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Title: The Lives of the Most Famous English Poets (1687)

Author: William Winstanley

Commentator: William Riley Parker

Release Date: March 25, 2005 [EBook #15461]

Language: English

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Of the Most Famous

English Poets.


William Winstanley.


William Riley Parker


1605 N.W. 14th AVE.







[Transcribers note: The errata, listed at the end of this book are incorporated as the author wished. Pop-up notes will be seen by placing the cursor over the affected word. Original text is also provided via pop-up, where other obvious changes were made. In most cases possible misspellings are left as in the original with a note for what the word might be.

Text in bold face was originally printed in "blackletter" font.]


This book merits more attention and respect from literary historians than thus far have been accorded it. The case must be stated carefully. The work has obvious faults and limitations, which probably account for its never having been reprinted since its appearance in 1687. Almost forty percent of it is largely or entirely derivative. Its author, William Winstanley (1628?-1698), was undoubtedly a compiler and a hack-writer; his attitudes and methods can hardly be termed "scholarly." Nevertheless, this pioneer in biographical and bibliographical research was more nearly a scholar than the man he is usually alleged to have plagiarized; he wanted to see the books that Edward Phillips was often content merely to list by title in his Theatrum Poetarum (1675), and altogether, for his own enjoyment and that of his readers, he quoted from the works of more than sixty poets. Moreover, unlike Phillips, he tried to arrange his authors in chronological order, from Robert of Gloucester to Sir Roger L'Estrange.

Though Winstanley's Lives advertises on its title page accounts "of above Two Hundred" poets, only 147 are actually listed in the catalogue, and only 168 are noted throughout. Of these 168, only 34 had not already been mentioned by Phillips, a dozen years before. Some borrowing was inevitable, and, in fact, Winstanley leaned heavily upon both Phillips and Fuller for information and clues, just as Phillips had leaned heavily upon Bale's Summarium (1548), Camden's Remains, Puttenham's Art of English Poesy, several Elizabethan miscellanies, and Kirkman's play catalogues. Both men built (as scholars must build) upon the obvious materials available. Both (in the manner of their age) were extremely casual about documentation and acknowledgment. If this leads us to talk unhistorically about "theft," we must say that Phillips "stole" from a half dozen or so people, whereas Winstanley simply appropriated a lot of these stolen goods. For doing so, he alone has been labelled a plagiarist.

Let us be more specific. Of Winstanley's accounts of 168 poets, 34 seem to have come out of the Theatrum Poetarum with nothing new added (10 of these 34 merely named). Of the remaining 134 accounts, 34 are of poets not mentioned by Phillips, 29 are utterly independent of Phillips, 40 are largely independent (that is, they borrow some from Phillips but add more than they borrow), and 31 are largely derivative. We would praise a doctoral dissertation that succeeded in giving so much new data. Winstanley was careless, but he was not lazy, and he had a literary conscience of sorts. Often he went to Phillips' sources and came away with more than Phillips found (most conspicuously in his use of Francis Kirkman's 1671 play catalogue).

Since the groundwork had so recently been laid, Winstanley's problem, far more than that of Phillips, was one of selection. In the Theatrum Poetarum 252 modern British poets are named. Of these Winstanley chose to omit the 16 female and 33 Scottish poets. Of the remaining 203, he dropped 68, and for the student of literary reputation these omissions raise some interesting questions. Undoubtedly a few were inadvertent. About a dozen were authors noted but not dated by Phillips, and it is probable that Winstanley was unable to learn more about them. Fifteen others were English poets who apparently did not write in the vernacular. An additional fifteen were poets dated by Phillips but described as inferior or almost forgotten. Still another fifteen were older or early Renaissance poets whose names probably meant nothing to Winstanley. On the other hand, he omits the following late Renaissance or contemporary poets whose period is plainly indicated in the Theatrum Poetarum and who, we might suppose, would be known to anyone attempting literary history in the year 1687: Richard Barnfield, Thomas Campion, Francis Davison, John Hall of Durham, William Herbert, William Leighton, Thomas Sackville, Henry Vaughan the Silurist, and Samuel Woodford.

That most of Winstanley's omissions were deliberate, and were prompted by some awareness of literary reputation, is suggested not only by his request for help on a revised edition (which never materialized) but also by the fact that he was able to add to the Theatrum Poetarum thirty-four poets, almost all of whom could have been noted by Phillips. Among these were such recent poets as Thomas Tusser, Giles Fletcher the elder, Sir John Beaumont, Jasper Heywood, Philemon Holland, Sir Thomas Overbury, John Taylor the Water Poet, and the Earl of Rochester. The reader of this volume may want to have the additional names before him; they are: Sir John Birkenhead, Henry Bradshaw, William Chamberlayne, Hugh Crompton, John Dauncey, John Davies (d. 1618), Robert Fabyan, John Gower (fl. 1640), Lewys Griffin, "Havillan," Richard Head, Matthew Heywood, John Higgins, Thomas Jordan, Sir William Killigrew, Sir Roger L'Estrange, Matthew of Paris, John Oldham, Edward Phillips himself, John Quarles, Richard the Hermit, John Studley, John Tatham, Christopher Tye, Sir George Wharton, and William of Ramsey. Mentioned incidentally are John Owen, Laurence Whitaker, and Gawin Douglas.

Among the accounts that are utterly independent of Phillips are those of Churchyard, Chapman, Daniel, Ford, Cower, Lydgate, Lyly, Massinger, Nashe, Quarles, Suckling, Surrey, and Sylvester. Among those that add more than they borrow are the notices of Beaumont and Fletcher, Chaucer, Cleveland, Corbet, Donne, Drayton, Phineas Fletcher, Greene, Greville, Jonson, Lodge, Lovelace, Middleton, More, Randolph, Shakespeare, Sidney, Spenser, Warner, and Withers.

To a modern critic Winstanley may seem devoid of taste, but his acquaintance with English poetry is impressive. Indeed, Winstanley, unlike Phillips, strikes us as a man who really read and enjoyed poetry. Phillips is more the slipshod bibliographer and cataloguer, collecting names and titles; Winstanley is the amateur literary historian, seeking out the verse itself, arranging it in chronological order, and trying, by his dim lights, to pass judgment upon it.


Indiana University
12 March 1962

London Printed for Samuel Manship at the Black Bull in Cornhill near the Royall Exchange.

London Printed for Samuel Manship at the Black Bull in Cornhill near the Royall Exchange.



Of the most Famous

English Poets,


Honour of PARNASSUS;

In a Brief




of above Two Hundred of them, from the
Time of K. WILLIAM the Conqueror,

To the Reign of His Present Majesty


Marmora Mæonij vincunt Monumenta Libelli;
Vivitur ingenio, extera Mortis erunt.
Written by WILLIAM WINSTANLEY, Author of
the English Worthies.

Licensed, June 16, 1685. Rob. Midgley.


Printed by H. Clark, for Samuel Manship at the
Sign of the Black Bull in Cornhil, 1687.

Francis Bradbury, Esq;

The Judicious Philosopher Philo-Judæus, in his Book De Plantatione Noe, saith; That when God had made the whole World's Mass, he created Poets to celebrate and set out the Creator himself, and all his Creatures: such a high Estimate had he of those Genius of brave Verse. Another saith, that Poets were the first Politicians, the first Philosophers, and the first Historiographers. And although Learning and Poetick Skill were but very rude in this our Island, when it flourished to the height in Greece and Rome, yet since hath it made such improvement, that we come not behind any Nation in the World, both in Grandity and Gravity, in Smoothness and Propriety, in Quickness and Briefness; so that for Skill, Variety, Efficacy and Sweetness, the four material points required in a Poet, our English Sons of Apollo, and Darlings of the Delian Deity, may compare, if not exceed them

Whose victorious Rhime,
Revenge their Masters Death,
and conquer Time.

And indeed what is it that so masters Oblivion, and causeth the Names of the dead to live, as the divine Strains of sacred Poesie? How are the Names forgotten of those mighty Monarchs, the Founders of the Egyptian Pyramids, when that Ballad-Poet, Thomas Elderton, who did arm himself with Ale (as old Father Ennius did with Wine) is remembred in Mr. Cambden's Remains? having this made to his Memory, Hic situs est sitiens atque ebrius Eldertonus, Quid dico; hic situs est; hic potius sitis est.

Now, Sir, all my Ambition, that I address these Lines unto you, is, that you will pardon the Defects I have committed herein, as having done my good will in so short an Epitome to lay a Ground-work, on which may be built a sumptuous Structure; a Work well worthy the Pen of a second Plutarch; since Poetical Devices have been well esteemed. even amongst them who have been ignorant of what they are; as the judicious Mr. Cambden reports of Sieur Gauland, who, when he heard a Gentleman express that he was at a Supper, where they had not only good Company and good Chear, but also savoury Epigrams, and fine Anagrams; he returning home, rated and belowted his Cook, as an ignorant Scullion, that never dressed or served up to him either Epigrams or Anagrams.

But, Sir, I intrench upon your Patience, and shall no further; only subscribing my self,

Your Worship's ever
to be Commanded,

William Winstanley.


As we account those Books best written which mix Profit with Delight, so, in my opinion, none more profitable nor delightful than those of Lives, especially them of Poets, who have laid out themselves for the publick Good; and under the Notion of Fables, delivered unto us the highest Mysteries of Learning. These are the Men who in their Heroick Poems have made mens Fames live to eternity; therefore it were pity (faith Plutarch) that those who write to Eternity, should not live so too. Now above all Remembrances by which men have endeavoured even in despight of Death, to give unto their Fames eternity, for Worthiness and Continuance, Books, and Writings, have ever had the Preheminence; which made Ovid to give an endless Date to himself, and to his Metamorphosis, in these Words;

Famque Opus exegi, &c.

Thus Englished by the incomparable Mr. Sandys.

And now the Work is ended, which Jove's Rage,
Nor Fire, nor Sword, shall raze, nor eating Age,
Come when it will, my Death's uncertain hour
Which only of my Body hath a power;
Yet shall my better Part transcend the Sky,
And my immortal Name shall never dy:
For wherefoe're the Roman Eagles spread
Their conquering Wings, I shall of all be read.
And if we Prophets truly can divine,
I in my living Fame shall ever shine.

With the same Confidence of Immortality, the Renowned Poet Horace thus concludes the Third Book of his Lyrick Poesie.

Exegi Monumentum ære perennius.
Regalique situ, &c.
A Monument than Brass more lasting, I,
Than Princely Pyramids in site more high
Have finished, which neither fretting Showrs,
Nor blustring Winds, nor flight of Years, and Hours,
Though numberless, can raze; I shall not die
Wholly; nor shall my best part buried lie
Within my Grave.

And Martial, Lib. 10. Ep. 2. thus speaks of his Writings;

——My Books are read in every place,
And when Licinius, and Messala's high
Rich Marble Towers in ruin'd Dust shall lie,
I shall be read, and Strangers every where,
Shall to their farthest Homes my Verses bear.

Also Lucan, Lib. 9. of his own Verse, and Cæsar's Victory at Pharsalia, writeth thus;

O great and sacred Work of Poesie!
Thou freest from Fate, and giv'st Eternity
To mortal Wights; but Cæsar envy not
Their living Names; if Roman Muses ought
May promise thee, whilst Homer's honoured,
By future Times shalt Thou and I be read;
No Age shall us with dark Oblivion stain,
But our Pharsalia ever shall remain.

But this Ambition, or (give it a more moderate Title), Desire of Fame, is naturally addicted to most men; The Triumph of Miltiades would not let Themistocles sleep; For what was it that Alexander made such a Bustle in the world, but only to purchase an immortal Fame? To what purpose were erected those stupendious Structures, entituled The Wonders of the World, viz. The walls of Babylon, the Rhodian Colossus, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Tomb of Mausolus, Diana's Temple at Ephesus, the Pharoes Watch-Tower, and the Statue of Jupiter in Achaya, were they not all to purchase an immortal Fame thereby? Nay, how soon was this Ambition bred in the heart of man? for we read in Genesis the 11th. how that presently after the Flood, the People journeying from the East, they said among themselves, Go to, let us build us a City, and a tower, whose Top may reach unto Heaven; and let us make us a Name. Here you see the intent of their Building was to make them a Name, though God made it a Confusion; as all such other lofty Buildings built in Blood and Tyranny, of which nothing now remains but the Name; which is excellently exprest by Ovid in the Fifteenth Book of his Metamorphosis.

Troy rich and powerful, which so proudly stood,
That could for ten years spend such streams of Blood,
For Buildings, only her old Ruines shows,
For Riches, Tombs, which slaughter'd Sires enclose,
Sparta, Mycenæ, were of Greece the Flowers;
So Cecrops City, and Amphion's Towers:
Now glorious Sparta lies upon the ground.
Lofty Mycenæ hardly to be found.
Of Oedipus his Thebes what now remains?
Or of Pandion's Athens, but their Names?

So also Sylvester in his Du Bartus.

Thebes, Babel, Rome, those proud Heaven-daring Wonders,
Lo under ground in Dust and Ashes lie,
For earthly Kingdoms even as men do die.

By this you may see that frail Paper is more durable than Brass or Marble; and the Works of the Brain more lasting than that of the Hand; so true is that old Verse,

Marmora Mæonij vincunt Monumenta Libelli:
Vivitur ingenio, cætera mortis erunt.
The Muses Works Stone-Monuments outlast.
'Tis Wit keeps Life, all else Death will down cast.

Now though it is the desire of all Writers to purchase to themselves immortal Fame, yet is their Fate far different; some deserve Fame, and have it; others neither have it, nor deserve it; some have it not deserving, and others, though deserving, yet totally miss it, or have it not equall to their Deserts: Thus have I known a well writ Poem, after a double expence of Brain to bring it forth, and of Purse to publish it to the World, condemned to the Drudgery of the Chandler or Oyl-man, or, which is worse, to light Tobacco. I have read in Dr. Fuller's Englands Worthies, that Mr. Nathanael Carpenter, that great Scholar for Logick, the Mathematicks, Geography, and Divinity, setting forth a Book of Opticks, he found, to his great grief, the Preface thereof in his Printers House, Casing Christmas-Pies, and could never after from his scattered Notes recover an Original thereof; thus (saith he) Pearls are no Pearls, when Cocks or Coxcombs find them.

There are two things which very much discourage Wit; ignorant Readers, and want of Mecænasses to encourage their Endeavours. For the first, I have read of an eminent Poet, who passing by a company of Bricklayers at work, who were repeating some of his Verses, but in such a manner as quite marred the Sence and Meaning of them; he snatching up a Hammer, fell to breaking their Bricks; and being demanded the reason thereof, he told them, that they spoiled his Work, and he spoiled theirs. And for the second; what greater encouragement to Ingenuity than Liberality? Hear what the Poet Martial saith,

Lib. 10. Epig. 11.

What deathless numbers from my Pen would flow,
What Wars would my Pierian Trumpet blow,
If, as Augustus now again did live,
So Rome to me would a Mecænas give.

The ingenious Mr. Oldham, the glory of our late Age, in one of his Satyrs, makes the renowned Spenser's Ghost thus speak to him, disswading him from the Study of Poetry.

Chuse some old English Hero for thy Theme,
Bold Arthur, or great Edward's greater Son,
Or our fifth Henry, matchless to renown;
Make Agin-Court, and Crescy-fields out-vie
The fam'd Laucinan-shores, and walls of Troy;
What Scipio, what Mæcenas wouldst thou find;
What Sidney now to thy great project kind?
Bless me! how great a Genius! how each Line
Is big with Sense! how glorious a design
Does through the whole, and each proportion shine!
How lofty all his Thoughts, and how inspir'd!
Pity, such wondrous Parts are not preferr'd:
Cry a gay wealthy Sot, who would not bail,
For bare Five Pounds the Author out of Jail,
Should he starve there and rot; who, if a Brief
Came out the needy Poets to relieve,
To the whole Tribe would scarce a Tester give.

But some will say, it is not so much the Patrons as the Poets fault, whose wide Mouths speak nothing but Bladders and Bumbast, treating only of trifles, the Muses Haberdashers of small wares.

Whose Wit is but a Tavern-Tympany,
The Shavings and the Chips of Poetry.

Indeed such Pedlars to the Muses, whose Verse runs like the Tap, and whose invention ebbs and flows as the Barrel, deserve not the name of Poets, and are justly rejected as the common Scriblers of the times: but for such who fill'd with Phebean-fire, deserve to be crowned with a wreath of Stars; for such brave Souls, the darlings of the Delian Deity, for these to be scorn'd, contemn'd, and disregarded, must needs be the fault of the times; I shall only give you one instance of a renowned Poet, out of the same Author.

On Butler, who can think without just rage,
The glory and the scandal of the age,
Fair stood his hopes, when first he came to Town,
Met every where with welcoms of renown,
Courted, and lov'd by all, with wonder read,
And promises of Princely favour fed:
But what reward for all had he at last,
After a life in dull expectance pass'd?
The wretch at summing up his mispent days,
Found nothing left, but poverty, and praise:
Of all his gains by Verse he could not save
Enough to purchase Flannel, and a grave:
Reduc'd to want, he in due time fell sick,
Was fain to die, and be interr'd on Tick:
And well might bless the Feaver that was sent,
To rid him hence, and his worse fate prevent.

Thus you see though we have had some comparable to Homer for Heroick Poesie, and to Euripides for Tragedy, yet have they died disregarded, and nothing left of them, but that only once there were such Men and Writings in being.

I shall, in the next place, speak something of my Undertakings, in writing the Lives of these Renowned Poets. Two things, I suppose, may be laid to my charge; the one is the omission of some that ought with good reason to have been mentioned; and the other, the mentioning of those which without any injury might have been omitted. For the first, as I have begg'd pardon at the latter end of my Book for their omission, so have I promised, (if God spare me life so long) upon the first opportunity, or second Edition of this Book, to do them right. In the mean time I should think my self much beholding to those persons who would give me any intelligence herein, it being beyond the reading and acquaintance of any one single person to do it of himself.

And yet, let me tell ye, that by the Name of Poet, many more of former times might have been brought in than what I have named, as well as those which I have omitted that are now living, namely, Sir Walter Rawleigh, Mr. John Weever, Dr. Heylin, Dr. Fuller, &c. but the Volume growing as big as the Bookseller at present was willing to have it, we shall reserve them to another time, they having already eternized their Names by the never dying Histories which they have wrote.

Then for the second thing which may be objected against me, That I have incerted some of the meanest rank; I answer, That comparatively, it is a less fault to incert two, than to omit one, most of which in their times were of good esteem, though now grown out of date, even as some learned Works have been at first not at all respected, which afterwards have been had in high estimation; as it is reported of Sir Walter Rawleigh, who being Prisoner in the Tower, expecting every hour to be sacrificed to the Spanish cruelty, some few days before he suffered, he sent for Mr. Walter Burre, who had formerly printed his first Volume of of the History of the World, whom, taking by the hand, after some other discourse, he ask'd him, How that Work of his had sold? Mr. Burre returned this answer, That it sold so slowly, that it had undone him. At which words of his, Sir Walter Rawleigh stepping to his Desk, reaches the other part of his History, to Mr. Burre, which he had brought down to the times he lived in; clapping his hand on his breast, he took the other unprinted part of his Works into his hand with a sigh, saying, Ah my Friend, hath the first Part undone thee? The second Volume shall undo no more; this ungrateful World is unworthy of it; When immediately going to the fire-side he threw it in, and set his foot on it till it was consumed. As great a Loss to Learning as Christendom could have, or owned; for his first Volume after his death sold Thousands.

It may likewise be objected, That some of these Poets here mentioned, have been more famous in other kind of Studies than in Poetry, and therefore do not shine here as in their proper sphere of fame; but what then, shall their general knowledge debar them from a particular notice of their Abilities in this most excellent Art? Nor have we scarce any Poet excellent in all its Species thereof; some addicting themselves most to the Epick, some to the Dramatick, some to the Lyrick, other to the Elegiack, the Epænitick, the Bucolick, or the Epigram; under one of which all the whole circuit of Poetick Design is one way or other included.

Besides, should we have mentioned none but those who upon a strict scrutiny the Name of Poet doth belong unto, I fear me our number would fall much short of those which we have written; for as one writes, There are many that have a Fame deservedly for what they have writ, even in Poetry itself, who, if they come to the test, I question how well they would endure to open their Eagle-eyes against the Sun. But I shall wade no further in this Discourse, desiring you to accept of what is here written.

I remain

William Winstanley.

The Names of the Poets Mention'd in this Book.



Of the most Famous


FROM WILLIAM the Conqueror,
to these Present Times.

The Life of ROBERT of Glocester.

We will begin first with Robert of Glocester, so called, because a Monk of that City, who flourisht about the Reign of King Henry the Second; much esteemed by Mr. Cambden, who quotes divers of his old English Rhythms in praise of his Native Country, England. Some (who consider not the Learning of those times) term him a Rhymer, whilst others more courteously call him a Poet: Indeed his Language is such, that he is dumb in effect, to the Readers of our Age, without an Interpreter; which that ye may the better perceive, hear these his Verses of Mulmutius Dunwallo, in the very same Language he wrote them.

A Kynge there was in Brutayne Donwallo was his Nam,
Staleworth and hardy, a man of grete Fam:
He ordeyned furst yat theeues yat to Temple flowen wer,
No men wer so hardy to do hem despit ther;
That hath he moche such yhold, as hit begonne tho,
Hely Chyrch it holdeth yut, and wole ever mo.

