirst and Zwicker, 63–64. 

37Jonathan Scott, ‘James Harrington’s Prescription for Healing and Settling’, The Experience of Revolution in Stuart Britain and Ireland: Essays for John Morrill, ed. Michael J. Braddick and David L. Smith (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 191–94. 

38James Harrington, The Commonwealth of Oceana, in The Political Works of James Harrington, ed. J.G.A. Pocock (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977), 342. 

39Ibid., 345–46. 

40For Harrington’s materialist philosophy, see Scott, ‘Healing and Settling’, 207–8. 

41For the ‘new king’ as Harrison, see Smith’s annotation in Marvell, Poems, 295n297. 

42Ryan Netzley, Lyric Apocalypse: Milton, Marvell, and the Nature of Events (New York: Fordham University Press, 2015), 63–64. 

43Christopher Feake, The Oppressed Close Prisoner in Windsor-Castle, HIS DEFIANCE TO The Father of Lyes, In the Strength of the God of Truth (London: The Crown, 1655), 3, 82–83. 

44It is worth noting that Elisha weeps in 2 Kings 8: 11–13, upon foreseeing how Hazael, as future king of Syria, would brutalize the men, women, and children of Israel. 

45Laura Lunger Knoppers, Constructing Cromwell: Ceremony, Portrait, and Print 1645–1661 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 98; Norbrook, 347. 

46‘The Garden’ was once considered a product either of Marvell’s time at Nun Appleton (1650–52) or of the Restoration (c. 1668), but Victoria Moul has recently suggested that the poem, along with its Latin companion piece ‘Hortus’, was likely penned around 1653–55, when Marvell was tutor to John Dutton at Eton. Moul suggests a 1653–55 dating of ‘The Garden’ by dating ‘Hortus’. See Victoria Moul, ‘The Date of Marvell’s “Hortus”’, The Seventeenth Century 34, no. 3) (2018): 329–351. DOI: 10.1080/0268117X.2018.1482228 

47See Dixon’s discussion of Stephen Gosson’s Playes Confuted in Five Actions (1582) in Dixon, Weeping Britannia, 56–57. 

48Raymond, ‘A Cromwellian Centre?’, 149; Edward Holberton, Poetry and the Cromwellian Protectorate: Culture, Politics, and Institutions (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 179. 

49Holberton, 180–81. Holberton here refers to A Collection of Several Passages Concerning His Late Highnesse Oliver Cromwell, in the Time of His Sickness … (London: Robert Ibbitson, 1659), 4–5, a pamphlet by either Charles Harvey or Henry Walker. 

50See Smith’s annotation in Marvell, Poems, 308n172–4. 

51The image of tears-as-sea gains more political weight if we agree with Annabel Patterson’s claim that, for Marvell, during both the Cromwellian and Restoration eras, ‘control of the sea’ stands in for ‘control of the world’. See Annabel Patterson, ‘Andrew Marvell and the Revolution’, The Cambridge Companion to Writing of the English Revolution, ed. N. H. Keeble (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 120. 

52The critical imperative in Marvell studies to move ‘beyond politics’, as Augustine points out, originates with Worden’s reading of the ‘Horatian Ode’ as ‘an imaginative landscape beyond politics, outside the movement of history’. See Matthew C. Augustine, ‘Beyond Politics? Marvell and the Fortunes of Context’, Literature Compass 11, no. 4 (2014): 242; Blair Worden, ‘The Politics of Marvell’s Horatian Ode’, The Historical Journal 27, no. 3 (1984): 525. In his review of Worden’s Literature and Politics in Cromwellian England (2007), Colin Burrow praises the book’s attention to the ephemeral discursive contexts shaping Milton, Marvell, and Nedham’s engagements with individual and religious liberty, but he also wonders whether the commitment to recovering these ephemeral contexts might reduce the verse of Marvell and his contemporaries to ephemera. In desiring that Cromwell-era literary studies move beyond politics, Burrow suggests that questions of ethics and religious toleration provide promising vistas of inquiry. See Colin Burrow, ‘New Model Criticism’, Review of Literature and Politics in Cromwellian England by Blair Worden, London Review of Books 30, no. 12 (2008): 24–25. 

53Eugenie Brinkema, The Forms of the Affects (Durham: Duke University Press, 2014), 5–9. 

54Brinkema, 243. 

55In his discussion of ‘The First Anniversary’’s architectural depictions of the Protectorate government, Michael Schoenfeldt argues that Marvell’s visual sensibility pays particular attention to surfaces and ‘the evanescence of beauty’ in constructing poetic images of concordia discors. The glittering surfaces of tears, I would add, similarly provide Marvell poetic material from which to balance religious, political, and gender tensions. See Michael Schoenfeldt, ‘Marvell and the Designs of Art’, The Cambridge Companion to Andrew Marvell, 96–97. 

56Brinkema, 25. 

57My analysis of Marvellian weeping thus supports James Kuzner’s theoretical argument that Marvell’s poetry complicates the binary between the republican, bounded selfhood of modernity and the royalist, vulnerable selfhood of early modernity. In focusing on weeping, which Marvell conflates with poetic utterance, I suggest that paralinguistic affective expressions exist as, alongside, and in tension with what Kuzner calls ‘transubstantial words’, utterances attempting to produce material effects on bodies. At least in the Protectorate era, Marvellian tears dovetail with poetic utterance in a manner that accommodates royalism and republicanism but that also gestures beyond, to a vulnerable but productive populace simultaneously interested in edifying the public and protecting privacy. See James Kuzner, Open Subjects: English Renaissance Republicans, Modern Selfhoods and the Virtue of Vulnerability (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2011), 125–27. 

58Joseph Campana, ‘Crocodile Tears: Affective Fallacies Old and New’, Affect Theory and Early Modern Texts, ed. Amanda Bailey and Mario DiGangi (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), 147. 

Acknowledgements

Many thanks are in order for Feisal Mohamed, for reading and commenting on numerous drafts of this essay. Thanks also to Edward Holberton, for help in preparing the piece for publication. Finally, I would like to thank the staff at Marvell Studies, especially Ryan Netzley and the two reviewers. Their encouragement, critical insight, and historical acumen were integral to the essay’s development beyond my initial imagination.

Competing Interests

The author has no competing interests to declare.

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