Andrew Marvell, the son of a vicar, was born at Winestead-in-Holderness, in 1621. When he was a child the family moved to Hull and Marvell attended the local grammar school. In 1633 Marvell went to Trinity College, Cambridge.
After leaving university Marvell toured Europe visiting Holland, France, Italy and Spain. Although he spent most of the Civil War out of the country he was a strong supporter of Parliament and in 1650 he wrote a poem praising Oliver Cromwell, entitled Horatian Ode Upon Cromwell's Return from Ireland. Marvel also worked as tutor to the children of Sir Thomas Fairfax. His poem, Upon Appleton House, celebrated the retirement of Fairfax from the world of public affairs.
After the Restoration Marvell was an outspoken critic of the government of Charles II. Marvell was especially opposed to its failure to promote religious toleration. During this period he spent much of his time living in Russia, Sweden and Denmark.
Marvell wrote several political and religious satires such as Clarindon's Housewarming, The Last Instructions to a Painter, The Loyal Scot, The Statue in Stocks-Market and The Rehearsal Transposed. However, because of his radical views, little of his work was published in his lifetime. Marvell's attack on the monarchy, Account of the Growth of Popery and Arbitrary Government, was published anonymously.
Andrew Marvell died of tertian ague in 1678. Three years later his book, Miscellaneous Poems, was published. This included Marvell's most famous work, the love poem To His Coy Mistress. This was followed by Poems on Affairs of State (1689).