Antiquaries (amongst whom Mr. Selden) more value him for his History than Poetry, his Lines being neither strong nor smooth, yet much informing in those things wherein he wrote; whereof to give you a taste of the first planting Religion in this Land by King Lucius,

Lucie Cocles Son after him Kynge was,
To fore hym in Engelonde Chrestendom non was,
For he hurde ofte miracles at Rome,
And in meny another stede, yat thurgh Christene men come,
He wildnede anon in hys herte to fonge Chrystendom.
Therefor Messagers with good Letters he nom,
That to the Pape Eleutherie hastelyche wende;
And yat he to hym and his menne expondem sende,
And yat he might seruy God wilned muche thereto,
And seyd he wald noght be glader hyt were ydo.

This English Rhymer or Poet, which you will have it to be, is said to have lived whilst he was a very old man, and to have died about the beginning of the Reign of King John.

RICHARD the Hermit.

Contemporary with Robert of Glocester, was one Richard, a Religious Hermit, whose Manuscripts were a while ago (and for ought I know, are still) kept in Exeter-Library, although Exeter-House in the Strand, is converted now into an Exchange: This Religious Hermit studied much in converting the Church-Service into English Verse; of which we shall give you an Essay in part of the Te Deum, and part of the Magnificat,

Te Deum.

We heryen ye God, we knowlechen ye Lord:
All ye erye worships ye everlasting fader:
Alle Aungels in hevens, and alle ye pours in yis world,
Cherubin and Seraphin cryen by voyce to ye unstyntyng.


My Soul worschips the Louerd, and my Gott joyed in God my hele
For he lokyd ye mekenes of hys hondemayden:
So for iken of yat blissefulle schall sey me all generacjouns;
For he has don to me grete thingis yat mercy is, and his nam hely.

He likewise translated all the Psalms of David, as also the Collects, Epistles and Gospels for the whole year, together with the Pater Noster and Creed; though there was then another Pater Noster and Creed used in the Church, sent into England by Adrian the Fourth, Pope of Rome, an Englishman, the Son of Robert Breakspeare of Abbots Langley in Hertfordshire, unto King Henry the Second; which (for variety sake) we shall give you as followeth:

Pater Noster.

Ure fader in hevene riche,
Thi nom be haliid everliche,
Thou bring us to thi michilblisce,
Thi wil to wirche thu us wille,
Als hit is in hevene ido
Ever in erth ben hit also,
That heli bred that lastyth ay,
Thou sende hious this ilke day,
Forgiv ous al that we hauith don,
Als we forgiu och oder mon,
He let ous falle in no founding,
Ak seilde ous fro the foul thing. Amen.

The Creed.

I Beleeve in God fader almigty, shipper of heven and erth,
And in Jhesus Crist his onle thi son vre Louerd,
That is iuange thurch the hooli Ghost, bore of Mary Maiden,
Tholede pine undyr Pounce Pilate, pitcht on rode tre, dead and yburiid.
Litcht into helle, the thridde day fro death arose,
Steich into hevene, sit on his fader richt hand God Almichty,
Then is cominde to deme the quikke and the dede,
I beleve in ye hooli Gost,
Alle hooli Chirche,
None of alle hallouen forgivenis of sine,
Fleiss uprising,
Lif withuten end. Amen.

When this Richard the Hermit died, we cannot find, but conjecture it to be about the middle of the Reign of King John, about the year 1208.

JOSEPH of Exeter.

Joseph of Exeter was born at the City of Exeter in Devonshire, he was also sirnamed Iscanus, from the River Isk, now called Esk, which running by that City, gave it formerly the denomination of Isca. This Joseph (faith my Author) was a Golden Poet in a Leaden Age, so terse and elegant were his Conceits and Expressions. In his younger years he accompanied King Richard the First, in his Expedition into the Holy Land, by which means he had the better advantage to celebrate, as he did, the Acts of that warlike Prince, in a Poem, entituled Antiochea. He also wrote six Books De Bello Trojano, in Heroick Verse, which, as the learned Cambden well observes, was no other then that Version of Dares Phyrgius into Latine Verse. Yet so well was it excepted, that the Dutchmen not long since Printed it under the name of Cornelius Nepos, an Author who lived in the time of Tully, and wrote many excellent pieces in Poetry, but upon a strict view of all his Works, not any such doth appear amongst them; they therefore do this Joseph great wrong in depriving him the honour of his own Works. He was afterwards, for his deserts, preferred to be Arch-bishop of Burdeaux, in the time of King John, about the year 1210.


This Michael Blaunpayn, otherwise sirnamed the Cornish Poet, or the Rymer, was born in Cornwall, and bred in Oxford and Paris, where he attained to a good proficiency in Learning, being of great fame and estimation in his time, out of whose Rymes for merry England as Cambden calls them, he quotes several passages in that most excellent Book of his Remains. It hapned one Henry of Normandy, chief Poet to our Henry the Third, had traduced Cornwall, as an inconsiderable Country, cast out by Nature in contempt into a corner of the land. Our Michael could not endure this Affront, but, full of Poetical fury, falls upon the Libeller; take a tast (little thereof will go far) of his strains.

Non opus est ut opus numere quibus est opulenta,
Et per quas inopes sustentat non ope lenta,
Piscibus & stanno nusquam tam fertilis ora.
We need not number up her wealthy store,
Wherewith this helpful Lands relieves her poor,
No Sea so full of Filh, of Tin, no shore.

Then, in a triumphant manner, he concludeth all with this Exhortation to his Countrymen:

Quid nos deterret? si firmiter in pede stemus,
Fraus ni nos superat, nihil est quod non superemus.
What should us fright, if firmly we do stand?
Bar fraud, and then no force can us command.

Yet his Pen was not so lushious in praising, but, when he listed, it was as bitter in railing, witness this his Satyrical Character of his aforesaid Antagonist.

Est tibi gamba capri, crus passeris, & latus Apri,
Os leporis, catuli nasus, dens & gena Muli,
Frons vetulæ, tauricaput, & color undique Mauri,
His argumentis quibus est argutia Mentis,
Quod non a Monstro differs, satis hic tibi monstro.
Gamb'd like a Goat, Sparrow-thigh'd, sides as a Boar,
Hare-mouth'd, Dog-nos'd, like Mule thy teeth and chin,
Brow'd as old wife, Bull headed, black as a More,
If such without, then what are you within?
By these my signs the wife will easily conster,
How little thou does differ from a Monster.

This Michael flourished in the time of King John, and Henry the Third.


Matthew Paris is acknowledged by all to be an Englishman saving only one or two wrangling Writers, who deserve to be arraigned of Felony for robbing our Country of its due; and no doubt Cambridgeshire was the County made happy by his birth, where the Name and Family of Paris is right ancient, even long before they were setled therein at Hildersham, wherein they still flourish, though much impaired for their Loyalty in the late times of Rebellion.

He was bred a Monk of St. Albans, living in that loose Age a very strict and severe life, never less idle than when he was alone; spending those hours, reserved from Devotion, in the sweet delights of Poetry, and laborious study of History, in both which he excelled all his Contemporaries: His skill also was excellent in Oratory and Divinity, as also in such manual Arts as lie in the Suburbs of the liberal Sciences, Painting, Graving, &c. so that we might sooner reckon up those things wherein he had no skill, as those wherein he was skilled: But his Genius chiefly disposed him for the writing of Histories, writing a large Chronicle with great Commendations from the Norman Conquest to the Year of our Lord 1250. where he concludes with this Distich:

Sifte tui metas studij, Matthæe, quietas
Nec ventura petas, quæ postera proferat atas.
Matthew, here cease thy Pen in peace, and study on no more,
Nor do thou rome at things to come, what next Age hath in store.

Yet, notwithstanding this resolution, he afterwards resumed that Work, continuing it to the Year 1259. a History impartially and judicially written, neither flattering any for their Greatness, nor sparing others for their Vices, no not so much as those of his own Profession; yet though he had sharp Nails, he had clean Hands, strict in his own, as well as linking at the loose conversation of others, and for his eminent austerity, was imployed by Pope Innocent the Fourth, not only to visit the Monks in the Diocess of Norwich but also was sent by him into Norway, to reform the Discipline in Holui, a fair Covent therein, but much corrupted.

His History was set forth with all integrity about a hundred years ago, by his namesake, Matthew Parker, (though some asperse it with a suspition of forgery) and afterwards in a latter and more exact Edition, by the care and industry of Doctor William Wats, and is at this present in great esteem amongst learned men.


This William Ramsey was born in Huntingtonshire, a County famous for the richest Benedictines Abbey in England; yet here he would not stay, but went to Crowland, where he prospered so well, that he became Abbot thereof. Bale saith he was a Natural Poet, and therefore no wonder if fault be found in the Feet of his Verses; but by his leave, he was also a good Scholar, and Arithmetician enough to make his Verse run in right Numbers.

This William wrote the Lives of St. Guthlake, St. Neots, St. Edmond the King, and divers others, all in Verse, which no doubt were very acceptable and praise-worthy in those times; but the greatest wonder of him, and which may seem a wonder indeed, was, that being a Poet, he paid the vast Debts of others, even forty thousand Marks for the engagement of his Covent, and all within the compass of eighteen Months, wherein he was Abbot of Crowland. This was a vast Sum in that Age, and would render it altogether incredible for a Poet to do, but that we find he had therein the assistance of King Henry the Second; who, to expiate the Blood of Becket, was contented to be melted into Coyn, and was prodigiously bountiful to many Churches as well as to this. He died about the year 1180.


Alexander Nequam, the learnedest Englishman of his Age, was born at St. Albans in Hartfordshire: His Name in English signifies Bad, which caused many, who thought themselves wondrous witty in making Jests, (which indeed made themselves) to pass several Jokes on his Sirname, whereof take this one instance: Nequam had a mind to become a Monk in St. Albans, the Town of his Nativity, and thus Laconically wrote for leave to the Abbot thereof;

Si vis, veniam, sin autem, tu autem.

To whom the Abbot returned,

Si bonus sis, venias, si nequam, nequaquam.

Whereupon for the future, to avoid the occasion of such Jokes, he altered his Name from Nequam, to Neckam.

His admirable knowledge in good Arts, made him famous throughout England, France, Italy, yea and the whole World, and that with incredible admiration, that he was called Miraculum ingenij, the Wonder and Miracle of Wit and Sapience. He was an exact Philosopher, and excellent Divine, an accurate Rhetorician, and an admirable Poet, as did appear by many his Writings which he left to posterity, some of which are mentioned by Bale.

That he was born at St. Albans, appears by a certain passage in one of his Latine Poems, cited by Mr. Cambden, and thus Englished by his Translatour, Doctor Holland.

This is the place that knowledge took of my Nativity,
My happy Years, my Days also of Mirth and Jollity.
This Place my Childhood trained up in all Arts liberal,
And laid the ground-work of my Name, and skill Poetical.
This Place great and renowned Clerks into the World hath sent;
For Martyr bless'd, for Nation, for Sight, all excellent.
A troop here of Religious Men serve Christ both night and day,
In Holy Warfare, taking pains duly to watch and pray.

He is thought by some, saith Bale, to have been a Canon Regular, and to have been preferred to the Abbotship of Glocester, as the Continuater of Robert of Glocester will have it.

And Master Alisander that Chanon was er
Imaked was of Gloucestre Abbot thulk yer.
Viz. 7 Reg. Regis Johannis.

But this may be understood of Alexander Theologus, who was contempory with him: and was Abbot of St. Maries in Cirencester at the time of his death.

Bishop Godwin, in his Catalogue of the Bishops of Lincoln, maketh mention of a passage of wit betwixt him and Phillip Repington Bishop of Lincoln, the latter sending the Challenge.

Et niger & Nequam cum sis cognomine Nequam,
Nigrior esse potes, Nequior esse nequis.
Both black and bad, whilest Bad the name to thee,
Blacker thou may'st, but worse thou canst not be.

To whom Nequam rejoyned,

Phi not a foetoris, Lippus malus omnibus horis,
Phi malus & Lippus, totus malus ergo Philippus.
Stinks are branded with a Phi, Lippus Latin for blear-eye,
Phi and Lippus bad as either, then Philippus worse together.

A Monk of St. Albans made this Hexameter allusively to his Name:

Dictus erat Nequam, vitam duxit tamen aquam.

The Elogy he bestoweth on that most Christian Emperor Constantine the Great, must not be forgot:

From Colchester there rose a Star,
The Rays whereof gave Glorious Light
Throughout the world in Climates far,
Great Constantine, Romes Emperor bright.

He was (saith one) Canon of Exeter, and (upon what occasion is not known,) came to be buried at Worcester, with this Epitaph,

Eclipsim patitur Sapientia, Sol sepelitur,
Cui si par unus, minus esset flebile funus;
Vir bene discretus, & in omni more facetus,
Dictus erat Nequam, vitam duxit tamen æquam.
Wisdom's eclips'd, Sky of the Sun bereft;
Yet less the loss if like alive were left;
A man discreet, in matters debonair,
Bad Name, black Face, but Carriage good and fair.

Yet others say he was buried at St. Albans (where he found repulse when living, but repose when dead) with this Epitaph,

Alexander, cognomento Nequam, Abbas Cirecestriæ, Literarum scientia clarus, obiit Anno Dom. 1217. Lit. Dom. C. prid. Cal. Feb. & sepultus erat apud Fanum S. Albani, sujus Animæ propitietur altissimus, Amen.


This Alexander was born in Staffordshire, say some; in Somersetshire, say others; for which, each County might strive as being a Jewel worth the owning, being reckoned among the chief of English Poets and Orators of that Age. He in imitation of Ovid de Fastis, put our Christian Festivals into Verse, setting a Copy therein to Baptista Mantuan. Then leaving Ovid, he aspired to Virgil, and wrote the History of the Bible, (with the Lives of some Saints,) in an Heroical Poem, which he performed even to admiration; and though he fell short in part of Virgil's lofty style, yet went he beyond himself therein. He afterward became Prior of Esseby-Abbey, belonging to the Augustines, and flourished under King Henry the Third, Anno Dom. 1220.


Robert Baston was born not far from Nottingham, and bred a Carmelite Frier at Scarborough in Yorkshire: He was of such great Fame in Poetry, that King Edward the Second, in his Scotish Expedition pitcht upon him to be the Celebrater of his Heroick Acts; when being taken Prisoner by the Scots, he was forced by Torments to change his Note, and represent all things to the advantage of Robert Bruce, who then claimed the Crown of Scotland: This Task he undertook full sore against his will, as he thus intimates in the two first Lines.

In dreery Verse my Rymes I make,
Bewailing whilest such Theme I take.

Besides his Poem De Belle Strivilensi, there was published of his writing a Book of Tragedies, with other Poems of various Subjects.


Henry Bradshaw was born in the City of Chester, and bred a Benedictine Monk in the Monastery of St. Werburg; the Life of which Saint he wrote in Verse, as also (saith my Author) a no bad Chronicle, though following therein those Authors, who think it the greatest Glory of a Nation to fetch their Original from times out of mind. Take a Taste of his Poetry in what he wrote concerning the Original of the City of Chester, in these words;

The Founder of this City, as saith Polychronicon,
Was Leon Gawer, a mighty strong Gyant,
Which builded Caves and Dungeons many a one,
No goodly Building, ne proper, ne pleasant.
But King Leir, a Britain fine and valiant,
Was Founder of Chester by pleasant Building,
And was named Guer Leir by the King.

These Lines, considering the Age he lived in, (which Arnoldus Vion saith, was about the Year 1346.) may pass with some praise, but others say he flourished a Century of years afterwards, viz. 1513. which if so, they are hardly to be excused, Poetry being in that time much refined; but whensoever he lived, Bale saith, he was (the Diamond in the Ring) Pro ea ipsa ætate, admodum pius.


Should we forget the learned Havillan, our Book would be thought to be imperfect, so terse and fluent was his Verse, of which we shall give you two Examples, the one out of Mr. John Speed his Description of Devonshire, speaking of the arrival of Brute.

The God's did guide his Sail and Course, the Winds were at command,
And Totness was the happy shore where first he came on land.

The other out of Mr. Weever his Funeral Monuments in the Parish of St. Aldermanbury in London, speaking of Cornwal.

There Gyants whilome dwelt, whose Clothes were skins of Beasts;
Whose Drink was Blood; Whose Cups, to serve for use at Feasts,
Were made of hollow Wood; Whose Beds were bushy Thorns;
And Lodgings rocky Caves, to shelter them from Storms;
Their Chambers craggy Rocks; their Hunting found them Meat.
To vanquish and to kill, to them was pleasure great.
Their violence was rule; with rage and fury led,
They rusht into the fight, and fought hand over head.
Their Bodies were interr'd behind some bush or brake,
To bear such monstrous Wights, the earth did grone and quake.
These pestred most the Western Tract; more fear made thee agast,
O Cornwall, utmost door that art to let in Zephyrus blast.


John Gower, whom some make to be a Knight, though Stow, in his survey of London, unknighteth him, and saith he was only an Esquire; however he was born of a knightly Family, at Stitenham in the North-Riding in Bulmore-Wapentake in Yorkshire. He was bred in London a Student of the Laws, but having a plentiful Estate, and prizing his pleasure above his profit, he quitted Pleading to follow Poetry, being the first refiner of our English Tongue, effecting much, but endeavouring more therein, as you may perceive by the difference of his Language, with that of Robert of Glocester, who lived in the time of King Richard the First, which notwithstanding was accounted very good in those days.

This our Gower was contemporary with the famous Poet Geoffry Chaucer, both excellently learned, both great friends together, and both alike endeavour'd themselves and employed their time for the benefit of their Country. And what an account Chaucer had of this our Gower and of his Parts, that which he wrote in the end of his Work, entituled Troilus & Cressida, do sufficiently testifie, where he saith,

O marvel, Gower, this Book I direct
To thee, and to the Philosophical Strode.
To vouchsafe, there need is, to correct
Of your benignitees and zeles good.

Bale makes him Equitem Auratum & Poetam Laureatum, proving both from his Ornaments on his Monumental Statue in St. Mary Overies Southwark. Yet he appeareth there neither laureated nor hederated Poet, (except the leaves of the Bays and Ivy be wither'd to nothing, since the erection of the Tomb) but only rosated, having a Chaplet of four Roses about his Head, yet was he in great respect both with King Henry the Fourth, and King Richard the Second, at whose request he wrote his Book called Confessio Amantis, as he relateth in his Prologue to the same Book, in these words,

As it befell upon a tide,
As thing, which should tho betide,
Under the town of New Troie,
Which toke of Brute his first ioye,
In Themese, when it was flowende,
As I by Bote came rowende;
So as fortune hir tyme sette,
My leige Lord perchance I mette,
And so befelle as I cam nigh,
Out of my Bote, when he me sigh,
He bad me come into his Barge,
And when I was with him at large,
Amonges other things seyde,
He hath this charge upon me leyde,
And bad me doe my businesse,
That to his high worthinesse,
Some newe thynge I should boke,
That he hymselfe it might loke,
After the forme of my writynge,
And this upon his commandynge
Myne herte is well the more glad
To write so as he me bad.
And eke my fear is well the lasse,
That none enuie shall compasse,
Without a reasonable wite
To seige and blame that I write,
A gentill hert his tongue stilleth,
That it malice none distilleth,
But preiseth that is to be preised,
But he that hath his word unpeised,
And handleth with ronge any thynge,
I praie unto the heuen kynge,
Froe such tonges he me shilde,
And nethelesse this worlde is wilde,
Of such ianglinge and what befall,
My kinges heste shall not faile,
That I in hope to deserue
His thonke, ne shall his will observe,
And els were I nought excused.

He was before Chaucer, as born and flourishing before him, (yea, by some accounted his Master) yet was he after Chaucer, as surviving him two years, living to be stark blind, and so more properly termed our English Homer. His death happened Anno 1402. and was buried at St. Mary Overies in Southwark, on the North side of the said Church, in the Chappel of St. John, where he founded a Chauntry, and left Means for a Mass, (such was the Religion of those times) to be daily sung for him, as also an Obit within the same Church to be kept on Friday after the Feast of St. Gregory. He lieth under a Tomb of stone, with his Image also of stone over him, the hair of his head auburn long to his shoulders, but curling up, and a small forked beard; on his head a Chaplet, like a Coronet of four Roses; an habit of purple, damasked down to his feet, a Collar of Esses of Gold about his neck, which being proper to places of Judicature, makes some think he was a Judge in his old age. Under his feet the likeness of three Books, which he compiled, the first named Speculum Meditantis, written in French: the second, Vox Clamantis, penned in Latine: the third, Confessio Amantis, written in English, which was Printed by Thomas Berthelette, and by him dedicated to King Henry the Eighth, of which I have one by me at this present. His Vox Clamantis with his Cronica Tripartita, and other Works both in Latine and French, Stow saith he had in his possession, but his Speculum Meditantis he never saw, but heard thereof to be in Kent.

Besides, on the Wall where he lieth, there was painted three Virgins crowned, one of which was named Charity, holding this device,

En toy qui es fitz de Dieu le Pere,
Sauue soit, qui gist sours cest pierre.

The second Writing Mercy, with this Decree,

O bone Jesu fait ta mercy,
Al' ame, dont le corps gisticy.

The third Writing Pity, with this device,

Pour ta pite Jesu regarde,
Et met cest a me en sauue garde.

