Manifesting the Soul in Andrew Marvell's 'On a Drop of Dew'

Ben Faber


In "On a Drop of Dew", Andrew Marvell (1621-1678) resolves the body-soul dichotomy by means of the structure and function of simile (vehicle, tenor), emblem (visual, verbal), and alchemy (material, spiritual). This essay provides a close reading of the poem's images of dew and manna, of being and becoming, of celestial and mundane, and of metaphysical and physical in order to demonstrate how the relationship of body with soul is structurally analogous to the form and function of simile, emblem, and alchemy. Building on recent Marvell scholarship from ecocritical, formalist, and cultural materialist perspectives, this essay contributes to the growing interest in Marvell and to his rising status as an important writer in the early modern period.


Marvell, Andrew; On a Drop of Dew; alchemy; body and soul; poetic simile

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