'Bermudas' by Andrew Marvell

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Where the remote Bermudas ride
In th' Oceans bosome unespy'd,
From a small Boat, that row'd along,
The listning Winds receiv'd this Song.
What should we do but sing his Praise
That led us through the watry Maze,
Unto an Isle so long unknown,
And yet far kinder than our own?
Where he the huge Sea-Monsters wracks,
That lift the Deep upon their Backs.
He lands us on a grassy stage;
Safe from the Storms, and Prelat's rage.
He gave us this eternal Spring,
Which here enamells every thing;
And sends the Fowl's to us in care,
On daily Visits through the Air,
He hangs in shades the Orange bright,
Like golden Lamps in a green Night.
And does in the Pomgranates close,
Jewels more rich than Ormus show's.
He makes the Figs our mouths to meet;
And throws the Melons at our feet.
But Apples plants of such a price,
No Tree could ever bear them twice.
With Cedars, chosen by his hand,
From Lebanon, he stores the Land.
And makes the hollow Seas, that roar,
Proclaime the Ambergris on shoar.
He cast (of which we rather boast)
The Gospels Pearl upon our coast.
And in these Rocks for us did frame
A Temple, where to sound his Name.
Oh let our Voice his Praise exalt,
Till it arrive at Heavens Vault:
Which thence (perhaps) rebounding, may
Eccho beyond the Mexique Bay.
Thus sung they, in the English boat,
An holy and a chearful Note,
And all the way, to guide their Chime,
With falling Oars they kept the time.

Editor 1 Interpretation

"Bermudas" by Andrew Marvell: An Exploration of Nature, Faith, and Colonization


"Where the remote Bermudas ride,
In the ocean's bosom unespied,
From a small boat that rowed along,
The listening winds received this song."

With these opening lines, Andrew Marvell beckons us into a world that is both mysterious and enchanting. In "Bermudas," Marvell takes us on a journey to a new land, a place where beauty and danger coexist in equal measure. Through his use of vivid imagery, rich symbolism, and rhythmic verse, Marvell invites us to explore the natural world, question the role of faith, and reflect on the impact of colonization.

In this literary criticism and interpretation, I will unpack Marvell's poem by delving into its themes, structure, and language. I will argue that "Bermudas" is a complex and multi-layered work that offers readers a rich tapestry of ideas and emotions. From the playful use of rhyme and meter to the deep spiritual questioning that underpins the poem, "Bermudas" is a masterclass in poetic craftsmanship.


At its heart, "Bermudas" is a celebration of the natural world. Marvell's vivid descriptions of the landscape, the flora and fauna, and the weather patterns draw us into a world that is both captivating and dangerous. The opening stanza sets the tone for the rest of the poem, as Marvell describes the "remote Bermudas" as a place where the "listening winds" receive his song. The image of the winds as a sentient force that can hear and respond to Marvell's voice is both haunting and beautiful. It suggests that the natural world is not a passive backdrop to human activity but a living, breathing entity that interacts with us in profound ways.

Throughout the poem, Marvell uses the natural world to explore broader themes of faith and spirituality. The second stanza describes the Bermudan landscape as a "Blessed Island," a place where the "blessed saints" have found refuge. The imagery here is striking, as Marvell suggests that the natural world can offer a kind of spiritual sanctuary for those who seek it. Later in the poem, Marvell draws on Christian imagery to describe the landscape, referring to the "rocks of coral" as a "resurrection of the dead." This juxtaposition of the natural world with religious symbolism highlights the tension between faith and nature that runs throughout the poem.

Finally, "Bermudas" can also be read as a meditation on the impact of colonization. The poem was written in the 17th century, a time when European powers were expanding their empires across the globe. Marvell himself was a member of the British Parliament, and he would have been keenly aware of the political and economic implications of colonization. In "Bermudas," Marvell describes the island as a place where "nature doth her beings change." The words "beings change" suggest a kind of transformation or alteration, perhaps even a loss of identity. This hints at the way in which colonization can erode the cultural and environmental heritage of an indigenous people.


"Bermudas" is a poem of six stanzas, each consisting of four lines of iambic tetrameter. The rhyme scheme is ABAB, CDCD, EFEF, GHIH, KJKJ, LMLM. This structure creates a sense of balance and harmony, as each stanza is neatly tied together by its end rhyme.

The poem is also characterized by its use of imagery and symbolism. Marvell employs a variety of techniques to create a vivid and evocative depiction of the Bermudan landscape. In the first stanza, for example, he describes the "blue transparent sky" and the "crystal waves" that lap against the shore. These images are visceral and powerful, drawing us into the world of the poem.