And thereby formerly hung a Table, wherein was written, That whoso prayed for the Soul of John Gower, so oft as he did it, should have a M. and D. days of pardon.

His Arms were in a Field Argent, on a Cheveron Azure, three Leopards heads gold, their tongues Gules, two Angels supporters, on the Crest a Talbot.

His Epitaph.

Armigeri Scultum nihil a modo fert sibi tutum,
Reddidit immolutum morti generale tributum,
Spiritus exutum se gaudeat esse solutum
Est ubi virtutum Regnum sine labe statutum.

All I shall add is this, That about fifty years ago there lived at Castle-Heningham in Essex, a School-master named John Gower, who wrote a witty Poem, called the Castle Combate, which was received in that Age with great applause.


Three several Places contend for the Birth of that famous Poet. 1. Berkshire, from the words of Leland, that he was born in Barocensiprovincia; and Mr. Cambden avoweth that Dunington-Castle nigh unto Newbery, was anciently his Inheritance. 2. Oxfordshire, where J. Pits is positive that his Father was a Knight, and that he was born at Woodstock. 3. The Author of his Life, set forth 1602. proveth him born in London, out of these his own words in the Testament of Love.

Also in the City of London, that is to me so dear and sweet, in which I was forth grown, and more kindly love have I to that place, than any other in yerth, as every kindely creature hath full appetite to that place of his kindly ingendure, and to wilne rest and peace in that stede to abide, thilke peace should thus there have been broken, which of all wise men is commended and desired.

For his Parentage, although Bale writes, he termeth himself Galfridus Chaucer nobili loco natus, & fummæ spei juvenis; yet in the opinion of some Heralds (otherwise than his Virtues and Learning commended him) he descended not of any great House, which they gather by his Arms: And indeed both in respect of the Name, which is French, as also by other Conjectures, it may be gathered, that his Progenitors were Strangers; but whether they were Merchants (for that in places where they have dwelled, the Arms of the Merchants of the Staple have been seen in the Glass-windows) or whether they were of other Callings, it is not much necessary to search; but wealthy no doubt they were, and of good account in the Commonwealth, who brought up their Son in such sort, that both he was thought fit for the Court at home, and to be employed for Matters of State in Foreign Countries.

His Education, as Leland writes, was in both the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, as appeareth by his own words, in his Book Entituled The Court of Love: And in Oxford by all likelihood, in Canterbury or in Merton Colledge, improving his Time in the University, he became a witty Logician, a sweet Rhetorician, a grave Philosopher, a holy Divine, a skilful Mathematician, and a pleasant Poet; of whom, for the Sweetness of his Poetry, may be said that which is reported of Stesichorus; and as Cethegus was called Suadæ Medulla, so may Chaucer be rightly called the Pith and Sinews of Eloquence, and the very Life it self of all Mirth and pleasant Writing. Besides, one Gift he had above other Authors, and that is, by the Excellencies of his Descriptions to possess his Readers with a stronger imagination of seeing that done before their eyes which they read, than any other that ever writ in any Tongue. But above all, his Book of Canterbury-Tales, is most recommended to Posterity, which he maketh to be spoken by certain Pilgrims who lay at the Tabard-Inn in Southwark as he declareth in the beginning of his said Book.

It befell in that season, on a day,
In Southwark, at the Tabert as I lay,
Ready to wend on my pilgrimage
To Canterbury, with full devout courage;
That night was comen into the Hosterie,
Well nine and twenty in a companie,
Of sundry folke, by adventure yfall
In fellowship, and Pilgrims were they all,
That toward Canterbury woulden ride;
The Stables and Chambers weren wide,
And well wee were eased at the best, &c.

By his Travel also in France and Flanders, where he spent much time in his young years, but more in the latter end of the Reign of King Richard the Second; he attained to a great perfection in all kind of Learning, as Bale and Leland report of him: Circa postremos Richardi Secundi annos, Galliis floruit, magnamque illic ex assidua in Literis exercitatione gloriam sibi comparavit. Domum reversus Forum Londinense; & Collegia Leguleiorum, qui ibidem Patria Jura interpretantur frequentavit, &c. About the latter end of King Richard the Second's Days, he flourished in France, and got himself into high esteem there by his diligent exercise in Learning: After his return home, he frequented the Court at London, and the Colledges of the Lawyers, which there interpreted the Laws of the Land. Amongst whom was John Gower, his great familiar Friend, whose Life we wrote before. This Gower, in his Book entituled Confessio Amantis, termeth Chaucer a worthy Poet, and maketh him as it were the Judge of his Works.

This our Chaucer had always an earnest desire to enrich and beautifie our English Tongue, which in those days was very rude and barren; and this he did, following the example of Dantes and Petrarch. who had done the same for the Italian Tongue, Alanus for the French, and Johannes Mea for the Spanish: Neither was Chaucer inferior to any of them in the performance hereof; and England in this respect is much beholding to him; as Leland well noteth:

Anglia Chaucerum veneratur nostra Poetam;
Cui veneris debet Patria Lingua suas.
Our England honoureth Chaucer Poet, as principal;
To whom her Country-Tongue doth owe her Beauties all.

He departed out of this world the 25th. day of October 1400, after he had lived about seventy two years. Thus writeth Bale out of Leland, Chaucerus ad Canos devenit, sensitque Senectutem morbum esse; & dum Causas suas Londini curaret, &c. Chaucer lived till he was an old man, and found old Age to be grievous; and whilst he followed his Causes at London, he died, and was buried at Westminster.

The old Verses which were written on his Grave at the first, were these;

Galfridus Chaucer, Vates & Fama Poesis,
Maternæ hæc sacra sum tumulatus humo.

Thomas Occleue, or Okelefe, of the Office of the Privy Seal, sometime Chaucer's Scholar, for the love he bore to the said Geoffrey his Master, caused his Picture to be truly drawn in his Book, De Regimine Principis, dedicated to Henry the Fifth; according to which, that his Picture drawn upon his Monument was made, as also the Monument it self, at the Cost and Charges of Nicolas Brigham Gentleman, Anno 1555. who buried his Daughter Rachel, a Child of four years of Age, near to the Tomb of this old Poet, the 21th. of June 1557. Such was his Love to the Muses; and on his Tomb these Verses were inscribed:

Qui fuit Anglorum Vates ter maximus olim,
Galfridus Chaucer, conditur hoc Tumulo,
Annum si quæras Domini, si tempora Mortis,
Ecce notæ subsunt, quæ tibi cuncta notant
25 Octobris 1400.
Ærumnarum requies Mors.
N. Brigham hos fecit Musarum nomine sumptus.

About the Ledge of the Tomb these Verses were written;

Si rogitas quis eram, forsante Fama docebit,
Quod si Fama negat, Mundi quia Gloria transit,
Hæc Monumenta lege.

The foresaid Thomas Occleve, under the Picture of Chaucer, had these Verses:

Although his Life be queint, the resemblance
Of him that hath in me so fresh liveliness,
That to put other men in remembrance
Of his Person I have here the likeness
Do make, to the end in Soothfastness,
That they that of him have lost thought and mind,
By this peniture may again him find.

In his foresaid Book, De Regimine Principis, he thus writes of him:

But welaway is mine heart wo,
That the honour of English Tongue is dead;
Of which I wont was counsaile haue and reed:
O Master dere, and Fadre reuerent:
My Master Chaucer Floure of Eloquence,
Mirror of fructuous entendement:
O vniuersal fadre of Science:
Alas that thou thine excellent Prudence
In thy Bed mortal mightest not bequeath.
What eyl'd Death, alas why would she the fle?
O Death, thou didst not harm singler in slaughter of him,
But all the Land it smerteth;
But natheless yet hast thou no power his name flee,
But his vertue afterteth
Unslain fro thee; which ay us lifely herteth,
With Books of his ornat enditing,
That is to all this Land enlumining.

In another place of his said Book, he writes thus;

Alas my worthy Maister honourable,
This Land's very Treasure and Richess!
Death by thy Death hath harm irreparable
Unto us done: her vengeable duress
Dispoiled hath this Land of the sweetness
Of Rhetorige; for unto Tullius
Was never man so like among us:
Also who was here in Philosophy
To Aristotle, in our Tongue, but thee?
The Steps of Virgil in Poesie,
Thou suedst eken men know well enough,
What combre world that thee my Master slough
Would I slaine were.

John Lidgate likewise in his Prologue of Bocchas, of the Fall of Princes, by him translated, saith thus in his Commendation:

My Master Chaucer, with his fresh Comedies,
Is dead alas, chief Poet of Brittaine,
That whilom made full pitous Tradgedies,
The faule of Princes he did complaine,
As he that was of making Soveraine;
Whom all this Land should of right preferre
Sith of our Language he was the load-sterre.

Also in his Book which he writeth of the Birth of the Virgin Mary, he hath these Verses.

And eke my Master Chaucer now is in grave,
The noble Rhetore, Poet of Britaine,
That worthy was the Laurel to have
Of Poetry, and the Palm attaine,
That made first to distill and raine
The Gold dew drops of Speech and Eloquence,
Into our Tongue through his Eloquence.

That excellent and learned Scottish Poet Gawyne Dowglas Bishop of Dunkeld, in the Preface of Virgil's Eneados turned into Scottish Verse, doth thus speak of Chaucer;

Venerable Chaucer, principal Poet without pere,
Heavenly Trumpet, orloge, and regulere,
In Eloquence, Baulme, Conduct, and Dyal,
Milkie Fountaine, Cleare Strand, and Rose Ryal,
Of fresh endite through Albion Island brayed
In his Legend of Noble Ladies fayed.

And as for men of latter time, Mr.Ascham and Mr. Spenser have delivered most worthy Testimonies of their approving of him. Mr.Ascham, in one place calleth him English Homer, and makes no doubt to say, that he valueth his Authority of as high estimation as he did either Sophocles or Euripides in Greek. And in another place, where he declareth his Opinion of English Versifying, he useth these Words; Chaucer and Petrark those two worthy Wits, deserve just praise. And last of all, in his Discourse of Germany, he putteth him nothing behind either Thucydides or Homer, for his lively Descriptions of Site of Places, and Nature of Persons, both in outward Shape of Body, and inward Disposition of Mind; adding this withal, That not the proudest that hath written in any Tongue whatsoever, for his time hath outstript him.

Mr. Spenser in his first Eglogue of his Shepherds Kalendar, calleth him Tityrus, the God of Shepherds, comparing him to the worthiness of the Roman Tityrus, Virgil. In his Fairy Queen, in his Discourse of Friendship, as thinking himself most worthy to be Chaucer's friend, for his like natural disposition that Chaucer had; he writes, That none that lived with him, nor none that came after him, durst presume to revive Chaucer's lost labours in that imperfect Tale of the Squire, but only himself: which he had not done, had he not felt (as he saith) the infusion of Chaucer's own sweet Spirit surviving within him. And a little before, he calls him the most Renowned and Heroical Poet, and his Writings the Works of Heavenly Wit; concluding his commendation in this manner:

Dan Chaucer well of English undefiled,
On Fames eternal Bead-roll worthy to be filed;
I follow here the footing of thy feet,
That with thy meaning so I may the rather meet.

Mr. Cambden, reaching one hand to Mr. Ascham, and the other to Mr. Spenser, and so drawing them together, uttereth of him these words, De Homero nostro Anglico illud vere asseram, quod de Homero eruditus ille Italus dixit.

——Hic ille est, cujus de gurgite sacro,
Combibit arcanos vatum omnis turba furores.

The deservingly honoured Sir Philip Sidney, in his Defence of Poesie, thus writeth of him, Chaucer undoubtedly did excellently in his Troylus and Crescid, of whom truly I know not whether to marvel more, either that he in that misty time could see so clearly or we in this clear age walk so stumblingly after him. And Doctor Heylin, in his elaborate Description of the World, ranketh him in the first place of our chiefest Poets. Seeing therefore that both old and new Writers have carried this reverend conceit of him, and openly declared the same by writing, let us conclude with Horace in the eighth Ode of his fourth Book;

Dignum Laudi causa vetut mori.

The Works of this famous Poet, were partly published in Print by William Caxton, Mercer, that first brought the incomparable Art of Printing into England, which was in the Reign of King Henry the Sixth. Afterward encreased by William Thinne, Esq; in the time of King Henry the Eighth. Afterwards, in the year 1561. in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, Corrected and Encreased by John Stow; And a fourth time, with many Amendments, and an Explanation of the old and obscure Words, by Mr. Thomas Speight, in Anna 1597. Yet is he said to have written many considerable Poems, which are not in his publish'd Works, besides the Squires Tale, which is said to be compleat in Arundel-house Library.


John Lydgate was born in a Village of the same name, not far off St. Edmondsbury, a Village (saith Cambden) though small, yet in this respect not to be passed over in silence, because it brought into the World John Lydgate the Monk, whose Wit may seem to have been framed and fashioned by the very Muses themselves: so brightly reshine in his English Verses, all the pleasant graces and elegancy of Speech, according to that Age. After some time spent in our English Universities, he travelled through France and Italy, improving his time to his great accomplishment, in learning the Languages and Arts; Erat autem non solum elegans Poeta, & Rhetor disertus, verum etiam Mathematicus expertus, Philosophus acutus, & Theologus non contemnendus: he was not only an elegant Poet, and an eloquent Rhetorician, but also an expert Mathematician, an acute Philosopher, and no mean Divine, saith Pitseus. After his return, he became Tutor to many Noblemens Sons, and both in Prose and Poetry was the best Author of his Age, for if Chaucer's Coin were of greater Weight for deeper Learning, Lydgate's was of a more refined Stantard for purer Language; so that one might mistake him for a modern Writer. But because none can so well describe him as himself, take an Essay of his Verses, out of his Life and Death of Hector, pag. 316 and 317.

I am a Monk by my profession,
In Berry, call'd John Lydgate by my name,
And wear a habit of perfection;
(Although my life agree not with the same)
That meddle should with things spiritual,
As I must needs confess unto you all.
But seeing that I did herein proceed
[A]At his command, whom I could not refuse,
I humbly do beseech all those that read,
Or leisure have, this story to peruse,
If any fault therein they find to be,
Or error, that committed is by me;
That they will of their gentleness take pain,
The rather to correct and mend the same,
Than rashly to condemn it with disdain,
For well I wot it is not without blame,
Because I know the Verse therein is wrong,
As being some too short and some too long.
For Chaucer, that my Master was, and knew
What did belong to writing Verse and Prose,
Ne're stumbled at small faults, nor yet did view
With scornful eye the Works and Books of those
That in his time did write, nor yet would taunt
At any man, to fear him or to daunt.

[A] Hen. 5.

Now if you would know further of him, hear him in his Prologue to the Story of Thebes, a Tale (as his Fiction is) which (or some other) he was constrained to tell, at the command of mine Host of the Tabard in Southwark, whom he found in Canterbury, with the rest of the Pilgrims which went to visit Saint Thomas shrine.

This Story was first written in Latine by Geoffry Chaucer, and translated by Lydgate into English Verse, but of the Prologue of his own making, so much as concerns himself, thus:

——While that the Pilgrims lay
At Canterbury, well lodged one and all,
I not in sooth what I may it call,
Hap or fortune, in conclusioun,
That me befell to enter into the Toun,
The holy Sainte plainly to visite,
After my sicknesse, vows to acquite.
In a Cope of blacke, and not of greene,
On a Palfrey slender, long, and lene,
With rusty Bridle, made not for the sale,
My man to forne with a voyd Male,
That by Fortune tooke my Inne anone
Where the Pilgrimes were lodged everichone,
The same time her governour the host
Stonding in Hall, full of wind and bost,
Liche to a man wonder sterne and fers,
Which spake to me, and said anon Dan Pers,
Dan Dominick, Dan Godfray, or Clement,
Ye be welcome newly into Kent:
Thogh your bridle have nother boos ne bell;
Beseeching you, that ye will tell
First of your name, and what cuntre
Without more shortly that ye be,
That looke so pale, all devoid of bloud,
Upon your head a wonder thred-bare Hood,
Well arrayed for to ride late:
I answered my Name was Lydgate
Monke of Bury, me fifty yeare of age,
Come to this Town to do my Pilgrimage
As I have hight, I have thereof no shame:
Dan John (quoth he) well brouke ye your name,
Thogh ye be sole, beeth right glad and light,
Praying you to soupe with us this night;
And ye shall have made at your devis,
A great Pudding, or a round hagis,
A Franche Moile, a Tanse, or a Froise,
To been a Monk slender is your [A]coise,
Ye have been sick I dare mine head assure,
Or let feed in a faint pasture.
Lift up your head, be glad, take no sorrow,
And ye should ride home with us to morrow,
I say, when ye rested have your fill.
After supper, sleep will doen none ill,
Wrap well your head, clothes round about,
Strong nottie Ale will make a man to rout;
Take a Pillow, that ye lye not low;
If nede be, spare not to blow;
To hold wind, by mine opinion,
Will engender colles passion,
And make men to greven on her [B]rops,
When they have filled her maws and her crops;
But toward night, eate some Fennell rede,
Annis, Commin, or Coriander-seed,
And like as I have power and might,
I charge you rise not at midnight,
Thogh it be so the Moon shine clere,
I will my self be your [C]Orlogere,
To morrow early, when I see my time,
For we will forth parcel afore prime,
Accompanie [D]parde shall do you good.

[A] Countenance.

[B] Guts.

[C] Clock.

[D] Verily.

But I have digressed too far: To return therefore unto Lydgate. Scripsit partim Anglice, partim Latine; partim Prosa, partim Versu Libros numero plures, eruditione politissimos. He writ (saith my Author) partly English, partly Latine; partly in Prose, and partly in Verse, many exquisite learned Books, saith Pitseus, which are mentioned by him and Bale, as also in the latter end of Chaucer's Works; the last Edition, amongst which are Eglogues, Odes, Satyrs, and other Poems. He flourished in the Reign of Henry the Sixth, and departed this world (aged about 60 years) circiter An. 1440. and was buried in his own Convent at Bury, with this Epitaph,

Mortuus sæclo, superis Superstes,
Hic jacet Lydgate tumulætus Urna:
Qui fuit quondam celebris Britannæ
Fama Poesis.
Dead in this World, living above the Sky,
Intomb'd within this Urn doth Lydgate lie;
In former time fam'd for his Poetry,
All over England.


John Harding, our Famous English Chronologer, was born (saith Bale) in the Northern parts, and most likely in Yorkshire, being an Esquire of an eminent Parentage. He was a man equally addicted to Arms and Arts, spending his Youth in the one, and his Age in the other: His first Military Employment was under Robert Umfreuil, Governor of Roxborough-Castle, where he did good Service against the Scots. Afterwards he followed the Standard of King Edward the Fourth, to whom he valiantly and faithfully adhered, not only in the Sun-shine of his Prosperity, but also in his deepest Distress.

But what endeared him the most to his Favour, and was indeed the Masterpiece of his Service, was his adventuring into Scotland; a desperate Attempt, and performed not without the manifest hazarding of his Life; where he so cunningly demeaned himself, and insinuated himself so far into their Favour, as he got a sight of their Records and Original Letters; a Copy of which he brought with him to England, and presented the same to King Edward the Fourth: Out of these he collected a History of the several Submissions, and sacred Oaths of Fealty openly taken from the time of King Athelstane, by the Kings of Scotland; to the Kings of England, for the Crown of Scotland; a Work which was afterwards made much use of by the English; although the Scotch Historians stickle with might and main, that such Homage was performed only for the County of Cumberland, and some parcel of Land their Kings had in England South of Tweed.

Now as his Prose was very useful, so was his Poetry as much delightful; writing a Chronicle of our English Kings from Brute to King Edward the Fourth, and that in English Verse; for which he was accounted one cf the chiefest Poets of his time; being so exactly done, that by it Dr. Fuller adjudges him to have drunk as deep a draught of Helicon as any in his Age: And another saying, that by the fame he deservedly claimed a Seat amongst the chiefest of the Poetical Writers.

But to give you the better view of his Poetical Abilities, I shall present you with some of his Chronicle-Verse, concerning the sumptuous Houshold kept by King Richard the Second, cap. 193.

Truly I herd Robert Ireleffe say,
Clarke of the Green-cloth, and that to the houshold
Came every daye, forth most part alway
Ten thousand folke, by his Messes told,
That followed the hous aye as thei wold.
And in the Kechin, three hundred Seruitours,
And in eche Office many Occupiours.
And Ladies faire, with their Gentleweomen
Chamberers also and Lauenders,
Three hundred of theim were occupied then;
There was great pride emong the Officers,
And of all men far passing their compeers;
Of rich arraye, and much more costeus,
Then was before, or sith, and more precious, &c.

This our Poet Harding was living Anno 1461. being then very aged; and is judged to have survived not long after.


Robert Fabian was born and bred in London as witnesseth Bale and Pits; becoming one of the Rulers thereof, being chosen Sheriff, Anno 1493. He spent his time which he had spare from publick Employments, for the benefit of posterity; writing two large Chronicles: the one from Brute to the Death of King Henry the Second; the other, from the First of King Richard, to the Death of Henry the Seventh. He was (saith my Author) of a merry disposition, and used to entertain his Guests as well with good Discourse as good Victuals: He bent his Mind much to the Study of Poetry; which according to those times, passed for currant. Take a touch of his Abilities in the Prologue to the second Volume of his Chronicle of England and France.

