Stanza wise Explanation of Ode to Cromwell | Ode to Cromwell by Andrew Marvel


 Stanza wise Explanation of Ode to Cromwell | Ode to Cromwell by Andrew Marvel

'A Horatian Ode upon Cromwell’s return from Ireland’ counts among the finest poems by Andrew Marvel. Today’s article is a stanza wise explanation of Ode to Cromwell by Andrew Marvel.

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The eager or forward looking young man who would like to emerge on the public scene must now give up writing verses which are very dear to him, and must stop writing love poetry in which the lovers are described as pining for their beloveds. The time has come to leave the books in the dusty university rooms, to oil the unused armour which has become rusty, and to remove the shield from the wall of the hall in order to get ready to participate in the wars.

LINE 9 TO 20

That was the reason why Cromwell felt restless and could not feel comfortable in peaceful activities which bring no glory to a man. He spurred his fortunes and plunged into the war which demands from a man the spirit of adventure. And just as the three-forked lightning opens its way with great violence through the very cloud in which it was bred, so did Cromwell win his way through the Parliamentary leaders who became his rivals. He did so because it is as necessary for a man of high courage to put down his jealous rivals as to overcome his enemies. Infact, to restrain one’s rivals or enemies is a greater achievement than to contend with either of them.

LINE 21 TO 44

Then he made his way through the air in a fiery manner, destroying the authority of the State and the Church; and eventually he struck down the crowned head of King Charles I. It is an act of madness on any body’s part to resist or to blame the violence of the wrath of God when God feels annoyed and wishes to punish a ruler like Charles I. And, if we were to speak the truth, much credit is due to the man, Cromwell, who came away from his private gardens, where he was leading a reserved and frugal life as if his highest mission had been to plant and nurture fruit-trees like the bergamot (He gave up hat life in order to fight on the side of the Parliament). By means of his hard toil and heroism he achieved so much power that he was able to run the English political system which was the product of centuries; and he was able to replace it with an entirely different political system for his country. Although a King, taking his stand on justice, might complain against the cruelty of fate, and although he may vainly assert the rights which Kings have exercised since antiquity, the fact remains that rights can only be held if Kings are strong and that rights must be taken away from Kings who are weak. It is true that nature hates a vacuum, but more than that it is true that Nature doesn’t permit two human beings to occupy the same seat. That is why, a weaker man (like Charles) must vacate his seat when a greater man (like Cromwell) appears on the scene.

LINE 45 TO 56

There was no battle in the entire course of the Civil War in which Cromwell did not inflict the maximum possible losses on the enemies. And the incident of Charles I’s flight from Hampton Court to Carisbrooke shows the high degree of state-craft which Cromwell possessed. On this occasion he played on the King’s fear and hopes in such a subtle manner and prepared such an effective trap for him that the King himself departed from Hampton Court in great hurry to take refuge in Carisbrooke which proved to be a narrow cage for him. Such was Cromwell’s stroke of policy that Charles, the born king, had to go away from there to the gallows to be hanged, like an actor who appears on the stage to the great delight audience. As the King climbed to the gallows, armed soldiers under Cromwell stood around the place and clapped their blood-stained hands in joy.

LINE 57 TO 64

On that memorable occasion, there was absolutely nothing cheap or mean in the manner in which Charles behaved. On the contrary, his tried to test the sharpness of the axe in the executioner’s hands, and his eyes were sharper than the axe. He did not address the Gods with any vulgar malice in his heart in order to invoke them to defend his kingly rights in the helpless condition in which he found himself. On the contrary, he bowed his handsome head down as if he was going to rest it on a pillow.

LINE 65 TO 72

This was that memorable hour which first confirmed in Cromwell’s hands the power which he had won by force. In this connection one is reminded of the manner in which the ancient Roman architects ran away in great fear on finding a bloody head in the course of their digging operations which had been undertaken in order to start the construction of the temple of Jupiter Capitolium, thinking that bloody head to be an evil omen. And yet the state authorities saw the discovery of that human head as a happy augury about the future of Rome.

LINE 73 TO 96

And now the Irish people are ashamed to find themselves utterly defeated by Cromwell in just one year. Such is the high achievement of one man who has the required knowledge and the required capacity to act. The Irish people are in the best position to bear testimony to Cromwell’s greatness. Although they have been defeated, yet they have also admitted how good, how just, how worthy of the highest trust he is. Cromwell has not become more proved on account of his army command, but is still obedient to the Parliament. A man who can obey the higher authorities so willingly is also highly fitted to govern. He has placed a kingdom at the feet of the Parliament, as if it were his tribute to Parliament for the first year. And, furthermore, he attributes his own achievements to the Parliamentary leaders. He even removes his sword and his medals in order to lay them before the public. In doing so Cromwell follows the example of the falcon which comes downwards heavily from its flight into the sky after having caught and killed its victim, and which does not search for any more victim but settles down on the green branch of a tree in response to the branch of a tree in response to the wish of its owner who tempts it with food.

LINE 97 TO 104

This being the case, England can now expect great things from Cromwell while victory crowns is efforts as has done in the of Ireland. And, if he wins a victory in the same way every year, other nations will stand in great fear of him. Very soon his efforts will start a new chapter in the history of mankind when he equals the achievements of Caesar who defeated France, and the achievement of Hannibal who invaded Italy. His role will be decisive in liberating all those countries which are not free, but are ruled by autocratic Kings.

LINE 105 TO 112

Now the Scotts will find no shelter within their treacherous minds, but will hide themselves from the steadfast heroism of this man. The Scotts would consider themselves lucky if Cromwell, the English hunter, makes a mistake and does not find them, hidden as they will be within their costumes which may serve like a thick wood in which an animal hides itself. They will be lucky if this English hunter does not put his hunting dogs on scent after those people who are like the deer to be hunted.

LINE 113 TO 120

But you, Cromwell, is the lucky winner of wars, and you are the favorite of Fortune. Go on marching, without feeling tired. And always keep your sword erect in your hands in order to achieve the final result because, in addition to the authority which it has to wield, this sword as to put the evil spirits to flight with its suggestion of the crucifix in its hilt. The ame force and the same diplomacy by means of which you achieved this position of authority will be required also to preserve this authority in your hands.

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