Andrew Marvell was born in Winestead-in-Holderness, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, on March 31st, 1621.
He was educated at Hull Grammar School, and at the age of 13 he attended Trinity College, Cambridge, and eventually received his BA degree. It is thought that in 1642 Marvell travelled in Europe and, while England was embroiled in its civil war, remained there until 1647, mastering several languages including French, Italian and Spanish.
Marvell turned to Cromwell’s side only belatedly during the Interregnum after the execution of Charles the I, on the 30th January 1649. His "Horatian Ode", from early 1650, laments the regicide even as it praises Oliver Cromwell's return from Ireland.
During 1650-52, Marvell served as tutor to the daughter of the Lord General Thomas Fairfax, who had relinquished command of the Parliamentary army to Cromwell. He continued to write poetry and probably at this time completed the classic "To His Coy Mistress".
He became a tutor to Cromwell’s ward, William Dutton, in 1653 whilst living at Eton. Marvell also wrote several poems in praise of Cromwell, now the Lord Protector of England.
In 1657, Marvell joined Milton, who by now had lost his sight, in service as Latin secretary to Cromwell's Council of State at a salary of £200 a year. Oliver Cromwell died in 1658 and was succeeded as Lord Protector by his son Richard.
In 1659 Marvell was elected Member of Parliament for Kingston-upon-Hull in the Third Protectorate Parliament and re-elected MP for Hull in 1660 for the Convention Parliament. The monarchy was restored in 1660. Marvell managed to avoid punishment for his cooperation with republicanism, and he helped convince Charles II not to execute John Milton for his anti-monarchical writings and revolutionary activities. In 1661 Marvell was re-elected MP for Hull in the Cavalier Parliament. He eventually came to write several long and bitterly satirical verses against the corruption of the court. They were, however, too politically sensitive and thus dangerous to be published under his name in his life-time.
Andrew Marvell died suddenly on August 16th, 1678, while in attendance at a popular meeting of his old constituents at Hull. His health had been remarkably good; and it was speculated that he was poisoned by political or clerical enemies.
He was buried in the church of St Giles in the Fields in central London.