Now would I fayne,
In words playne,
Some Honour sayne,
And bring to mynde;
Of that auncient Cytye,
That so goodly is to se,
And full true ever hath be,
And also full kynde,
To Prince and Kynge
That hath borne just rulynge,
Syn the first winnynge
of this Hand by Brute.
So that in great honour
By passynge of many a showre,
It hath euer borne the flowre;
And laudable Brute, &c.

These Verses were made for the Honour of London; which he calleth Ryme Dogerel, and at the latter end thereof, excuseth himself to the Reader in these words:

Who so him lyketh these Versys to rede,
With favour I pray he will theym spell;
Let not the rudenes of theym hym lede
For to dispraue thys Ryme Dogerell:
Some part of the honour it doth you tell
Of this old Cytye Troynouant;
But not thereof the halfe dell;
Connyng in the Maker is so adaunt:
But though he had the Eloquence
Of Tully, and the Moralytye
Of Seneck, and the Influence
Of the swyte sugred Armony,
Or that faire Ladye Caliope,
Yet had he not connyng perfyght,
This Citye to prayse in eche degre
As that shulde duely aske by ryght.

Sir John Suckling, a prime Wit of his Age, in the Contest betwixt the Poets for the Lawrel, maketh Apollo to adjudge it to an Alderman of London; in these words;

He openly declar'd it was the best sign
Of good store of Wit, to have good store of Coyne,
And without a syllable more or less said,
He put the Lawrel on the Alderman's Head.

But had the Scene of this Competition been laid a hundred and fifty years ago, and the same remitted to the Umpirage of Apollo, in sober sadness he would have given the Lawrel to this our Alderman.

He died at London, Anno 1511, and was buried at St. Michael's Church in Cornhil, with this Epitaph;

Like as the Day his Course doth consume,
And the new Morrow springeth again as fast;
So Man and Woman by Natures custom
This Life do pass; at last in Earth are cast,
In Joy and Sorrow, which here their Time do wast,
Never in one state, but in course transitory,
So full of change is of the World the Glory.

Dr. Fuller observeth, That none hath worse Poetry than Poets on their Monuments; certainly there is no Rule without Exceptions; he himself instancing to the contrary in his England's Worthies, by Mr. Drayton's Epitaph, and several others.


John Skelton, the Poet Laureat in his Age, tho' now accounted only a Rhymer, is supposed to have been born in Norfolke, there being an ancient Family of that Name therein; and to make it the more probable, he himself was Beneficed therein at Dis in that County. That he was Learned, we need go no further than to Erasmus for a Testimony; who, in his Letter to King Henry the Eighth, stileth him, Britanicarum Literarum Lumen & Decus. Indeed he had Scholarship enough, and Wit too much: Ejus Sermo (saith Pitz.) salsus in mordacem, risus in opprobrium, jocus in amaritudinem. Whoso reads him, will find he hath a miserable, loose, rambling Style, and galloping measure of Verse: yet were good poets so scarce in his Age, that he had the good fortune to be chosen Poet Laureat, as he stiles himself in his Works, The Kings Orator, and Poet Laureat.

His chief Works, as many as can be collected, and that out of an old Printed Book, are these; Philip Sparrow, Speak Parrot, The Death of King Edward the Fourth, A Treatise of the Scots, Ware the Hawk, The Tunning of Elianer Rumpkin: In many of which, following the humor of the ancientest of our Modern Poets, he takes a Poetical Liberty of being Satyrical upon the Clergy, as brought him under the Lash of Cardinal Woolsey, who so persecuted him, that he was forced to take Sanctuary at Westminster, where Abbot Islip used him with much respect. In this Restraint he died, June 21, 1529. and was buried in St. Margaret's Chappel, with this Epitaph;

J. Sceltanus Vates Pierius hic situs est.

We must not forget, how being charg'd by some on his Death-bed for begetting many Children on a Concubine which he kept, he protested, that in his Conscience he kept her in the notion of a Wife, though such his cowardliness, that he would rather confess Adultery, than own Marriage, the most punishable at that time.


To this John Scelton, we shall next present you with the Life of his Contemporary and great Antagonist William Lillie, born at Odiham, a great Market-Town in Hantshire; who to better his knowledge, in his youth travelled to the City of Jerusalem, where having satisfied his curiosity in beholding those sacred places where on our Saviour trode when he was upon the Earth; he returned homewards, making some stay at Rhodes, to study Greek. Hence he went to Rome, where he heard John Sulpitius and Pomponius Sabinus, great Masters of Latine in those days. At his return home, Doctor John Collet had new builded a fair School at the East-end of St. Paul's, for 153 poor mens Children, to be taught free in the same School; for which he appointed a Master, an Usher, and a Chaplain, with large Stipends for ever; committing the oversight thereof to the Masters, Wardens and Assistants of the Mercers in London, because he was Son to Henry Collet Mercer, sometime Major; leaving for the Maintenance thereof, Lands to the yearly value of 120l. or better; making this William Lilly first Master thereof; which Place he commendably discharg'd for 15 years. During which time he made his Latine Grammar, the Oracle of Free Schools of England, and other Grammatical Works. He is said also by Bale, to have written Epigrams, and other Poetry of various Subjects in various Latine Verse, though scarce any of them (unless it be his Grammar) now extant, only Mr. Stow makes mention of an Epitaph made by him, and graven on a fair Tomb, in the midst of the Chancel of St. Paul's in London containing these Words;

Inclyta Joannes Londini Gloria gentis,
Is tibi qui quondam Paule Decanus erat,
Qui toties magno resonabat pectore Christum,
Doctor & Interpres fidus Evangelij:
Qui mores hominum multum sermone disertæ
Formarat, vitæ sed probitate magis:
Quique Scholam struxit celebrem cognomine Jesu,
Hac dormit tectus membra Coletus humo.
Floruit sub Henrico 7. & Henrico 8.
Reg. Obiit An. Dom. 1519.
Disce mori Mundo, vivere disce Deo.

John Skelton (whom we mentioned before) whose Writings were for the most part Satyrical, mixing store of Gall and Copperas in his Ink, having fell foul upon Mr. Lilly in some of his Verses, Lilly return'd him this biting Answer;

Quid me Sceltone fronte sic aperta
Carpis, vipereo potens veneno?
Quid Versus trutina, meos iniqua
Libras? Dicere vera num licebit?
Doctrinæ, tibi dum parare famam,
Et doctus fieri studes Poeta,
Doctrinam ne habes, nec es Poeta.
With Face so bold, and Teeth so sharp,
Of Viper's venom, why dost carp?
Why are my Verses by thee weigh'd
In a false Scale? May Truth be said;
Whilst thou to get the more esteem,
A Learned Poet fain wouldst seem,
Skelton, thou art, let all men know it,
Neither Learned, nor a Poet.

He died of the Plague, Anno 1522, and was buried in St. Paul's, with this Epitaph on a Brass Plate, fixed in the Wall by the great North-Door:

Gulielmo Lilio, Pauliæ Scholæ olim Præceptori primario, & Agnetæ Conjugi, in sacratissimo hujus Templi Coemiterio hinc a tergo nunc destructo consepultis; Georgius Lilius, hujus Ecclesiæ Canonicus, Parentum Memoriæ pie consulens, Tabellam hanc ab amicis conservatam, hic reponendam curavit.


Sir Thomas More, a great Credit and Ornament in his Time, of the English Nation, and with whom the Learned'st Foreigners of that Age, were proud to have correspondence, for his wit and excellent parts, was born in Milk-street, London. Anno Dom. 1480. Son to Sir John More, Knight, and one of the Justices of the Kings Bench.

He was bred first in the Family of Archbishop Morton, then in Canterbury-Colledge in Oxford; afterwards removed to an Inn of Chancery in London, called New-Inn, and from thence to Lincolns-Inn; where he became a double Reader. Next, his Worth preferred him to be Judge in the Sheriff of London's, Court, though at the same time a Pleader in others; and so upright was he therein, that he never undertook any Cause but what appeared just to his Conscience, nor never took Fee of Widow, Orphan, or poor Person.

King Henry the Eighth coming to the Crown, first Knighted him, then made him Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and not long after L. Chancellor of England, in which place he demeaned himself with great integrity, and with no less expedition; so that it is said, at one time he had cleared all Suits depending on that Court: whereupon, one thus versified on him,

When More some years had Chancellor been,
No more Suits did remain;
The same shall never more be seen,
Till More be there again.

He was of such excellency of Wit and Wisdom, that he was able to make his Fortune good in whatsoever he undertook: and to this purpose it is reported of him, that when he was sent Ambassador by his Master Henry the Eighth into Germany, before he deliver'd his Embassage to the Emperor, he bid one of his Servants to fill him a Beer-glass of Wine, which he drunk off twice; commanding his Servant to bring him a third; he knowing Sir Thomas More's Temperance, that he was not used to drink, at first refused to fill him another; telling Sir Thomas of the weight of his Employment: but he commanding it, and his Servant not daring to deny him, he drank off the third, and then made his immediate address to the Emperor, and spake his Oration in Latine, to the admiration of all the Auditors. Afterwards Sir Thomas merrily asking his Man what he thought of his Speech? he said, that he deserved to govern three parts of the World, and he believed if he had drunk the other Glass, the Elegancy of his Language might have purchased the other part of the World.

Being once at Bruges in Flanders, an arrogant Fellow had set up a Thesis, that he would answer any Question could be propounded unto him in what Art soever. Of whom, when Sir Thomas More heard, he laughed, and made this Question to be put up for him to answer; Whether Averia capta in Withernamia sunt irreplegibilia? Adding, That there was an Englishman that would dispute thereof with him. This bragging Thraso, not so much as understanding the Terms of our Common Law, knew not what to answer to it, and so became ridiculous to the whole City for his presumptuous bragging.

Many were the Books which he wrote; amongst whom his Utopia beareth the Bell; which though not written in Verse, yet in regard of the great Fancy and Invention thereof, may well pass for a Poem, it being the Idea of a compleat Commonwealth in an Imaginary Island (but pretended to be lately discovered in America) and that so lively counterfeited, that many at the reading thereof, mistook it for a real Truth: insomuch that many great Learned men, as Budeus, and Johannes Paludanus upon a fervent zeal, wished that some excellent Divines might be sent thither to preach Christ's Gospel: yea, there were here amongst us at home, sundry good Men, and learned Divines, very desirous to undertake the Voyage, to bring the People to the Faith of Christ, whose Manners they did so well like.

Mr. Owen, the Brittish Epigrammatist, on this Book of Utopia, writeth thus;

More's Utopia and Mercurius Britanicus.

More shew'd the best, the worst World's shew'd by the:
Thou shew'st what is, and he shews what should be.

But at last he fell into the King's displeasure, touching the Divorce of Queen Katherine, and for refusing to take the Oath of Supremacy; for which he was committed to the Tower, and afterwards beheaded on Tower-Hill, July 6, 1635, and buried at Chelsey under a plain Monument.

Those who desire to be further informed of this Learned Knight, let them read my Book of England's Worthies, where his Life is set forth more at large.

HENRY HOWARD Earl of Surrey.

This Honourable Earl was Son to Thomas Howard Duke of Norfolk, and Frances his Wife, the Daughter of John Vere Earl of Oxford. He was (saith Cambden) the first of our English Nobility that did illustrate his high Birth with the Beauty of Learning, and his Learning with the knowledge of divers Languages, which he attained unto by his Travels into foreign Nations; so that he deservedly had the particular Fame of Learning, Wit and Poetical Fancy.

Our famous Poet Drayton, in his England's Heroical Epistles, writing of this Noble Earl, thus says of him;

The Earl of Surrey, that renowned Lord,
Th'old English Glory bravely that restor'd,
That Prince and Poet (a Name more divine)
Falling in Love with Beauteous Geraldine,
Of the Geraldi, which derive their Name
From Florence; whether to advance her Fame,
He travels, and in publick Justs maintain'd
Her Beauty peerless, which by Arms he gain'd.

In his way to Florence, he touch'd at the Emperor's Court; where he fell in acquaintance with the great Learned Cornelius Agrippa, so famous for Magick, who shewed him the Image of his Geraldine in a Glass, sick, weeping on her Bed, and resolved all into devout Religion for the absence of her Lord; upon sight of which, he made this Sonnet.

All Soul, no earthly Flesh, why dost thou fade?
All Gold, no earthly Dross, why look'st thou pale?
Sickness, how dar'st thou one so fair invade?
Too base Infirmity to work her Bale.
Heaven be distempered since she grieved pines,
Never be dry these my sad plantive Lines.
Pearch thou my Spirit on her Silver Breasts,
And with their pains redoubled Musick beatings,
Let them toss thee to world where all toil rests,
Where Bliss is subject to no Fear's defeatings;
Her Praise I tune whose Tongue doth tune the Sphears,
And gets new Muses in her Hearers Ears.
Stars fall to fetch fresh light from her rich eyes,
Her bright Brow drives the Sun to Clouds beneath.
Her Hairs reflex with red strakes paints the Skies,
Sweet Morn and Evening dew flows from her breath:
Phoebe rules Tides, she my Tears tides forth draws,
In her sick-Bed Love sits, and maketh Laws.
Her dainty Limbs tinsel her Silk soft Sheets,
Her Rose-crown'd Cheeks eclipse my dazled sight.
O Glass! with too much joy my thoughts thou greets,
And yet thou shew'st me day but by twilight.
Ile kiss thee for the kindness I have felt,
Her Lips one Kiss would unto Nectar melt.

From the Emperor's Court he went to the City of Florence, the Pride and Glory of Italy, in which City his Geraldine was born, never ceasing till he came to the House of her Nativity; and being shewn the Chamber her clear Sun-beams first thrust themselves in this cloud of Flesh, he was transported with an Extasie of Joy, his Mouth overflow'd with Magnificats, his Tongue thrust the Stars out of Heaven, and eclipsed the Sun and Moon with Comparisons of his Geraldine, and in praise of the Chamber that was so illuminatively honoured with her Radiant Conception, he penned this Sonnet:

Fair Room, the presence of sweet Beauties pride,
This place the Sun upon the Earth did hold,
When Phaeton his Chariot did misguide,
The Tower where Jove rain'd down himself in Gold,
Prostrate as holy ground Ile worship thee.
Our Ladies Chappel henceforth be thou nam'd;
Here first Loves Queen put on Mortality,
And with her Beauty all the world inflam'd.
Heaven's Chambers harbouring fiery Cherubins,
Are not with thee in Glory to compare.
Lightning, it is not Light which in thee mines,
None enter thee but streight entranced are.
O! if Elizium be above the ground,
Then here it is, where nought but Joy is found.

That the City of Florence was the ancient Seat of her Family, he himself intimates in one of his Sonnets: thus;

From Tuscan came my Ladies worthy Race;
Fair Florence was sometimes her ancient Seat,
The Weltern Isle, whose pleasant Shoar doth face,
Whilst Camber's Cliffs did give her lively heat.

In the Duke of Florence's Court he published a proud Challenge against all Comers, whether Christians, Turks, Canibals, Jews, or Saracens, in defence of his Geraldines Beauty. This Challenge was the more mildly accepted, in regard she whom he defended, was a Town-born Child of that City; or else the Pride of the Italian would have prevented him ere he should have come to perform it. The Duke of Florence nevertheless sent for him, and demanded him of his Estate, and the reason that drew him thereto; which when he was advertiz'd of to the full, he granteth all Countries whatsoever, as well Enemies and Outlaws, as Friends and Confederates, free access and regress into his Dominions immolested, until the Trial were ended.

This Challenge, as he manfully undertook, so he as valiantly performed; as Mr. Drayton describes it in his Letter to the Lady Geraldine.

The shiver'd Staves here for thy Beauty broke,
With fierce encounters past at every shock,
When stormy Courses answer'd Cuff for Cuff,
Denting proud Beavers with the Counter-buff;
Which when each manly valiant Arm essays,
After so many brave triumphant days,
The glorious Prize upon my Lance I bare,
By Herald's Voyce proclaim'd to be thy share.

The Duke of Florence for his approved Valour, offered him large Proffers to stay with him; which he refused: intending, as he had done in Florence, to proceed through all the chief Cities in Italy; but this his Purpose was frustrated, by Letters sent to him from his Master King Henry the 8th. which commanded him to return as speedily as possibly he could into England.

Our famous English Antiquary John Leland, speaking much in the praise of Sir Thomas Wiat the Elder, as well for his Learning, as other excellent Qualities, meet for a man of his Calling; calls this Earl the conscript enrolled Heir of the said Sir Thomas Wiat: writing to him in these words;

Accipe Regnorum Comes illustrissime Carmen,
Quo mea Musa tuum laudavit moesta Viallum.

And again, in another place,

Perge, Houerde, tuum virtute referre Viallum,
Dicerisque tuæ clarissima Gloria stirpis.

A certain Treatise called The Art of English Poetry, alledges, That Sir Thomas Wiat the Elder, and Henry Earl of Surrey were the two Chieftains, who having travelled into Italy, and there tasted the sweet and stately Measures and Style of the Italian Poesie, greatly polished our rude and homely manner of vulgar Poesie from what it had been before; and may therefore justly be shewed to be the Reformers of our English Meeter and Style.

I shall only add an Epitaph made by this Noble Earl on Sir Anthony Denny, Knight (a Gentleman whom King Henry the 8th. greatly affected) and then come to speak of his Death.

Death and the King did as it were contend,
Which of them two bare Denny greatest Love;
The King to shew his Love, gan far extend,
Did him advance his Betters far above:
Near Place, much Wealth, great Honour eke him gave,
To make it known what Power great Princes have.
But when Death came with his triumphant Gift,
From worldly Cark he quit his wearied Ghost,
Free from the Corps, and streight to Heaven it lift,
Now deem that can who did for Denny most;
The King gave Wealth, but fading and unsure,
Death brought him Bliss that ever shall endure.

But to return, this Earl had together with his Learning, Wisdom, Fortitude, Munificence, and Affability; yet all these good and excellent parts were no protection against the King's Displeasure; for upon the 12th of December, the last of King Henry the 8th. he, with his Father Thomas Duke of Norfolk, upon certain surmises of Treason, were committed to the Tower of London, the one by Water, the other by Land; so that the one knew not of the others Apprehension: The 15th. day of January next following, he was arraigned at Guildhall, London, where the greatest matter alledged against him, was, for bearing certain Arms that were said belonged to the King and Prince; the bearing whereof he justified. To be short, (for so they were with him) he was found guilty by twelve common Juriars, had Judgment of Death; and upon the 19th day of the said Month (nine days before the Death of the said King Henry, was beheaded at Tower-Hill) He was at first interred in the Chappel of the Tower, and afterwards, in the Reign of King James, his Remainders of Ashes and Bones were removed to Framingham in Suffolk, by his second Son Henry Earl of Northampton, where in the Church they were interred, with this Epitaph;

Henrico Howardo, Thomæ Secundi Ducis Norfolciæ filio primogenito, Thomæ tertij Patri, Comiti Surriæ, & Georgiani Ordinis Equiti Aurato, immature Anno Salutis 1546, abrepto. Et Francisæ Uxori ejus, filiæ Johannis Comitis Oxoniæ. Henricus Howardus Comes Northhamptoniæ, filius secundo genitus, hoc supremum Pietatis in Parentes Monumentum posuit, A.D. 1614.

Sir THOMAS WIAT the Elder.

This worthy Knight is termed by the Name of the Elder, to distinguish him from Sir Thomas Wiat the raiser of the Rebellion in the time of Queen Mary, and was born at Allington Castle in the County of Kent; which afterwards he repaired with most beautiful Buildings. He was a Person of great esteem and reputation in the Reign of King Henry the 8th. with whom, for his honesty and singular parts, he was in high favour. Which nevertheless he had like to have lost about the Business of Queen Anne Bullein; but by his Innocency, Industry and Prudence, he extricated himself.

He was one of admirable ingenuity, and truly answer'd his Anagram, Wiat, a Wit, the judicious Mr. Cambden saith he was.

Eques Auratus splendide doctus.

And though he be not taken notice of by Bale nor Pits, yet for his admirable Translation of David's Psalms into English Meeter, and other Poetical Writings, Leland forbears not to compare him to Dante and Petrarch, by giving him this large commendation.

Bella suum merito jactet Florentia Dantem
Regia Petrarchæ carmina Roma probat,
His non inferior Patrio Sermone Viattus
Eloquii secum qui decus omne tulit.
Let Florence fair her Dantes justly boast,
And royal Rome her Petrarchs number'd feet,
In English Wiat both of them doth coast:
In whom all graceful eloquence doth meet.

The renowned Earl of Surrey in an Encomium upon his Translation of David's Psalms, thus writes of him,

What holy Grave, what worthy Sepulcher,
To Wiat's Psalms shall Christians purchase then?

And afterward, upon his death, the said Earl writeth thus:

What Vertues rare were temper'd in thy brest?
Honour that England such a Jewel bred,
And kiss the ground whereas thy Corps did rest, &c.

This worthy Knight being sent Ambassador by King Henry the Eighth to Charles the Fifth Emperor, then residing in Spain, died of the Pestilence in the West Country, before he could take Shipping, Anno 1541.


