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English Language and Literature | Literature in English, British Isles


The allegorical flexibility of Marvell's ‘The Nymph Complaining for the Death of Her Fawn’ is consonant both with shifting ideas of youth in early modern England and with Marvell's complicated fascination with the young. A companion poem by Marvell's contemporary, Thomas Philipott, also describes how a young nymph in a garden turns into a weeping statue: the differences between these two poems underscore how Marvell's young narrator, rather than satisfying familiar interpretive practices, prompts investigation into the cultural implications of these practices. Ultimately, the poem reconsiders the nature of pastoral and the consequences of circumscribing the voices of the young.


This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Cambridge Quarterly following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version [Harkins, Matthew. "A Young Voice, A Statue, And Marvell's 'The Nymph Complaining'." Cambridge Quarterly 39.3 (2010): 201-216. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 9 Dec. 2013.] is available online at: DOI: 10.1093/notesj/gjs039.