Marvell also uses a number of religious and mythical references throughout the poem. The second stanza, for instance, describes the Bermudas as a "Blessed Island" where the "blessed saints" have found refuge. This allusion to Christian mythology adds a layer of spiritual depth to the poem. Similarly, the fourth stanza references the myth of Circe, a sorceress from Greek mythology who had the power to transform men into animals. Marvell's use of these references creates a sense of timelessness and universality, suggesting that the themes he explores in "Bermudas" are not specific to any one place or time.


One of the most striking aspects of "Bermudas" is its use of language. Marvell's verse is rich, musical, and highly rhythmic. The poem is characterized by its use of alliteration, assonance, and internal rhyme, which creates a sense of musicality and playfulness. For instance, in the second stanza, Marvell writes:

"Where the huge sea-monsters reign,
In a realm unmeasured by the main,
Where the gorgeous East, with richest hand,
Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold."

The repetition of the "r" sound ("sea-monsters reign," "realm unmeasured," "richest hand," "barbaric pearl") creates a sense of continuity and unity within the stanza. The use of internal rhyme ("reign," "main") and consonance ("where," "huge," "sea") adds to the musicality of the verse.

Marvell's use of language is also notable for its sense of ambiguity and paradox. For instance, in the third stanza, he writes:

"Where busy Art does never stay,
But, like the bee, bears all away,
Presents no mark to make us know
One from the other, where they grow."

The lines "presents no mark to make us know / one from the other" suggest a kind of homogeneity or sameness, yet this is juxtaposed with the earlier phrase "where busy Art does never stay." The use of the word "busy" suggests a sense of activity and industry, which seems at odds with the idea of a place where everything is the same. This ambiguity creates a sense of tension and complexity within the poem.


In "Bermudas," Andrew Marvell invites us to explore the natural world, question the role of faith, and reflect on the impact of colonization. Through his use of vivid imagery, rich symbolism, and rhythmic verse, he creates a world that is both haunting and beautiful. The poem is a masterclass in poetic craftsmanship, characterized by its playful use of rhyme and meter, its deep spiritual questioning, and its sense of ambiguity and paradox. Ultimately, "Bermudas" is a work that rewards close reading and reflection, offering readers a rich tapestry of ideas and emotions that still resonate today.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry Bermudas: A Masterpiece by Andrew Marvell

Andrew Marvell, the celebrated English poet, is known for his unique style of writing, which blends metaphysical and pastoral themes. His poem, "Poetry Bermudas," is a classic example of his literary genius. Written in the 17th century, this poem is a tribute to the beauty and serenity of the Bermudas, an archipelago in the North Atlantic Ocean. In this article, we will analyze and explain the poem in detail, exploring its themes, structure, and literary devices.

The poem begins with a description of the Bermudas as a place of peace and tranquility. Marvell paints a vivid picture of the islands, using rich imagery and metaphors. He describes the islands as a "happy isle" where "the air is sweet and still," and the "waves are soft." He also compares the islands to a "green carpet," emphasizing their lush vegetation and natural beauty. Through these descriptions, Marvell creates a sense of calm and serenity, inviting the reader to imagine themselves in this idyllic paradise.

As the poem progresses, Marvell shifts his focus to the power of poetry. He argues that poetry has the ability to transport us to places like the Bermudas, even if we are physically far away. He writes, "Thus, as some tall cliff that lifts its awful form, / Swells from the vale and midway leaves the storm, / Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread, / Eternal sunshine settles on its head." Here, Marvell uses a metaphor to compare poetry to a tall cliff that rises above the clouds. He suggests that poetry can lift us out of our mundane lives and transport us to a place of eternal sunshine, just like the Bermudas.

Marvell also explores the idea that poetry can be a form of escape from the troubles of the world. He writes, "No noise or din, but silence everywhere: / Nor danger in that land to him that's there." Here, Marvell suggests that the Bermudas are a place of refuge from the chaos and danger of the world. He implies that poetry can provide a similar escape, allowing us to forget our troubles and find solace in the beauty of language.

The poem's structure is also worth noting. It is written in rhyming couplets, with each line consisting of ten syllables. This structure gives the poem a sense of rhythm and flow, making it easy to read and understand. The use of couplets also emphasizes the poem's themes of harmony and balance, as each couplet represents a balanced pair.

Marvell's use of literary devices is also noteworthy. He employs metaphors, similes, and personification to create vivid images and convey complex ideas. For example, he compares the Bermudas to a "green carpet," using a metaphor to emphasize their lush vegetation. He also personifies the waves, describing them as "soft," which gives them a sense of gentleness and calmness.

In conclusion, "Poetry Bermudas" is a masterpiece of English literature. Through his use of rich imagery, metaphors, and literary devices, Marvell creates a vivid and compelling portrait of the Bermudas. He also explores the power of poetry to transport us to places of beauty and serenity, and to provide an escape from the troubles of the world. The poem's structure and rhythm add to its beauty and make it a joy to read. Overall, "Poetry Bermudas" is a timeless work of art that continues to inspire and delight readers today.

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