In the writing this Doctors Life, we shall principally make use for Directions of Mr. Fuller, in his England's Worthies, fol. 244. He flourished (saith he) in the Reign of King Henry the Eighth, and King Edward the Sixth, to whom he was one of the Gentlemen of their Chappel, and probably the Organist. Musick, which received a grievous wound in England at the dissolution of Abbeys, was much beholding to him for her recovery; such was his excellent Skill and Piety, that he kept it up in Credit at Court, and in all Cathedrals during his life: He translated the Acts of the Apostles into Verse, and let us take a tast his Poetry.

In the former Treatise to thee,
dear friend Theophilus,
I have written the veritie
of the Lord Christ Jesus,
Which he to do and eke to teach,
began until the day;
In which the Spirit up did him fetch
to dwell above for aye.
After that he had power to do
even by the Holy Ghost:
Commandements then he gave unto
his chosen least and most.
To whom also himself did shew
from death thus to revive;
By tokens plain unto his few
even forty days alive.
Speaking of God's kingdom with heart
chusing together them,
Commanding them not to depart
from that Jerusalem.
But still to wait on the promise
of his Father the Lord,
Of which you have heard me e're this
unto you make record.

Pass we now (saith he) from his Poetry, (being Musick in words) to his Musick, (being Poetry in sounds) who set an excellent Composition of Musick in four parts, to the several Chapters of his aforenamed Poetry, dedicating the same to King Edward the Sixth, a little before his death, and Printed it Anno Dom. 1353. He also did Compose many excellent Services and Anthems of four and five parts, which were used in Cathedrals many years after his death, the certain date whereof we cannot attain to.


This famous Antiquary, Mr. John Leland, flourish'd in the year 1546. about the beginning of the Reign of King Edward the Sixth, and was born by most probable conjecture at London. He wrote, among many other Volumes, several Books of Epigrams, his Cigneo Cantio, a Genethliac of Prince Edward, Naniæ upon the death of Sir Thomas Wiat, out of which we shall present you with these Verses:

Transtulit in nostram Davidis carmina linguam,
Et numeros magna reddidit arte pares.
Non morietur opus tersum, spectabile sacrum,
Clarior hac fama parte Viattus erit.
Una dies geminos Phoenices non dedit orbi,
Mors erit unius, vita sed alterius.
Rara avis in terris confectus morte Viattus,
Houerdum hæredem scripserat ante suum.
Dicere nemo potest recte periisse Viattum,
Ingenii cujus tot monimenta vigent.

He wrote also several other things both in Prose and Verse, to his great fame and commendation.


Thomas Churchyard was born in the Town of Shrewsbury, as himself doth affirm in his Book made in Verse of the Worthiness of Wales, taking Shropshire within the compass, (to use his own Expression) Wales the Park, and the Marches the Pale thereof. He was one equally addicted to Arts and Arms, serving under that renowned Captain Sir William Drury, in a rode he made into Scotland, as also under several other Commanders beyond Sea, as he declares in his Tragical Discourse of the Unhappy Mans Life, saying,

Full thirty years both Court and Wars I tryde,
And still I sought acquaintance with the best,
And served the State, and did such hap abide
As might befal, and Fortune sent the rest,
When Drum did sound, I was a Soldier prest
To Sea or Land, as Princes quarrel stood,
And for the same full oft I lost my blood.

But it seems he got little by the Wars but blows, as he declares himself a little after.

But God he knows, my gain was small I weene,
For though I did my credit still encrease,
I got no wealth by wars, ne yet by peace.

Yet it seems he was born of wealthy friends, and had an Estate left unto him, as in the same Work he doth declare.

So born I was to House and Land by right,
But in a Bag to Court I brought the same,
From Shrewsbury-Town, a seat of ancient fame.

Some conceive him to be as much beneath a Poet as above a Rymer, yet who so shall consider the time he wrote in, viz. the beginning of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, shall find his Verses to go abreast with the best of that Age. His Works, such as I have seen and have now in custody, are as followeth:

The Siege of Leith.
A Farewel to the World.
A feigned Fancy of the Spider and the Goat.
A doleful Discourse of a Lady and a Knight.
The Road into Scotland, by Sir William Drury.
Sir Simon Burley's Tragedy.
A Tragical Discourse of the Vnhappy Mans Life.
A Discourse of Vertue.
Churchyard's Dream.
A Tale of a Fryar and a Shoomaker's wife.
The Siege of Edenborough-Castle.
Queen Elizabeth's Reception into Bristol.

These Twelve several Treatises he bound together, calling them Church-yard's Chips, and dedicated them to Sir Christopher Hatton. He also wrote the Falls of Shore's Wife and of Cardinal Wolsey; which are inserted into the Book of the Mirrour for Magistrates. Thus, like a stone, did he trundle about, but never gather'd any Moss, dying but poor, as may be seen by his Epitaph in Mr. Cambden's Remains, which runs thus;

Come Alecto, lend me thy Torch,
To find a Church-yard in a Church-porch:
Poverty and Poetry his Tomb doth enclose,
Wherefore good Neighbours be merry in prose.

His death, according to the most probable conjecture, may be presumed about the eleventh year of the Queen's Reign, Anno Dom. 1570.


John Higgins was one of the chief of them who compiled the History of the Mirrour of Magistrates, associated with Mr. Baldwin, Mr. Ferrers, Thomas Churchyard, and several others, of which Book Sir Philip Sidney thus writes in his Defence of Poesie, I account the Mirrour of Magistrates meetly furnished of beautiful parts. These Commendations coming from so worthy a person, our Higgins having so principal a share therein, deserves a principal part of the praise. And how well his deservings were, take an essay of his Poetry in his induction to the Book.

When Summer sweet with all her pleasures past,
And leaves began to leave the shady tree,
The Winter cold encreased on full fast,
And time of year to sadness moved me:
For moisty blasts not half so mirthful be,
As sweet Aurora brings in Spring-time fair,
Our joys they dim as Winter damps the air.
The Nights began to grow to length apace,
Sir Phoebus to th'Antartique 'gan to fare:
From Libra's lance, to the Crab he took his race
Beneath the Line, to lend of light a share.
For then with us the days more darkish are,
More short, cold, moist, and stormy, cloudy, clit,
For sadness more than mirths or pleasures fit.
Devising then what Books were best to read,
Both for that time, and sentence grave also,
For conference of friend to stand in stead,
When I my faithful friend was parted fro;
I gat me strait the Printers shops unto,
To seek some Work of price I surely ment,
That might alone my careful mind content.

And then he declareth how there he found the first part of this Mirrour for Magistrates, which yet took beginning from the time of King Richard the Second; But he knowing many Examples of famous persons before William the Conquerour, which were wholly omitted, he set upon the Work, and beginning from Brute, continued it to Aurelius Bassianus Caracalla Emperour of Rome, about the year of Christ 209. shewing in his Writings a great deal of Wisdom and Learning. He flourished about the beginning of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.


This Abraham Fraunce, a Versifier, about the same time with John Higgins, was one who imitated Latine measure in English Verse, writing a Pastoral, called the Countess of Pembroke's Ivy-church, and some other things in Hexameter, some also in Hexameter and Pentameter; He also wrote the Countess of Pembroke's Emanuel, containing the Nativity, Passion, Burial, and Resurrection of Christ, together with certain Psalms of David, all in English Hexameters. Nor was he altogether singular in this way of writing, for Sir Philip Sidney in the Pastoral Interludes of his Arcadia, uses not only these, but all other sorts of Latine measure, in which no wonder he is followed by so few, since they neither become the English, nor any other modern Language.

He began also the Translation of Heliodorus his Æthiopick History, in the same kind of Verse, of which, to give the Reader the better divertisement, we shall present you with a tast.

As soon as Sun-beams could once peep out fro the Mountains,
And by the dawn of day had somewhat lightned Olympus,
Men, whose lust was law, whose life was still to be lusting,
Whose thriving thieving, convey'd themselves to an hill top,
That stretched forward to the Heracleotica entry
And mouth of Nylus; looking thence down to the main sea
For sea-faring men; but seeing none to be sailing,
They knew 'twas bootless to be looking there for a booty:
So that strait fro the sea they cast their eyes to the sea-shore;
Where they saw, that a Ship very strangely without any ship man,
Lay then alone at road, with Cables ty'd to the main-land,
And yet full fraighted, which they, though far, fro the hill-top,
Easily might perceive by the water drawn to the deck-boards, &c.

His Ivy-Church he dedicated to the Countess of Pembroke, in which he much vindicated his manner of writing, as no Verse fitter for it then that; he also dedicated his Emanuel to her, which being but two lines take as followeth:

Mary the best Mother sends her best Babe to a Mary:
Lord to a Ladies sight, and Christ to a Christian.

When he died, we cannot find, but suppose it to be about the former part of Queen Elizabeth's Reign.


William Warner, one of principal esteem in his time, was chiefly famous for his Albion's England, which he wrote in the old-fashioned kind of seven-footed Verse, which yet sometimes is in use, though in different manner, that is to say, divided into two: He wrote also several Books in prose, as he himself witnesseth, in his Epistle to the Reader, but (as we said before) his Albion's England was the chiefest, which he deduced from the time of Noah, beginning thus:

I tell of things done long ago, of many things in few:
And chiefly of this Clime of ours, the accidents pursue.
Thou high director of the same, assist mine artless Pen,
To write the Jests of Brutons stout, and Arts of English-men.

From thence he proceeds to the peopling of the Earth by the Sons of Noah, intermixing therein much variety of Matter, not only pleasant, but profitable for the Readers understanding of what was delivered by the ancient Poets, bringing his Matter succinctly to the Siege of Troy, and from thence to the coming of Brute into this Island; and so, coming down along the chiefest matters, touched of our British Historians, to the Conquest of England by Duke William, and from him the Affairs of the Land to the beginning of Queen Elizabeth; where he concludeth thus,

Elizabeth by peace, by war, for majesty, for mild,
Enrich'd, fear'd, honour'd, lov'd, but (loe) unreconcil'd,
The Muses check my saucy Pen, for enterprising her,
In duly praising whom, themselves, even Arts themselves might err.
Phoebus I am, not Phaeton, presumptuously to ask
What, shouldst thou give, I could not guide; give not me thy task,
For, as thou art Apollo too, our mighty subjects threats
A non plus to thy double power:
Vel volo, vel nollem.

I might add several more of his Verses, to shew the worth of his Pen, but the Book being indifferent common, having received several Impressions, I shall refer the Reader, for his further satisfaction, to the Book itself.


Thomas Tusser (a person well known by his Book of Husbandry) was born at Rinen-hall in Essex, of an ancient Family, but now extinct; where, when but young, his Father, designing him for a Singing-man, put him to Wallingford-School, where how his Misfortunes began in the World, take from his own Pen.

O painful time, for every crime,
What toosed ears, like baited Bears,
What bobbed lips, what yerks, what nips,
What hellish toys?
What Robes so bare, what Colledge-fare?
What Bread how stale, what penny Ale?
Then Wallingford, how wer't thou abhorr'd,
Of silly boys?

From thence he was sent to learn Musick at Pauls with one John Redford, an excellent Musician; where, having attained some skill in that Art, he was afterwards sent to Eaton-School, to learn the Latine Tongue, where, how his Miseries encreas'd, let himself speak.

From Pauls I went, to Eaton sent,
To learn straightways the Latine phrase,
Where fifty three stripes given to me,
At once I had,
For fault but small, or none at all,
It came to pass thus beat I was,
See Udal, see, the mercy of thee
To me poor Lad.

Having attained to some perfection in the Latine Tongue, he was sent to Trinity-Hall in Cambridge, where he had not continued long, but he was vexed with extream sickness, whereupon he left the University, and betook himself to Court, and lived for a while under the Lord Paget, in King Edward the Sixth's days; when, the Lords falling at dissention, he left the Court, and went to Suffolk, where he married his first Wife, and took a Farm at Ratwade in that County, where he first devised his Book of Husbandry, but his Wife not having her health there, he removed from thence to Ipswich and soon after buried her.

Not long after he married again to one Mrs. Amy Moon, upon whose Name he thus versified:

I chanced soon to find a Moon,
Of chearful hue;
Which well and fine me thought did shine,
And never change, a thing most strange,
Yet keep in sight her course aright,
And compass true.

Being thus married he betook himself again to Husbandry, and hired a Farm, called Diram Cell, and there he had not lived long, but his Landlord died, and his Executors falling at variance, and now one troubled him, and then another, whereupon he left Diram, and went to Norwich, turning a Singing-man under Mr. Salisbury, the Dean thereof; There he was troubled with a Dissury, so that in a 138 Hours he never made a drop of Water. Next he hired a Parsonage at Fairstead in Essex, but growing weary of that he returned again to London, where he had not lived long, but the Pestilence raging there, he retired to Cambridge: Thus did he roul about from place to place, but, like Sisiphus stone, could gather no Moss whithersoever he went: He was successive a Musician, Schoolmaster, Servingman, Husbandman, Grasier, Poet, more skilful in all, than thriving in any Vocation. He traded at large in Oxen, Sheep, Dairies, Grain of all kinds, to no profit. He spread his Bread with all sorts of Butter, yet none would stick thereon. So that he might say with the Poet,

Monitis sum minor ipse meis.

None being better at the Theory, or worse at the Practice of Husbandry, and may be fitly match'd with Thomas Churchyard, they being mark'd alike in their Poetical parts, living in the same time, and statur'd both alike in their Estates, and that low enough in all reason. He died in London, Anno Dom. 1580. and was buried at St. Mildred's-Church in the Poultrey, with this Epitaph:

Here THOMAS TUSSER, clad in earth doth lie,
That sometime made the Points of Husbandry:
By him then learn thou may'st, here learn we must,
When all is done, we sleep, and turn to dust:
And yet, through Christ, to Heaven we hope to go,
Who reads his Books, shall find his Faith was so.


Thomas Storer was a great writer of Sonnets, Madrigals, and Pastoral Airs, in the beginning of Q. Elizabeth's Reign, and no doubt was highly esteemed in those days, of which we have an account of some of them in an old Book, called England's Hellicon. This kind of writing was of great esteem in those days, and much imitated by Thomas Watson, Bartholomew Yong, Dr. Lodge, and several others. What time he died is to me unknown.


Thomas Lodge, a Doctor of Physick, flourish'd also about the beginning of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth; He was also an eminent Writer of Pastoral Songs, Odes, and Madrigals. This following Sonnet is said to be of his composing.

If I must die, O let me chuse my Death:
Suck out my Soul with Kisses, cruel Maid!
In thy Breasts Crystal Balls embalm my Breath,
Dole it all out in sighs when I am laid;
Thy Lips on mine like Cupping-glasses clasp;
Let our Tongues meet, and strive as they would sting:
Crush out my Wind with one straight girting Grasp,
Stabs on my Heart keep time whilst thou dost sing.
Thy Eyes like searing-Irons burn out mine;
In thy fair Tresses stifle me outright:
Like Circes, change me to a loathsom Swine,
So I may live for ever in thy sight.
Into Heavens Joys can none profoundly see,
Except that first they meditate on thee.

Contemporary with Dr. Lodge, were several others, who all of them wrote in the same strain, as George Gascoigne, Tho. Hudson, John Markham, Tho. Achely, John Weever, Chr. Midleton, George Turbervile, Henry Constable, Sir Edward Dyer, Charles Fitz Geoffry. Of these George Gascoigne wrote not only Sonnets, Odes and Madrigals, but also something to the Stage: as his Supposes, a Comedy; Glass of Government, a Tragi-Comedy; and Jocasta, a Tragedy.

But to return to Dr. Lodge; we shall only add one Sonnet more, taken out of his Euphues Golden Legacy, and so proceed to others.

Of all chaste Birds, the Phoenix doth excel;
Of all strong Beasts, the Lion bears the Bell:
Of all sweet Flowers, the Rose doth sweetest smell;
Of all fair Maids, my Rosalind is fairest.
Of all pure Metals, Gold is only purest;
Of all high Trees, the Pine hath highest Crest;
Of all soft Sweets, I like my Mistress best:
Of all chaste Thoughts my Mistress Thoughts are rarest.
Of all proud Birds, the Eagle pleaseth Jove,
Of pretty Fowls, kind Venus likes the Dove:
Of Trees, Minerva doth the Olive love,
Of all sweet Nymphs, I honour Rosalinde,
Of all her Gifts, her Wisdom pleaseth most:
Of all her Graces, Virtue she doth boast;
For all the Gifts, my Life and Joy is lost,
If Rosalinde prove cruel and unkind.


Robert Greene (that great Friend to the Printers by his many Impressions of numerous Books) was by Birth a Gentleman, and sent to study in the University of Cambridge; where he proceeded Master of Art therein. He had in his time sipped of the Fountain of Hellicon, but drank deeper Draughts of Sack, that Helliconian Liquor, whereby he beggar'd his Purse to enrich his Fancy; writing much against Viciousness, but too vicious in his Life. He had to his Wife a Virtuous Gentlewoman, whom yet he forsook, and betook himself to a high course of Living; to maintain which, he made his Pen mercenary, making his Name very famous for several Books which he wrote, very much taking in his time, and in indifferent repute amongst the vulgar at this present; of which, those that I have seen, are as followeth) Euphues his Censure to Philautus; Tullies Love, Philomela, The Lady Fitz-waters Nightingale, A Quip for an upstart Courtier, the History of Dorastus and Fawnia, Green's never too late, first and second Part; Green's Arcadia, Green his Farewell to Folly, Greene's Groats-worth of Wit, &c. He was also an Associate with Dr. Lodge in writing of several Comedies; namely, The Laws of Nature; Lady Alimony; Liberality and Prodigality; and a Masque called Luminalia; besides which, he wrote alone the Comedies of Fryer Bacon, and fair Emme.

But notwithstanding by these his Writings he got much Money, yet was it not sufficient to maintain his Prodigality, but that before his death he fell into extream Poverty, when his Friends, (like Leaves to Trees in the Summer of Prosperity) fell from him in his Winter of Adversity: of which he was very sensible, and heartily repented of his ill passed Life, especially of the wrongs he had done to his Wife; which he declared in a Letter written to her, and found with his Book of A Groatsworth of Wit, after his Death, containing these Words;

The Remembrance of many Wrongs offered Thee and thy unreproved Vertues, add greater sorrow to my miserable State than I can utter, or thou conceive; neither is it lessened by consideration of thy Absence (though Shame would let me hardly behold thy Face) but exceedingly aggravated, for that I cannot (as I ought) to thy own self reconcile my self, that thou mightest witness my inward Wo at this instant, that have made thee a woful Wife for so long a time. But equal Heaven hath denied that comfort, giving at my last need, like Succour as I have sought all my Life: Being in this extremity, as void of help, as thou hast been of hope. Reason would that after so long waste, I should not send thee a Child to bring the Charge, but consider he is the fruit of thy Womb, in whose Face regard not the Father's so much as thy own Perfections: He is yet Green, and may grow strait, if he be carefully tended; otherwise apt enough (I fear me) to follow his Fathers Folly. That I have offended thee highly, I know; that thou canst forget my Injuries, I hardly believe; yet I perswade my self, if thou sawest my wretched estate, thou couldst not but lament it: Nay, certainly I know thou wouldst. All my wrongs muster themselves about me, and every Evil at once plagues me: For my Contempt of God, I am contemned of Men; for my swearing and forswearing, no man will believe me; for my Gluttony I suffer Hunger; for my Drunkenness Thirst; for my Adultery, ulcerous Sores: Thus God hath cast me down that I might be humbled, and punisht me for example of others; and though he suffers me in this world to perish without succour, yet trust I in the world to come to find Mercy by the Merits of my Saviour; to whom I commend thee, and commit my Soul.

Thy Repentant Husband
for his Disloyalty,

Robert Greene.

In a Comedy called Green's Tu quoque, written by John Cooke, I find these Verses made upon his Death;

How fast bleak Autumn changeth Flora's Die;
What yesterday was Greene, now's sear and dry.


Thomas Nash was also a Gentleman born, and bred up in the University of Cambridge; a man of a quick apprehension and Satyrick Pen: One of his first Books he wrote was entituled Pierce Penniless his Supplication to the Devil, wherein he had some Reflections upon the Parentage of Dr. Harvey, his Father being a Rope-maker of Saffron-Walden: This begot high Contests betwixt the Doctor and him, so that it became to be a well known Pen-Combate. Amongst other Books which Mr. Nash wrote against him, one was entituled, Have with ye to Saffron-Walden; and another called Four Letters confuted; in which last he concludes with this Sonnet;

Were there no Wars, poor men should have no Peace;
Uncessant Wars with Wasps and Drones I cry:
He that begins oft knows not how to cease;
He hath begun; He follow till I die.
Ile hear no Truce, Wrong gets no Grave in me:
Abuse pell-mell encounter with abuse;
Write he again, Ile write eternally;
Who feeds Revenge, hath found an endless Muse.
If Death ere made his black Dart of a Pen,
My Pen his special Bayly shall become:
Somewhat Ile be reputed of 'mongst men,
By striking of this Dunce or dead or dumb:
Await the World the Tragedy of Wrath,
What next I paint shall tread no common Path.

It seems he had a Poetical Purse as well as a Poetical Brain, being much straightned in the Gifts of Fortune; as he exclaims in his Pierce Penniless.

