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The Rib of Adam and Marvell's 'The Garden' (Part III)
Further to the second part of this study in the previous volume, in order to suggest the other cause of Marvell's misogynistic gesture, the paper attempts to prove that there was - even if its truth cannot be demonstrated - at least a rumour that Lady Fairfax was (according to the standard of the time) a scold, who dared to shout in public, and that Lord Fairfax was henpecked. Certain of Marvell's lines - such as 'Vera the Nymph that him inspir'd, / To whom he often here retir'd', in 'Upon the Hill and Grove at Billborow: To The Lord Fairfax' - can be read as alluding to Lady Ann Fairfax's powerful influence over her husband. Given this factor, as the other possible cause for the poet's misogynistic expression in 'The Garden', the paper argues that Marvell might have intended to facilitate the male friendship and relationship with his employer by hinting at the possible common enemy, the matriarchic truculent 'Mate' inside 'The Garden'. The paper concludes that Marvell seems to attempt to put the large-scale breakdown of the patriarchal order and the threatening topsy-turvy public world to a more mild, domesticated, private homo-social use. At the same time, however, this attempt does not necessarily seem to have succeeded, because the private, henpecked relationship that can be lightly ridiculed inevitably invokes the public and politically serious one between Charles I and Henrietta Maria - the Adam and Eve who led the Garden State of England to the Fall.