Poems, by Andrew Marvell

The Statue at Charing-Crosse.

From Captain Thompson’s preface, vol. i. pp. x.-xiii. He thus annotates: ‘Mr. Cooke, in his edition of Mr. Marvell’s poetick works, gives us to understand, that many pieces in the State Poems are attributed to our author which he never wrote. In this particular Mr. Marvell’s own hand bears testimony to the contrary; and particularly to the following lampoon, which is more correct and perfect than it is given in that oollection’ [viz. the State Poems]. See State Poems, vol. iii. p. 65. At end Thompson repeats: ‘The above piece is more correct than that given in the State Poems, which appears to be a mutilated copy’ (p. xiii.). It is given in State Poems, vol. iii pp. 66-67: 1704. G.


What can be the mystery why Charing-Crosse

This five months continues still muffled with board?

Dear Wheeler, impart; we are all at a losse,

Unless we must have Punchinello restored.


Twere to Scaramouchio too great disrespect.

To limit his troop to this theatre small,

Besides the injustice it were to eject

That mimick, so legally seized of WhitehalL


For a diall the place is too unsecure,

Since the Privy-Grarden could not it defend;10

And so near to the Court they will never endure

Any monument, how they their time may mispend.


Were these deales yet in store for sheathing our Fleet,

When the King in armada to Portsmouth should saile,

Or the Bishops and Treasurer, did they agree’t

To repair with such riff-raff our churche’s old pale?


No; to comfort the heart of the poor cavalier,

The late King on horseback is here to be shown;

What ad<^with your Kings and your statues is here!

Have we not had enough, pray, already of one?20


Does the Treasurer think men so loyally tame.

When their pensions are stop’d, to be fool’d with a sight?

And ’tis forty to one, if he play the old game,

He’ll reduce us e’er long to rehearse forty-eight.


The Trojan horse, so, (not of brass, but of wood)

Had within it an army that burnt down the town;

However, ’tis ominous, if understood,

For the old King on horseback is but an Half-crowne.


Yet, his brother-in-law’s horse had gain’d such repute.

That the Treasurer thought prudent to try it again;30

And, instead of that Market of herbs and of fruit,

He will here keep a Shambles of Parliament Men.


But why is the work then so long at a stand?

Such things you should never — or suddenly do:

As the Parliament twice was prorogued by your hand,

Would you venture so farr to prorogue the King too?


Let’s have a King, sir, be he new, be he old,

Not Vyner delay’d us so, though he were broken;

Tho’ the King be of copper, and Danby of gold,

Shall the Treasurer of guineas refuse such a token?40


The housewifery treasuress sure is grown nice,

And so liberally treated the members at supper;

She thinks not convenient to go to the price.

And we’ve lost both our King, and our horse, and his crupper.


Where so many parties there are to provide.

To buy a King is not so wise as to sell;

And however, she said, it could not be denied,

That a monarch of gingerbread might do as well.


But the Treasurer told her, he thought she was mad.

And his Parliament list too withall did produce;50

When he shew’d her, that so many voters he had,

As would the next tax reimburse them with use.


So the statue will up after all this delay,

But to turn the face towards Whitehall you must shun;

Though of brass, yet with grief it would melt him away,

To behold such a prodigal Court and a son.

See OUT Mem.-Intr. for onr reasons for accepting the present poem as certainly Marvell’s . Cf. it also with the ‘Dialogue between Two Horses,’ which succeeds this.

St. viii. Charing-cross seems to have been a shambles or place for batchers’ shops in especial.

St. ix. Parliament prorogued by Danby. For remark on date, see ‘Dialogue’ following.


Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:58