Why is't damnation to despair and die,
When Life is my true happiness disease?
My Soul, my Soul, thy Safety makes me fly
The faulty Means that might my Pain appease.
Divines and dying men may talk of Hell,
But in my Heart her several Torments dwell.
Ah worthless Wit, to train me to this Wo!
Deceitful Arts that nourish Discontent,
Ill thrive the Folly that bewitch'd me so!
Vain Thoughts adieu; for now I will repent:
And yet my Wants persuade me to proceed,
Since none takes pity of a Scholar's need.
Forgive me, God, although I curse my Birth,
And ban the Ayr wherein I breath a wretch,
Since Misery hath daunted all my Mirth,
And I am quite undone through Promise breach.
Oh Friends! no Friends, that then ungently frown,
When changing Fortune calls us headlong down.
Without redress complains my careless Verse,
And Midas ears relent not at my mone;
In some far Land will I my griefs rehearse,
'Mongst them that will be mov'd, when I shall grone.
England adieu, the Soil that brought me forth;
Adieu unkind, where Skill is nothing worth.

He wrote moreover a witty Poem, entituled, The White Herring and the Red; and two Comedies, the one called Summer's last Will and Testament, and See me and see me not.


Sir Philip Sidney, the glory of the English Nation in his time, and pattern of true Nobility, in whom the Graces and Muses had their domestical habitations, equally addicted both to Arts and Arms, though more fortunate in the one than in the other. Son to Sir Henry Sidney, thrice Lord Deputy of Ireland, and Sisters Son to Robert Earl of Leicester; Bred in Christ's Church in Oxford, (Cambridge being nevertheless so happy to have a Colledge of his name) where he so profited in the Arts and Liberal Sciences, that after an incredible proficiency in all the Species of Learning, he left the Academical Life, for that of the Court, invited thither by his Uncle, the Earl of Leicester, that great Favourite of Queen Elizabeth. Here he so profited, that he became the glorious Star of his Family, a lively Pattern of Vertue, and the lovely Joy of all the learned sort. These his Parts so indeared him to Queen Elizabeth, that she sent him upon an Embassy to the Emperor of Germany at Vienna, which he discharged to his own Honour, and her Approbation. Yea, his Fame was so renowned throughout all Christendom, that (as it is commonly reported) he was in election for the Kingdom of Poland, though the Author of his Life, printed before his Arcadia, doth doubt of the truth of it, however it was not above his deserts.

During his abode at the Court, at his spare hours he composed that incomparable Romance, entituled, The Arcadia, which he dedicated to his Sister the Countess of Pembroke. A Book (saith Dr. Heylin) which, besides its excellent Language, rare Contrivances, and delectable Stories, hath in it all the strains of Poesie, comprehendeth the whole art of speaking, and to them who can discern and will observe, affordeth notable Rules of Demeanour, both private and publick; and though some men, sharp-witted only in speaking evil, have depraved the Book, as the occasion that many precious hours are spent no better, they consider not that the ready way to make the minds of Youth grow awry, is to lace them too hard, by denying them just and due liberty. Surely (saith one) the Soul deprived of lawful delights, will, in way of revenge, (to enlarge its self out of prison) invade and attempt unlawful pleasures. Let such be condemned always to eat their meat with no other sawce, but their own appetite, who deprive themselves and others of those sallies into lawful Recreations, whereof no less plenty than variety is afforded in this Arcadia.

One writes, that Sir Philip Sidney in the extream agony of his wounds, so terrible the sence of death is, requested the dearest friend he had, to burn his Arcadia; what promise his friend returned herein is uncertain; but if he brake his word to be faithful to the publick good, posterity herein hath less cause to censure him for being guilty of such a meritorious offence, wherewith he hath obliged so many ages. Hereupon thus writeth the British Epigramatist.

Ipse tuam morient sede conjuge teste jubebas,
Arcadium sævis ignibus esse cibum;
Si meruit mortem, quia flammam accendit amoris
Mergi, non uri debuit iste liber.
In Librum quæcunque cadat sententia nulla,
Debuit ingenium morte perire tuum.
In serious thoughts of Death 'twas thy desire
This sportful Book should be condemn'd with Fire:
If so, because it doth intend Love-matters,
It rather should be quench'd or drown'd i'th waters.
However doom'd the Book, the memory
Of thy immortal Wit will never die.

He wrote also besides his Arcadia, several other Works; namely, A Defence of Poesie, a Book entituled Astrophel and Stella, with divers Songs and Sonnets in praise of his Lady, whom he celebrated under that bright Name; whom afterwards he married, that Paragon of Nature, Sir Francis Walsingham's Daughter, who impoverished himself to enrich the State; from whom he expected no more than what was above all Portions, a beautiful Wife, and a virtuous Daughter.

He also translated part of that excellent Treatise of Philip Morney du Plessis, of the Truth of Religion; and no doubt had written many other excellent Works, had not the Lamp of his Life been extinguish'd too soon; the manner whereof take as followeth:

His Unkle Robert Dudley Earl of Leicester (a man almost as much hated as his Nephew was loved) was sent over into the Low-Countries, with a well appointed Army, and large Commission, to defend the United Provinces against the Spanish Cruelty. Under him went Sir Philip Sidney, who had the Command of the cautionary Town of Flushing, and Castle of Ramekius, a Trust which he so faithfully discharged, that he turned the Envy of the Dutch Townsmen into Affection and Admiration. Not long after, some Service was to be performed nigh Zutphen in Gueiderland, where the English, through false intelligence, were mistaken in the strength of the Enemy. Sir Philip is employed next to the Chief in that Expedition; which he so discharged, that it is questionable whether his Wisdom, Industry or Valour may challenge to it self the greatest praise of the Action. And now when the triumphant Lawrels were ready to Crown his Brows, the English so near the Victory, that they touched it, ready to lay hold upon it, he was unfortunately shot in the Thigh, which is the Rendez-vouz of Nerves and Sinews, which caused a Feaver, that proved so mortal, that five and twenty days after he died of the same; the Night of whose Death was the Noon of his Age, and the exceeding Loss of Christendom.

His Body was conveyed into England, and most honourably interred in the Church of St. Paul in London; over which was fixed this Epitaph:

England, Netherland, the Heavens, and the Arts,
All Souldiers, and the World have made fix parts
Of the Noble Sidney; for none will suppose
That a small heap of Stones can Sidney enclose:
England hath his Body, for she it bred;
Netherland his Blood, in her defence shed;
The Heavens his Soul, the Arts his Fame;
All Soldiers the Grief, the World his good Name.

To recite the Commendations given him by several Authors, would of it self require a Volume; to rehearse some few not unpleasing to the Reader. The reverend Cambden writes thus; This is that Sidney, whom, as God's will was, he should be therefore born into the world even to shew unto our Age a Sample of ancient Virtues. Doctor Heylin in his Cosmography calleth him, That gallant Gentleman of whom he cannot but make honourable mention. Mr. Fuller in his Worthies thus writes of him, His homebred Abilities perfected by Travel with foreign accomplishments, and a sweet Nature, set a gloss upon both. Stow in his Annals, calleth him, a most valiant and towardly Gentleman. Speed in his Chronicle, That worthy Gentleman in whom were compleat all Virtues and Valours that could be expected to reside in man: And Sir Richard Baker gives him this Character, A man of so many excellent parts of Art and Nature, of Valour and Learning, of Wit and Magnanimity, that as he had equalled all those of former Ages, so the future will hardly be able to equal him.

Nor was this Poet forgotten by the Poets; who offered whole Hecatombs of Verses in his praise. Hear first that Kingly Poet, or Poetical King, King James the first, late Monarch of Great Britain, who thus writes,

Armipotens cui jus in fortia pectora Mayors,
Tu Dea quæ cerebrum perrumpere digna totantis,
Tuque adeo bijugæ proles Latonia rupis
Gloria, decidua cingunt quam collibus artes,
Duc tecum, & querelis Sidnæi funera voce
Plangite; nam vester fuerat Sidnæus alumnus,
Quid genus, & proavos, & spem, floremque juventæ,
Immaturo obituraptum sine retexo?
Heu frustra queror? heu rapuit Mors omnia secum?
Et nihil ex tanto nunc est Heroe superstes,
Præterquam Decus & Nomen virtute paratum,
Doctaque Sidneas testantia Carmina laudes.

Thus translated by the said King:

Thou mighty Mars, the Lord of Soldiers brave,
And thou Mirnerve, that dost in wit excel,
And thou Apollo, who dost knowledge have
Of every Art that from Parnassus fell,
With all your Sisters that thereon do dwell,
Lament for him who duly serv'd you all:
Whom in you wisely all your Arts did mell,
Bewail (I say) his unexpected fall,
I need not in remembrance for to call
His Race, his Youth, the hope had of him ay,
Since that in him doth cruel Death appall
Both Manhood, Wit and Learning every way:
But yet he doth in bed of Honour rest,
And evermore of him shall live the best.

And in another place thus;

When Venus sad saw Philip Sidney slain,
She wept, supposing Mars that he had been,
From Fingers Rings, and from her Neck the Chain
She pluckt away, as if Mars ne'er again
She meant to please, in that form he was in,
Dead, and yet could a Goddess thus beguile,
What had he done if he had liv'd this while?

These Commendations given him by so learned a Prince, made Mr. Alexander Nevil thus to write;

Harps others Praise, a Scepter his doth sing,
Of Crowned Poet, and of Laureat King.

Divine Du Bartus, speaking of the most Learned of the English Nation, reckoneth him as one of the chief, in these words;

And (world mourn'd) Sidney, warbling to the Thames,
His Swan-like Tunes, so courts her coy proud Streams,
That (all with child with Fame) his Fame they bear
To Thetis Lap, and Thetis every where.

Sir John Harrington in his Epigrams thus;

If that be true the latter Proverb says,
Laudari a Laudatis is most Praise,
Sidney, thy Works in Fames Books are enroll'd
By Princes Pens, which have thy Works extoll'd,
Whereby thy Name shall dure to endless days.

Mr. Owen, the Brittish Epigrammatist thus sets him forth:

Thou writ'st things worthy reading, and didst do
Things worthy writing too.
Thy Arts thy Valour show,
And by thy Works we do thy Learning know.

I shall conclude all with these excellent Verses made by himself a little before his Death;

It is not I that die, I do but leave an Inn,
Where harbour'd was with me all filthy Sin:
It is not I that die, I do but now begin
Into eternal Joy by Faith to enter in,
Why mourn you then my Parents, Friends and Kin?
Lament you when I lose, not when I win.


Next to Sir Philip Sidney, we shall add his great Friend and Associate, Sir Fulk Grevil, Lord Brook, one very eminent both for Arts and Arms; to which the genius of that time did mightily invite active Spirits. This Noble Person, for the great love he bore to Sir Philip Sidney, wrote his Life. He wrote several other Works both in Prose and Verse, some of which were Dramatick, as his Tragedies of Alaham, Mustapha, and Marcus Tallius Cicero, and others, commonly of a Political Subject; amongst which, a Posthume Work, not publish'd till within a few years, being a two-fold Treatise, the first of Monarchy, the second of Religion, in all which is observable a close mysterious and sententious way of Writing, without much regard to Elegancy of Stile, or smoothness of Verse. Another Posthume Book is also fathered upon him; namely, The Five Years of King James, or the Condition of the State of England, and the Relation it had to other Provinces, Printed in the Year 1643. But of this last Work many people are doubtful.

Now for his Abilities in the Exercise of Arms, take this instance: At such time when the French Ambassadours came over into England, to Negotiate a Marriage between the Duke of Anjou, and Queen Elizabeth, for their better entertainment, Solemn Justs were proclaimed, where the Earl of Arundel, Frederick Lord Windsor, Sir Philip Sidney, and he, were chief Challengers against all comers; in which Challenge he behaved himself so gallantly, that he won the reputation of a most valiant Knight.

Thus you see, that though Ease be the Nurse of Poesie, the Muses are also Companions to Mars, as may be exemplified in the Lives of the Earl of Surrey, Sir Philip Sidney, and this Sir Falk Grevil.

I shall only add a word or two of his death, Which was as sad as lamentable. He kept a discontented servant, who conceiving his deserts, not soon or well enough rewarded, wounded him mortally; and then (to save the Law a labour) killed himself. Verifying therein the observation, That there is none who never so much despiseth his own life, but yet is master of another mans.

This ingenious Gentleman, (in whose person shined all true Vertue and high Nobility) as he was a great friend to learning himself, so was he a great favourer of learning in others, witness his liberality to Mr. Speed the Chronologer, when finding his wide Soul was stuffed with too narrow an Occupation, gave it enlargement, as the said Author doth ingeniously confess in his description of Warwickshire, Whose Merits (saith he) to me-ward, I do acknowledge, in setting this hand free from the daily employments of a Manual Trade, and giving it full liberty thus to express the inclination of my mind, himself being the Procurer of my present Estate.

He lieth interred in Warwick Church, under a Monument of Black and White Marble, wherein he is styled, Servant to Queen Elizabeth, Counsellor to King James, and Friend to Sir Philp Sidney. He died Anno 16—. without Issue, save only those of his Brain, which will make his Name to live, when others Issue they may fail them.


This our Famous Poet, Mr. Edmond Spenser, was born in the City of London, and brought up in Pembroke-Hall in Cambridge; where he became a most excellent Scholar, but especially very happy in English Poetry, as his learned, elaborate Works do declare, which whoso shall peruse with a judicious eye, will find to have in them the very height of Poetick fancy, and though some blame his Writings for the many Chaucerisms used by him, yet to the Learned they are known not to be blemishes, but rather beauties to his Book; which, notwithstanding, (saith a learned Writer) had been more salable, if more conformed to our modern language.

His first flight in Poetry, as not thinking himself fully fledged, was in that Book of his, called The Shepherds Kalendar, applying an old Name to a new Book; It being of Eclogues fitted to each Month in the Year: of which Work hear what that worthy Knight, Sir Philip Sidney writes, whose judgment in such cases is counted infallible: The Shepherds Kalendar (saith he) hath much Poetry in his Eclogues, indeed worthy the reading, if I be not deceived; That same framing his Stile to an old rustick Language, I dare not allow, since neither Theocritus in Greek, Virgil in Latine, nor Sanazara in Italian did effect it. Afterwards he translated the Gnat, a little fragment of Virgil's excellency. Then he translated Bellay his Ruins of Rome; His most unfortunate Work was that of Mother Hubbard's Tale, giving therein offence to one in authority, who afterwards stuck on his skirts. But his main Book, and which indeed I think Envy its self cannot carp at, was his Fairy Queen, a Work of such an ingenious composure as will last as long as time endures.

Now as you have heard what esteem Sir Philip Sidney had of his Book, so you shall hear what esteem Mr. Spenser had of Sir Philip Sidney, writing thus in his Ruins of Time.

Yet will I sing, but who can better sing
Than thou thy self, thine own selfs valiance?
That while thou livedst thou madest the Forests ring,
And Fields resound, and Flocks to leap and dance,
And Shepherds leave their Lambs unto mischance,
To run thy shrill Arcadian Pipe to hear,
O happy were those days, thrice happy were.

In the same his Poem of the Ruins of Time, you may see what account he makes of the World, and of the immortal Fame gotten by Poesie.

In vain do earthly Princes then, in vain,
Seek with Pyramids to Heaven aspir'd;
Or huge Collosses, built with costly pain;
Or brazen Pillars never to be fir'd,
Or Shrines, made of the metal most desir'd,
To make their Memories for ever live,
For how can mortal immortality give?
For deeds do die, however nobly done,
And thoughts of men do in themselves decay,
But wise words taught in numbers for to run,
Recorded by the Muses, live for aye;
Ne may with storming showers be wash'd away,
Ne bitter breathing with harmful blast,
Nor age, nor envy, shall them ever wast.

There passeth a story commonly told and believed, that Mr. Spenser presenting his Poems to Queen Elizabeth, she highly affected therewith, commanded the Lord Cecil, her Treasurer, to give him an Hundred Pound; and when the Treasurer (a good Steward of the Queen's Money) alledged, that Sum was too much for such a matter; then give him, quoth the Queen, what is reason; but was so busied, or seemed to be so, about matters of higher concernment, that Mr. Spenser received no reward: whereupon he presented this Petition in a small piece of Paper to the Queen in her progress.

I was promis'd on a time,
To have reason for my rime,
From that time unto this season,
I receiv'd nor rime nor reason.

This tart reflect so wrought upon the Queen, that she gave strict order (not without some check to her Treasurer) for the present payment of the hundred pounds she first intended him.

He afterwards went over into Ireland, Secretary to the Lord Gray, Lord Deputy thereof; and though that his Office under his Lord was lucrative, yet got he no Estate; Peculiari Poetis fato semper cum paupertate conflictatus est, saith the reverend Cambden; so that it fared little better with him, (than with Churchyard or Tusser before him) or with William Xiliander the German, (a most excellent Linguist, Antiquary, Philosopher, and Mathematician) who was so poor, that (as Thuanus writes) he was thought, Fami non famæ scribere.

Thriving so bad in that boggy Country, to add to his misery, he was robb'd by the Rebels of that little he had left; whereupon, in great grief, he returns into England, and falling into want, which to a noble spirit is most killing, being heartbroken, he died Anno 1598. and was honourably buried at the sole charge of Robert, first of that name Earl of Essex, on whose Monument is written this Epitaph.

Edmundus Spencer, Londinensis, Anglicorum Poetarum nostri seculi fuit Princeps, quod ejus Poemata, faventibus Musis, & victuro genio conscripta comprobant. Obiit immatura morte, Anno salutis, 1598. & prope Galfredum Chaucerum conditur, qui scoelisissime Poesin Anglicis literis primus illustravit. In quem hæc scripta sunt Epitaphia.

Hic prope Chaucerum situs est Spenserius, illi
Proximus ingenio, proximus ut tumulo.
Hic prope Chaucerum Spensere poeta poetam
Conderis, & versu! quam tumulo proprior,
Anglica te vivo vixit, plausitque Poesis;
Nunc moritura timet, te moriente, mori.

These two last lines, for the worthiness of the Poet, are thus translated by Dr. Fuller.

Whilest thou didst live, liv'd English Poetry,
Which fears, now thou art dead, that she shall die.

A modern Author writes, that the Lord Cecil owed Mr. Spenser a grudge for some Reflections of his in Mother Hubbard's Tale, and therefore when the Queen had order'd him that Money, the Lord Treasurer said, What all this for a Song? And this he is said to have taken so much to heart, that he contracted a deep Melancholy, which soon after brought his life to a period: so apt is an ingenious spirit to resent a slighting even from the greatest persons. And thus much I must needs say of the Merit of so great a Poet, from so great a Monarch, that it is incident to the best of Poets sometimes to flatter some Royal or Noble Patron, never did any do it more to the height, or with greater art and elegance, if the highest of praises attributed to so Heroick a Princess can justly be termed flattery.


Sir John Harrington is supposed to be born in Somerset-shire, he having a fair Estate near Bath in that County. His Father, for carrying a Letter to the Lady (afterwards Queen) Elizabeth, was kept twelve months in the Tower, and made to spend a Thousand Pounds e're he could be free of that trouble. His Mother also being Servant to the Lady Elizabeth, was sequestred from her, and her Husband enjoyned not to keep company with her; so that on both sides he may be said to be very indear'd to Queen Elizabeth, who was also his Godmother, a further tye of her kindness and respects unto him.

This Sir John was bred up in Cambridge, either in Christ's or in St. John's-Colledge, under Dr. Still his Tutor. He afterwards proved one of the most ingenious Poets of our English Nation, no less noted for his Book of witty Epigrams, than his judicious Translation of Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, dedicated to the Lady Elizabeth, afterwards Queen of Bohemia.

The British Epigramatist, Mr. John Owen, in his second Book of Epigrams, thus writes to him:

A Poet mean I am, yet of the Troop,
Though thou art not, yet better thou canst do't.

And afterwards in his fourth Book, Epig. 20. concerning Envy's Genealogy; he thus complements him.

Fair Vertue, foul-mouth'd Envy breeds, and feeds;
From Vertue only this foul Vice proceeds;
Wonder not that I this to you indite,
'Gainst your rare Vertues, Envy bends her spite.

It happened that whilest the said Sir John repaired often to an Ordinary in Bath, a Female attendress at the Table, neglecting other Gentlemen, which sat higher, and were of greater Estates, applied herself wholly to him, accommodating him with all necessaries, and preventing his asking any thing with her officiousness. She being demanded by him, the reason of her so careful waiting on him? I understand (said she) you are a very witty man, and if I should displease you in any thing, I fear you would make an Epigram of me.

Sir John frequenting often the Lady Robert's House, his Wives Mother, where they used to go to dinner extraordinary late, a Child of his being there then, said Grace, which was that of the Primmer, Thou givest them Meat in due season; Hold, said Sir John to the Child, you ought not to lie unto God, for here we never have our Meat in due season. This Jest he afterwards turned into an Epigram, directing it to his Wife, and concluding it thus:

Now if your Mother angry be for this,
Then you must reconcile us with a kiss.

A Posthume Book of his came forth, as an addition to Bishop Godwin's Catalogue of Bishops, wherein (saith Dr. Fuller) besides mistakes, some tart reflections in Uxaratos Episcopos, might well have been spared. In a word (saith he) he was a Poet in all things, save in his wealth, leaving a fair Estate to a learned and religious Son, and died about the middle of the Reign of King James.


This John Heywood was one of the first writers of English Plays, contemporary with the Authors of Gammar Gurton's Needle, and Tom Tyler and his Wife, as may appear by the Titles of his Interludes; viz. The Play of Love; Play of of the Weather; Play between Johan the Husband, and Tib his Wife; Play between the Pardoner and the Fryer, and the Curate and Neighbour Prat; Play of Gentleness and Nobility, in two parts. Besides these he wrote two Comedies, the Pinner of Wakefield, and Philotas Scotch. There was of this Name, in King Henry the Eighth's Reign, an Epigramatist, who, saith the Author of the Art of English Poetry, for the mirth and quickness of his conceits, more than any good learning was in him, came to be well benefited by the King.


Thomas Heywood was a greater Benefactor to the Stage than his Namesake, John Heywood, aforesaid, he having (as you may read in an Epistle to a Play of his, called, The English Travellers) had an entire hand, or at least a main finger in the writing of 220 of them. And no doubt but he took great pains therein, for it is said, that he not only Acted himself almost every day, but also wrote each day a Sheet; and that he might lose no time, many of his Plays were composed in the Tavern, on the back-side of Tavern Bills; which may be an occasion that so many of them are lost, for of those 220. mentioned before, we find but 25. of them Printed, viz. The Brazen Age; Challenge for Beauty; The English Travellers; The first and second part of Edward the Fourth; The first and second part of Queen Elizabeth's Troubles; Fair Maid of the West, first and second part; Fortune by Land and Sea; Fair Maid of the Exchange; Maidenhead well lost; Royal King and Loyal Subject; Woman kill'd with kindess; Wise Woman of Hogsdon, Comedies. Four London Prentices; The Golden Age; The Iron Age, first and second part; Robert Earl of Huntington's downfal Robert Earl of Huntington's death; The Silver Age; Dutchess of Suffolk, Histories; And Loves Mistress, a Mask. And, as if the Name of Heywood were destinated to the Stage, there was also one Jasper Heywood, who wrote three Tragedies, namely, Hercules Furiens, Thyestes, and Troas. Also, in my time I knew one Matthew Heywood; who wrote a Comedy, called The Changling, that should have been acted at Audley-end House, but, by I know not what accident was prevented.


George Peel, a somewhat antiquated English Bard of Queen Elizabeth's date, some remnants of whose pretty pastoral Poetry we have extant in a Collection, entituled, England's Helicon. He also contributed to the Stage three Plays, Edward the first, a History; Alphonsus, Emperour of Germany, a Tragedy; and David and Bathsabe a Tragi-Comedy; which no doubt in the time he wrote passed with good applause.


John Lilly, a famous Poet for the State in his time, as by the Works which he left appears, being in great esteem in his time, and acted then with great applause of the Vulgar, as such things which they understood, and composed chiefly to make them merry. Yet so much prized as they were Printed together in one Volume, namely, Endymion, Alexander and Campasoe, Galatea, Midas, Mother Boniby, Maids Metamorphosis, Sapho and Phao, Woman in the Moon, Comedies; and another Play called A Warning for fair Women; all which declare the great pains he took, and the esteem which he had in that Age.


This William Wager is most famous for an Interlude which he wrote, called Tom Tyler and his Wife, which passed with such general applause that it was reprinted in the year 1661. and has been Acted divers times by private persons; the chief Argument whereof is, Tyler his marrying to a Shrew, which, that you may the better understand, take it in the Author's own words, speaking in the person of Tom Tyler.

I am a poor Tyler, in simple array,
And get a poor living, but eight pence a day,
My Wife as I get it doth spend it away;
And I cannot help it, she saith; wot ye why?
For wedding and hanging comes by destiny.
I thought when I wed her, she had been a Sheep,
At board to be friendly, to sleep when I sleep:
She loves so unkindly, she makes me to weep.
But I dare say nothing, god wot; wot ye why?
For wedding and hanging comes by destiny.
Besides this unkindness whereof my grief grows,
I think few Tylers are matcht to such shrows,
Before she leaves brawling, she falls to deal blows.
Which early and late doth cause me to cry,
That wedding and hanging is destiny.
The more that I please her, the worse she doth like me,
The more I forbear her, the more she doth strike me,
The more that I get her, the more she doth glike me.
Wo worth this ill fortune that maketh me cry,
That wedding and hanging is deny.
If I had been hanged when I had been married,
My torments had ended, though I had miscarried,
If I had been warned, then would I have tarried;
But now all too lately I feel and cry,
That wedding and hanging is destiny.

He wrote also two Comedies, The Tryal of Chivalry, and The longer thou livest, the more Fool thou art.


Nicholas Breton, a writer of Pastoral Sonnets, Canzons, and Madrigals, in which kind of writing he keeps company with several other contemporary Emulators of Spencer and Sir Philip Sidney, in a publish'd Collection of several Odes of the chief Sonneters of that Age. He wrote also several other Books, whereof two I have by me, Wits Private Wealth, and another called The Courtier and the Country-man, in which last, speaking of Vertue, he hath these Verses:

There is a Secret few do know,
And doth in special places grow,
A rich mans praise, a poor mans wealth,
A weak mans strength, a sick mans health,
A Ladies beauty, a Lords bliss,
A matchless Jewel where it is;
And makes, where it is truly seen,
A gracious King, and glorious Queen.


Thomas Kid, a writer that seems to have been of pretty good esteem for versifying in former times, being quoted among some of the more fam'd Poets, as Spencer, Drayton, Daniel, Lodge &C. with whom he was either contemporary, or not much later: There is particularly remembred his Tragedy, Cornelia.

There also flourish'd about the same time Thomas Watson, a contemporary immitater of Sir Philip Sidney, as also Tho. Hudson, Joh. Markham, Tho. Achelly, Joh. Weever, Ch. Middleton, Geo. Turbervile, Hen. Constable, with some others, especially one John Lane, whose Works though much better meriting than many that are in print, yet notwithstanding had the ill fate to be unpublish'd, but they are all still reserved in Manuscript, namely, his Poetical Vision, his Alarm to the Poets his Twelve Months, his Guy of Warwick, a Heroick Poem; and lastly, his Supplement to Chaucer's Squires Tale.


Sir Thomas Overbury, a Knight and Wit, was Son to Sir Nicholas Overbury of Burton in Glocester-shire, one of the Judges of the Marches; who, to his natural propension of ingenuity, had the addition of good Education, being bred up first in Oxford, afterwards, for a while a Student of the Law in the Middle Temple; soon after he cast Anchor at Court, the Haven of Hope for all aspiring Spirits; afterwards travell'd into France, where having been some time, he returned again, and was entertained into the respects of Sir Rob. Carre, one who was newly initiated a Favourite to King James; where, by his wise carriage, he purchased to himself not only the good affection and respect of Sir Robert, but also of divers other eminent persons.

During his abode with Sir Robert Carre, he composed that excellent Poem of his, entituled, A Wife; which, for the excellency thereof, the Author of the Epistle to the Reader, prefixed before his Book, thus writes, Had such a Poem been extant among the ancient Romans, altho' they wanted our easie conservation of Wit by Printing, they would have committed it to Brass, lest injurious time might deprive it of due eternity. Nor was his Poem of A Wife not only done to the life, but also those Characters which he wrote, to this day not out-witted by any.

But to return from the Work to the Workman; Mr. Overbury is by the King knighted, and Sir Rob. Carre made a Viscount, and such a reciprocal Love pass'd betwixt them, that it was questionable, whether the Viscount were more in favour with King James, or Sir Thomas Overbury in the favour of the Viscount? But what estate on earth is so firm, that is not changeable, or what friendship is so constant, that is not dissolvable? Who would imagine this Viscount should be instrumental to his death, who had done him so faithful service, and to whom he had embosom'd his most secret thoughts? Yet so it was, for Sir Thomas, out of an unfeigned affection which he bare to the Viscount, diswaded him from a motion of a Marriage which was propounded betwixt him and the Lady Francis Howard, who was lately divorced from the Earl of Essex, as a Match neither for his credit here, nor comfort hereafter. This Counsel, though it proceeded from an unfeigned love in Sir Thomas, yet where Beauty commands, all discretion being sequestred, created in the Viscount a hatred towards him; and in the Countess the fury of a woman, a desire of revenge, who perswaded the Viscount, That it was not possible that ever she should endure those injuries, or hope for any prosperity so long as he lived; That she wondred how he could be so familiar, so much affected to his man Overbury; that without him he could do nothing, as it were making him his right hand, seeing he being newly grown into the Kings favour, and depending wholly upon his greatness, must expect to be clouded if not ruined, when his servant that knew his secrets should come to preferment. The Viscount, apt enough of his own inclination to revenge, being thus further exasperated by the Countess, they joyntly resolve upon his death, and soon a fit opportunity came to their hands. He being by King James (and as it is thought by the Viscount's Counsel) nominated to be sent Embassador to the Emperor of Russia, was by the said Viscount, whom he especially trusted, persuaded to decline the employment, as no better than an honourable Grave; Better lie some days in the Tower, than more months in a worse Prison; a Ship by Sea, and a barbarous cold Country by Land. You are now (Said he) in credit at home, and have made tryal of the dangers of travel, why then should you hazard all upon uncertainties, being already in possession of that you can probably expect by these means; promising him, that within a small time he would so work with the King, that he should have a good of opinion him. But he (saith Dr. Fuller) who willingly goes into a Prison out of hope to come easily out of it, may stay therein so long till he be too late convinced of his error.

And now having him in the place where they would, their next study to secure their revenge, was closely to make him away; which they concluded to be by poyson. To this end, they consult with one Mrs. Turner (the first inventer of that horrid Garb of yellow Ruffs and Cuffs, and in which Garb she was after hanged) she having acquaintance with one James Franklin, a man skilled for that purpose, agreed with him to provide that which should not kill presently, but cause one to languish away by degrees, a little and a little. Sir Gervas Yelvis, Lieutenant of the Tower, being drawn into the Conspiracy, admits one Weston, Mrs. Turners man, who under pretence of waiting upon Sir Thomas, was to act the horrid Tragedy. The Plot thus continued, Franklin buyes certain Poysons, viz. Sosater, white Arsenic, Mercury sublimate, Cantharides, red Mercury, with three or four other deadly Ingredients, which he delivered to Weston, with instructions how to use them. Weston, (an apt Scholar in the Devil's School) tempers them in his Broth and Meat, increasing or diminishing their strength according as he saw him affected. Besides these, poyson'd Tarts & Jellies are sent him by the Viscount. Nay, they poysoned his very Salt, Sauce, Meat and Drink; but being of a very strong Constitution, he held out still: At last they effected their work by a poysoned Clyster which they administed unto him, so that the next day he died thereof; and because there were some Blisters and ugly Botches on his Body, the Conspirators gave it out he died of the French Pox.

Thus by the Malice of a Woman this worthy Knight was murdered, who yet still lives in that witty Poem of his, entituled, a Wife; as is well expressed by these Verses under his Picture.

A man's best Fortune, or his worst's a Wife:
Yet I that knew no Marriage, Peace, nor Strife,
Live by a good one, by a bad one lost my Life.

But God, who seldom suffers Murder to go unrevenged, revealed the same; for notwithstanding what the Conspirators had given out, Suspitions grew high that Sir Thomas was poysoned: Whereupon We port is examined by the Lord Cook, who at first flatly denied the same; but being perswaded by the Bishop of London, he tells all: How Mrs. Turner and the Countess came acquainted; what relation she had to Witches, Sorcerers and Conjurers; and discovers all those who had any hand in it: whereupon they were all apprehended; some sent to the Tower, others to Newgate. Having thus confessed, being convicted according to course of Law, he was hanged at Tyburn; after him Mrs. Turner, after her Franklin, then Sir Gervas Yelvis, upon their several Arraignments, were found guilty, and executed. Some of them died very penitent: The Earl and his Countess were both condemned, but through the King's gracious Pardon had their Lives saved, but were never admitted to the Favour of the Court.

We shall conclude all with this his Epitaph written by himself.

The span of my days measur'd, here I rest,
That is, my Body; but my Soul, his Guest,
Is hence ascended, whither, neither Time,
Nor Faith, nor Hope, but only Love can clime;
Where being now enlightned, she doth know
The Truth of all men argue of below:
Only this Dust doth here in pawn remain,
That, when the world dissolves, she come again.


Mr. Drayton, one who had drunk as deep a Draught at Helicon as any in his time, was born at Athelston in Warwickshire, as appeareth in his Poetical Address thereunto, Poly-Olbion, Song 13. p. 213.

My native Country then, which so brave Spirits hast bred,
If there be virtue yet remaining in thy earth,
Or any good of thine thou breath'st into my Birth,
Accept it as thine own whilst now I sing of thee,
Of all thy latter Brood th'unworthiest tho' I be.

He was in his time for fame and renown in Poetry, not much inferior, if not equal to Mr. Spencer, or Sir Philip Sidney himself. Take a taste of the sprightfulness of his Muse, out of his Poly-Olbion, speaking of his native County Warwickshire.

Upon the Mid-lands now th'industrious Muse doth fall,
That Shire which we the Heart of England well may call,
As she herself extends (the midst which is Deweed)
betwixt St. Michael's Mount and Barwick-bordering Tweed,
Brave Warwick that abroad so long advanc'd her Bear,
By her illustrious Earls renowned every where,
Above her neighbouring Shires which always bore her Head.

Also in the Beginning of his Poly-Olbion he thus writes;

Of Albions glorious Isle the wonders whilst I write,
The sundry varying Soyls, the Pleasures infinite,
Where heat kills not the cold, nor cold expells the heat,
The calms too mildly small, nor winds too roughly great.
Nor night doth hinder day, nor day the night doth wrong;
The summer not too short, the winter not too long:
What help shall I invoke to aid my Muse the while? &c.

However, in the esteem of the more curious of these times, his Works seem to be antiquated, especially this of his Poly-Olbion because of the old-fashion'd kind of Verse thereof, which seems somewhat to diminish that respect which was formerly paid to the Subject, although indeed both pleasant and elaborate, wherein he took a great deal both of study and pains; and thereupon thought worthy to be commented upon by that once walking Library of our Nation, Mr. John Selden: His Barons Wars are done to the Life, equal to any of that Subject. His Englands Heroical Epistles generally liked and received, entituling him unto the appellation of the English Ovid. His Legends of Robert Duke of Normandy. Matilda, Pierce Gaveston, and Thomas Cromwel, all of them done to the Life. His Idea expresses much Fancy and Poetry. And to such as love that Poetry, that of Nymphs and Shepherds, his Nymphals, and other things of that nature, cannot be unpleasant.

To conclude, He was a Poet of a pious temper, his Conscience having always the command of his Fancy; very temperate in his Life, flow of speech, and inoffensive in company. He changed his Lawrel for a Crown of Glory, Anno 1631. and was buried in Westminster-Abbey, near the South-door, by those two eminent Poets, Geoffry Chaucer and Edmond Spencer, with this Epitaph made (as it is said) by Mr. Benjamin Johnson.

Do, pious Marble, let thy Readers know
What they, and what their Children ow
To Drayton's Name, whose sacred Dust
We recommend unto thy Trust
Protect his Memory, and preserve his Story,
Remain a lasting Monument of his Glory:
And when thy Ruines shall disclaim
To be the Treasurer of his Name,
His Name that cannot fade shall be
An everlasting Monument to thee.


Joshua Sylvester, a very eminent Translator of his time, especially of the Divine Du Bartus, whose six days work of Creation, gain'd him an immortal Fame, having had many great Admirers even to these days, being usher'd into the world by the chiefest Wits of that Age; amongst others, the most accomplisht Mr. Benjamin Johnson thus wrote of him.

If to admire, were to commend my Praise
might then both thee, thy work and merit raise;
But, as it is (the Child of Ignorance
And utter stranger to all Ayr of France)
How can I speak of thy great pains, but err;
Since they can only judge that can confer?
Behold! the reverend shade of Bartus stands
Before my thought and (in thy right) commands
That to the world I publish, for him, this:
Bartus doth with thy English now were his,
So well in that are his Inventions wrought,
As his will now be the Translation thought,
Thine the Original; and France shall boast
No more those Maiden-Glories she hath lost.

He hath also translated several other Works of Du Bartus; namely, Eden, the Deceipt, the Furies, the Handicrafts, the Ark, Babylon, the Colonies, the Columns, the Fathers, Jonas, Urania, Triumph of Faith, Miracle of Peace, the Vocation, the Fathers, the Daw, the Captains, the Trophies, the Magnificence, &c. Also a Paradox of Odes de la Nove, Baron of Teligni, with the Quadrains of Pibeac; all which Translations were generally well received: but for his own Works which were bound up with them, they received not so general an approbation; as you may perceive by these Verses;

We know thou dost well
As a Translator,
But where things require
A Genius and a Fire,
Not kindled before by others pains,
As often thou hast wanted Brains.


Mr. Daniel was born nigh to the Town of Taunton in Somersetshire; his Father was a Master of Musick, and his harmonious Mind (saith Dr. Fuller) made an impression in his Son's Genius, who proved to be one of the Darlings of the Muses, a most excellent Poet, whose Wings of Fancy displayed the Flags of highest Invention: Carrying in his Christian and Sirname the Names of two holy Prophets; which, as they were Monitors to him, for avoyding Scurrility, so he qualified his Raptures to such a strain, as therein he abhorred all Debauchery and Prophaneness.

Nor was he only one of the inspired Train of Phoebus, but also a most judicious Historian, witness his Lives of our English Kings since the Conquest, until King Edward the Third, wherein he hath the happiness to reconcile brevity with clearness, qualities of great distance in other Authors; and had he continued to these times, no doubt it had been a Work incomparable: Of which his Undertaking, Dr. Heylin in the Preface to his Cosmography, gives this Character, speaking of the chiefest Historians of this Nation; And to end the Bed-roll (says he) half the Story of this Realm done by Mr. Daniel, of which I believe that which himself saith of it in his Epistle to the Reader, that there was never brought together more of the Main. Which Work is since commendably continued (but not with equal quickness and judgment,) by Mr. Truffel.

As for his Poems so universally received, the first in esteem is, that Heroical one of the Civil Wars between the two Houses of York and Lancaster; of which the elaborate Mr. Speed, in his Reign of Richard the Second, thus writes: The Seeds (saith he) of those fearful Calamities, a flourishing Writer of our Age (speaking of Mr. Daniel) willing nearly to have imitated Lucan, as he is indeed called our English Lucan, doth not unfortunately express, tho' he might rather have said he wept them, than sung them; but indeed so to sing them, is to weep them.

I sing the Civil Wars, tumultuous Broils
And bloody Factions of a mighty Land,
Whose people haughty, proud with foreign spoyls;
Upon their selves turn back their conquering hand
While Kin their Kin, Brother the Brother foils,
Like Ensigns, all against like Ensigns stand:
Bows against Bows, a Crown against a Crown,
While all pretending right, all right throw down

Take one Taste more of his Poetry, in his sixth Book of that Heroical Poem, speaking of the Miseries of Civil War.

So wretched is this execrable War,
This civil Sword, wherein though all we see
be foul, and all things miserable are,
Yet most of all is even the Victory;
Which is, not only the extream Ruiner
of others, but her own Calamity;
Where who obtains, cannot what he would do:
Their power hath part that holp him thereunto.

Next, take notice of his Musophilus, or general Defence of Learning, Dedicated to Sir Fulk Greuil; his Letter of Octovia to Marcus Antonius, his Complaint of Rosamond his Panegyrick, Delia, &c. Besides his Dramatick Pieces; as his Tragedy of Philotus and Cleopatra; Hymenis Triumph, and the Queens Arcadia, a Pastoral; being all of them of such worth, that they were well accepted by the choicest Judgments of those Times, and do yet remain in good esteem, as by their often Impressions may appear.

This our Poet's deserts preferr'd him to be a Servant in ordinary to Queen Anne, the most illustrious wife of King James I. who allowed him a fair Salary, such as enabled him to keep a handsom Gardenhouse in Old-street nigh London, where he would commonly lie obscure sometimes two Months together, the better to enjoy that great Felicity he aimed at, by enjoying the company of the Muses, and then would appear in publick, to recreate himself, and converse with his Friends; of whom the most endeared were the Learned Doctor Cowel, and Judicious Mr. Cambden.

And now being weary of the Troubles of the City and Court, he retired into the Country, and turn'd Husbandman, Renting a Farm or Grange in Wiltshire nigh the Devizes, not so much, as it is thought, for the hope of gains, as to enjoy the retiredness of a Country Life: How he thrived upon it, I cannot inform my self, much less my Readers, although no question pleasing himself therein, he attained to that Riches he sought for, viz. Quiet and Contentedness; which whoso enjoys, reapeth benefit of his labours. He left no Issue behind him but those of his Brain, though living a good space of time with Justina his wife: For his Estate, he had neither a Bank of Wealth, nor Lank of Want; but living in a competent contented condition, and died (as it is conjectured) about the latter end of King James I.


George Chapman was one in his time much famed for the Fluency of his Muse; gaining a great repute for his Translation of Homer and Hesiod, which in those times passed as Works done without compare; and indeed considering he was one of the first who brake the Ice in the Translation of such learned Authors, reading the highest conception of their Raptures into a neat polite English, as gave the true meaning of what they intended, and rendred it a style acceptable to the Reader; considering, I say, what Age he lived in, it was very well worthy praise; though since the Translation of Homer is very far out-done by Mr. Ogilby. He also continued that excellent Poem of Hero and Leander, begun by Christopher Marlow, and added very much to the Stage in those times by his Dramatick Writings; as his Blind Beggar of Alexandria, All Fools, the Gentleman Usher, Humorous Days Mirth, May-Day, Mounsieur D'Olive, Eastward ho, Two wise men, and all the rest Fools, Widows Tears, Comedies; Bussy D' Amboys, Byron's Tragedy, Bussy D'Amboys Revenge, Cæsar and Pompey, Revenge for Honour, Tragedies; the Temple, Masque of the Middle Temple and Lincolns-Inn Masques; and Byron's Conspiracy, a History; in all seventeen.


Of this Robert Baron, we can recover nothing, save only those Dramatick Pieces which he wrote to the Stage, and which no doubt passed with good applause in those times. Of these are remembred his Don Quixot, or the Knight of the Ill-favoured Countenance, a Comedy; Gripus and Hegia, a Pastoral; Deorum Dona, Dick Scorner, Destruction of Jerusalem, the Marriage of Wit and Science, Masques and Interludes; and Myrza, a Tragedy.


To Mr. Robert Baron we may add Lodovic Carlisle, as much about the same time, and of like equal esteem; having written some not yet totally forgotten Plays, viz. Arviragus and Felicia, in two parts; the deserving Favorite, the Fool would be a Favorite, or the deserving Lover, Tragi-Comedies; Marius and Scylla, and Osmond the Great Turk, or the Noble Servant, Tragedies; all which shew him (though not a Master) yet a great Retainer to the Muses.


To these we may add John Ford, a Dramatick Writer likewise of those times; very beneficial to the Red-Bull and Fortune-Play-houses; as may appear by these Plays which he wrote, viz. The Fancies, Ladies Tryal, Comedies; the broken Heart; Lovers Melancholy, Loves Sacrifice, 'tis pity she's a Whore, Tragedies; Perkin Warbeck, a History; and an Associate with Rowley and Deckar in a Tragi-Comedy called The Witch of Edmonton.


Anthony Brewer was also one who in his time contributed very much towards the English Stage by his Dramatick Writings; especially in that noted one of his, entituled, Lingua; which (as it is reported) being once acted in Cambridge, the late Usurper Cromwel had therein the Part of Tactus, the Substance of the Play being a Contention among the Senses for a Crown, which Lingua, who would have made up a sixth Sense, had laid for them to find; having this Inscription;

Which of the five that doth deserve it best,
Shall have his Temples with this Coronet blest.

This Mock-contention for a Crown, is said to swell his Ambition so high, that afterwards he contended for it in earnest, heading such a notable Rebellion, as had almost ruined three flourishing Kingdoms.

But to return to Mr. Brewer; Besides this Lingua, he wrote Loves Loadstone, and the Countrey-Girl, Comedies; the Love-sick King, and Landagartha, Tragi-Comedies, and Loves Dominion, a Pastoral.


Henry Glapthorn was one well deserving of the English, being one of the chiefest Dramatick Writers of this Age; deservingly commendable not so much for the quantity as the quality of his Plays; being his Hollander, Ladies Priviledge, and Wit in a Constable, Comedies; his Argalus and Parthenia, a Pastoral; and Alberus Wailestein, a Tragedy; in which Tragedy these Lines are much commended.

This Law the Heavens inviolably keep,
Their Justice well may slumber, but ne'er sleep,

JOHN DAVIS of Hereford.

In the writing of this Mans Life, we shall make use of Dr. Fuller in his England's Worthies, who saith, that he was the greatest Master of the Pen that England in his Age beheld; for,

1. Fast writing; so incredible his expedition.

2. Fair writing; some minutes consultation being required to decide whether his Lines were written or printed.

3. Close writing; a Mystery which to do well, few attain unto.

4. Various writing; Secretary, Roman, Court and Text.

The Poetical Fiction of Briareus the Giant, who had an hundred hands, found a Moral in him, who could so cunningly and copiously disguise his aforesaid elemental hands, that by mixing, he could make them appear an hundred; and if not so many sorts, so many degrees of writing. He had also many pretty excursions into Poetry, and could flourish Matters as well as Letters, with his Fancy as well as with his Pen. Take a taste of his Abilities in those Verses of his before Coriat's Crudities, being called the Odcombian Banquet, wherein the whole Club of Wits in that Age joyned together, to write Mock-commendatory Verses in Praise-dispraise of his Book.

If Art that oft the Learn'd hath stammer'd,
In one Iron Head-piece (yet no Hammer-Lead)
May (joyn'd with Nature) hit Fame on the Cocks-comb,
Then 'tis that Head-piece that is crown'd with Odcomb
For he, hard Head (and hard, sith like a Whet-stone)
It gives Wits edge, and draws them too like Jet-stone)
Is Caput Mundi for a world of School-tricks,
And is not ignorant in the learned'st—tricks
H'hath seen much more than much, I assure ye,
And will see New-Troy, Bethlem, and Old-Jury
Meanwhile (to give a taste of his first travel,
With streams of Rhetorick that get golden Gravel)
He tells how he to Venice once did wander;
From whence he came more witty than a Gander:
Whereby he makes relations of such wonders,
That Truth therein doth lighten, while Art thunders,
All Tongues fled to him that at Babel swerved,
Left they for want of warm months might have starved,
Where they do revel in such passing measure,
(Especially the Greek, wherein's his pleasure.)
That (jovially) so Greek he takes the guard of,
That he's the merriest Greek that ere was heard of;
For he as 'twere his Mothers twittle twattle,
(That's Mother-tongue) the Greek can prittle prattle.
Nay, of that Tongue he so hath got the Body,
That he sports with it at Ruffe, Gleek or Noddy, &c.

He died at London in the midst of the Reign of King James I. and lieth buried in St. Giles in the Fields.


This pleasant Poet, painful Preacher, and pious Person, was born in London, of wealthy Parents, who took such care of his Education, that at nine years of Age he was sent to study at Hart-Hall in Oxford, having besides the Latine and Greek, attained to a knowledge in the French Tongue. Here he fell into acquaintance with that great Master of Language and Art, Sir Henry Wootton; betwixt whom was such Friendship contracted, that nothing but Death could force the separation.

From Oxford he was transplanted to Cambridge, where he much improved his Study, and from thence placed at Lincolns Inn, when his Father dying, and leaving him three thousand pound in ready Money; he having a youthful desire to travel, went over with the Earl of Essex to Cales; where having seen the issue of this Expedition, he left them and went into Italy, and from thence into Spain, where by his industry he attained to a perfection in their Languages, and returned home with many useful Observations of those Countries, and their Laws and Government.

These his Abilities, upon his Return, preferred him to be Secretary to the Lord Elsmore, Keeper of the Great Seal; in whose Service he fell in Love with a young Gentlewoman who lived in that Family, Neece to the Lady Elsmore, and Daughter to Sir George Moor, Chancellor of the Garter, and Lieutenant of the Tower, who greatly opposed this Match; yet notwithstanding they were privately married: which so exasperated Sir George Moor, that he procured the Lord Elsmore to discharge him of his Secretariship, and never left prosecuting him till he had cast him into Prison, as also his two Friends who had married him, and gave him his Wife in Marriage.

But Mr.Donne had not been long there before he found means to get out, as also enlargement for his two Friends, and soon after through the mediation of some able persons, a reconciliation was made, and he receiving a Portion with his Wife, and having help of divers friends, they lived very comfortably together; And now was he frequently visited by men of greatest learning and judgment in this Kingdom; his company desired by the Nobility, and extreamly affected by the Gentry: His friendship was sought for of most foreign Embassadors, and his acquaintance entreated by many other strangers, whose learning or employment occasioned their stay in this Kingdom. In which state of life he composed his more brisk and youthful Poems; in which he was so happy, as if Nature with all her varieties had been made to exercise his great Wit and Fancy; Nor did he leave it off in his old age, as is witnessed by many of his divine Sonnets, and other high, holy and harmonious Composures, under his Effigies in these following Verses to his Printed Poems, one most ingeniously expresses.

This was for youth, strength, mirth, and wit, the time
Most count their golden age, but 'twas not thine:
Thine was thy later years, so much refin´d,
From youths dross, mirth, and wit, as thy pure mind,
Thought, like the Angels, nothing but the praise
Of thy Creator in those last best days.
Witness this Book, thy Emblem, which begins
With love, but ends with sighs and tears for sins.

At last, by King James's his command, or rather earnest persuasion, setting himself to the study of Theology, and into holy Orders, he was first made a Preacher of Lincoln's-Inn, afterwards advanc'd to be Dean of Pauls, and as of an eminent Poet he became a much more eminent Preacher, so he rather improved then relinquisht his Poetical fancy, only con converting it from humane and worldly to divine and heavenly Subjects; witness this Hymn made in the time of his sickness.

A Hymn to God the Father.
Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun,
Which was my sin, tho' it were done before?
Wilt thou forgive that sin through which I run,
And do run still, tho' still I do deplore?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
For I have more.
Wilt thou forgive that sin which I have won
Others to sin, and made my sin their door?
Wilt thou forgive that sin, which I did shun
A year or two, but wallowed in a score?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
For I have more.
I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
My last thrid, I shall perish on the shore;
But swear by thy self, that at my death thy son
Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore;
And having done that, thou hast done,
I ask no more.

He died March 31. Anno 1631. and was buried in St. Paul's-Church, attended by many persons of Nobility and Eminency. After his burial, some mournful friends repaired, and as Alexander the great did to the Grave of the most famous Achilles, so they strewed his with curious and costly flowers. Nor was this (tho' not usual) all the honour done to his reverend ashes; for some person (unknown) to perpetuate his memory, sent to his Executors, Dr. King, and Dr. Momford, an 100 Marks towards the making of a Monument for him; which they faithfully performed, it being as lively a representation as in dead Marble could be made of him, tho' since by that merciless Fire in 1666. it be quite ruined.

I shall conclude all with these Verses, made to the Memory of this reverend person.

He that would write an Epitaph for thee,
And do it well, must first begin to be
Such as thou wert; for none can truly know
Thy worth, thy life, but he that lived so.
He must have wit to spare, and to hurl down,
Enough to keep the Gallants of the Town.
He must have learning plenty, both the Laws
Civil and Common, to judge any Cause;
Divinity great store above the rest,
None of the worst Edition, but the best:
He must have Language, Travel, all the Arts;
Judgment to use, or else he wants thy parts:
He must have friends the highest, able to do,
Such as Mæcenas and Augustus too;
He must have such a sickness, such a death,
Or else his vain descriptions come beneath:
He must unto all good men be a friend,
And (like to thee) must make a pious end.


This reverend Doctor was born at Ewel in Surrey; a witty Poet in his youth, witness his Iter Boreale, and other facetious Poems, which were the effects of his juvenal fancy; He was also one of those celebrated Wits, which with Mr. Benjamin Johnson, Mr. Whitaker, Sir Joh. Harrington, Dr. Donne, Mr. Drayton, Mr. Davis, whom I mentioned before, and several others, wrote those mock commendatory Verses on Coriats Crudities; which, because the Book is scarce, and very few have seen it, I shall give you them as they are recited in the Book.

I do not wonder, Coriat, that thou hast
Over the Alps, through France, and Savoy, past,
Parcht on thy skin, and founder'd in thy feet,
Faint, thirsty, lousie, and didst live to see't.
Tho' these are Roman sufferings, and do show
What Creatures back thou hadst, could carry so;
All I admire is thy return, and how
Thy slender pasterns could thee bear, when now
Thy observations with thy brain ingendred,
Have stufft thy massy and volumnious head
With Mountains, Abbeys, Churches, Synagogues,
Preputial Offals, and Dutch Dialogues:
A burthen far more grievous than the weight
Of Wine or Sleep, more vexing then the freight
Of Fruit and Oysters, which lade many a pate,
And send folks crying home from Billings-gate.
No more shall man with Mortar on his head
Set forward towards Rome: no, Thou art bred
A terror to all Footmen, and to Porters,
And all Lay-men that will turn Jews Exhorters,
To fly their conquer'd trade: Proud England then
Embrace this luggage, which the man of men
Hath landed here, and change thy Welladay
Into some home-spun welcome Roundelay.
Send of this stuff thy Territories thorough,
To Ireland, Wales, and Scottish Edenborough;
There let this Book be read and understood,
Where is no theme, nor writer half so good.

He from a Student in, became Dean of Christchurch, then Bishop of Oxford, being of a courteous carriage, and no destructive nature to any who offended him, counting himself plentifully repaired with a Jest upon him. He afterwards was advanced Bishop of Norwich, where he died Anno 1635.


This renowned Poet, whose Fame surmounts all the Elogies which the most learned Pen can bestow upon him, was born in the City of Westminster, his Mother living there in Harts-horn-lane, near Charing-cross, where she married a Bricklayer for her second Husband. He was first bred in a private School in St. Martin's-Church, then in Westminster-School, under the learned Mr. Cambden, as he himself intimates in one of his Epigrams.

Cambden, most reverend head, to whom I owe
All that I am in Arts, all that I know.
How nothings that, to whom my Country owes,
The great renown and name wherewith she goes.

Under this learned Schoolmaster he attained to a good degree of learning, and was statutably admitted in St. John's-Colledge in Cambridge, (as many years after incorporated a honorary Member of Christ-Church in Oxford) here he staid but some small time, for want of maintainance; for if there be no Oyl in the Lamp, it will soon be extinguish'd: And now, as if he had quite laid aside all thoughts of the University, he betook himself to the Trade of his Father-in-law; And let not any be offended herewith, since it is more commendable to work in a lawful Calling, then having one not to use it. He was one who helped in the building of the new Structure of Lincolns-Inn, where, having a Trowel in his hand, he had a Book in his pocket, that as his work went forward, so his study went not backward.

But such rare Parts as he had could be no more hid, than the Sun in a serene day, some Gentlemen pitying such rare Endowments should be buried under the rubbish of so mean a Calling, did by their bounty manumise him freely to follow his own ingenious inclinations. Indeed his Parts were not so ready to run of themselves, as able to answer the spur; so that it may be truly said of him, that he had an elaborate wit wrought out by his own industry; yet were his Repartees for the most part very quick and smart, and which favour'd much of ingenuity, of which I shall give you two instances.

He having been drinking in an upper room, at the Feathers-Tavern in Cheap side, as he was coming down stairs, his foot slipping, he caught a fall, and tumbling against a door, beat it open into a room where some Gentlemen were drinking Canary; recovering his feet, he said, Gentlemen, since I am so luckily fallen into your company, I will drink with you before I go.

He used very much to frequent the Half-Moon-Tavern in Aldersgate-street, through which was a common Thorough fare; he coming late that way, one night, was denied passage, whereupon going through the Sun-Tavern a little after, he said,

Since that the Moon was so unkind to make me go about,
The Sun hence forth shall take my Coin, the Moon shall go without.

His constant humour was to sit silent in learned Company, and suck in (besides Wine) their several Humours into his observation; what was Ore in others, he was able to refine unto himself.

He was one, and the chief of them, in ushering forth the Book of Coriats Crudities, writing not only a Character of the Author, an explanation of his Frontispiece, but also an Acrostick upon his Name, which for the sutableness of it, (tho' we have written something of others mock Verses) we shall here insert it.

Try and trust Roger, was the word, but now
Honest Tom Tell-troth puts down Roger, How?
Of travel he discourseth so at large,
Marry he sets it out at his own charge;
And therein (which is worth his valour, too)
Shews he dare more than Paul's Church-yard durst do.
Come forth thou bonny bouncing Book then, daughter
Of Tom of Odcombe, that odd jovial Author,
Rather his son I should have call'd thee, why?
Yes thou wert born out of his travelling thigh
As well as from his brains, and claim'st thereby
To be his Bacchus as his Pallas: he
Ever his Thighs Male then and his Brains She.

He was paramount in the Dramatick part of Poetry, and taught the Stage an exact conformity to the Laws of Comedians, being accounted the most learned, judicious, and correct of them all, and the more to be admired for being so, for that neither the height of natural parts, for he was no Shakespear, nor the cost of extraordinary education, but his own proper industry, and addiction to Books, advanced him to this perfection. He wrote fifty Plays in all, whereof fifteen Comedies, three Tragedies, the rest Masques and Entertainments. His Comedies were, The Alchimist, Bartholomew Fair, Cynthia's Revels, Caseis alter'd, The Devil is an Ass, Every Man in his humour, every Man out of his humour, The Fox, Magnetick Lady, New Inn, Poetaster, Staple of News, Sad Shepherd, Silent Woman, and A Tale of a Tub. His Tragedies were, Cateline's Conspiracy, Mortimer's Fall, and Seianus. His Masques and Entertainments, too long here to write, were thirty and two, besides a Comedy of East-ward, hoe? in which he was partner with Chapman.

These his Plays were above the vulgar capacity, (which are onely tickled with down-right obscenity) and took not so well at the first stroke, as at the rebound, when beheld the second time, yea, they will endure reading, and that with due commendation, so long as either ingenuity or learning are fashionable in our Nation. And although all his Plays may endure the test, yet in three of his Comedies, namely, The Fox, Alchymist, and Silent Woman, he may be compared in the judgment of the learned men, for decorum, language and well-humouring parts, as well with the chief of the ancient Greek and Latine Comedians, as the prime of modern Italians, who have been judged the best of Europe for a happy vein in Comedies; nor is his Bartholomew Fair much short of them. As for his other Comedies, Staple of News, Devil's an Ass, and the rest, if they be not so sprightful and vigorous as his first pieces, all that are old will, and all that desire to be old, should excuse him therein; and therefore let the Name of Ben Johnson sheild them against whoever shall think fit to be severe in censure against them. Truth is, his Tragedies, Seianus and Cateline seem to have in them more of an artificial and inflate, than of a pathetical and naturally Tragick height; yet do they every one of them far excel any of the English ones that were writ before him; so that he may be truly said to be the first reformer of the English Stage, as he himself more truly than modestly writes in his commendatory Verses of his Servants Richard Broom's Comedy of the Northern Lass.

Which you have justly gained from the Stage,
By observation of those Comick Laws,
Which I, your Master, first did teach the Age.

In the rest of his Poetry, (for he is not wholly Dramatick) as his Underwoods, Epigrams, &c. he is sometimes bold and strenuous, sometimes Magisterial, sometimes lepid and full enough of conceit, and sometimes a man as other men are.

It seems the issue of his brain was more lively and lasting than the issue of his body, having several Children, yet none living to survive him; This he bestowed as part of an Epitaph on his eldest Son, dying an Infant.

Rest in soft peace, and ask'd, say, Here doth lye
Ben Johnson his best piece of Poetry.

But tho' the immortal Memory still lives of him in his learned Works, yet his Body, subject to mortality, left this life, Anno 1638. and was buried about the Belfrey in the Abbey-Church at Westminster, having only upon a Pavement over his Grave, this written:

O Rare Ben Johnson.

Yet were not the Poets then so dull and dry, but that many expressed their affection to his Memory in Elegies and Epitaphs; amongst which this following may not be esteemed the worst.

The Muses fairest Light in no dark time,
The Wonder of a learned Age; the line
That none can pass: the most proportion'd Wit
To Nature; the best Judge of what was fit:
The deepest, plainest, highest, clearest Pen:
The Voyce most eccho'd by consenting men;
The Soul which answer'd best to all well said
By others; and which most requital made:
Tun'd to the highest Key of ancient Rome;
Returning all her Musick with her own;
In whom with Nature, Study claim'd a part,
And yet who to himself ow'd all his Art;
Here lies Ben Johnson, every Age will look
With sorrow here, with Wonder on his Book.


These two joyned together, made one of the happy Triumvirate (the other two being Johnson and Shakespear) of the chief Dramatick Poets of our Nation, in the last foregoing Age; among whom there might be said to be a symmetry of perfection, while each excelled in his peculiar way: Ben Johnson in his elaborate pains and knowledge of Authors, Shakespear in his pure vein of wit, and natural Poetick height; Fletcher in a Courtly Elegance and Gentile Familiarity of Style, and withal a Wit and Invention so overflowing, that the luxuriant Branches thereof were frequently thought convenient to be lopt off by Mr. Beaumont; which two joyned together, like Castor and Pollux, (most happy when in conjunction) raised the English to equal the Athenian and Roman Theaters; Beaumont bringing the Ballast of Judgment, Fletcher the Sail of Phantasie, both compounding a Poet to admiration.

These two admirable Wits wrote in all two and fifty Plays, whereof three and forty were Comedies; namely, Beggars Bush, Custom of the Country, Captain Coxcomb, Chances, Cupid's Revenge, Double Marriage, Elder Brother, Four Plays in one, Fair Maid of the Inn, Honest man's Fortune, Humorous Lieutenant, Island Princess, King and no King, Knight of the burning Pestle, Knight of Malta, Little French Lawyer, Loyal Subject, Laws of Candy, Lovers Progress, Loves Cure, Loves Pilgrimage, Mad Lover, Maid in the Mill, Monsieur Thomas, Nice Valour, Night-Walker, Prophetess, Pilgrim, Philaster, Queen of Corinth, Rule a Wife and have a Wife, Spanish Curate, Sea-Voyage, Scornful Lady, Womans Prize, Women pleased, Wife for a Month, Wit at several weapons, and a Winters Tale. Also six Tragedies; Bonduca, the Bloody Brother, False One, the Maids Tragedy, Thiery and Theodoret, Valentinian, and Two Noble Kinsmen, a Tragi-Comedy, Fair Shepherdess, a Pastoral; and a Masque of Grays-Inn Gentlemen.

It is reported of them, that meeting once in a Tavern, to contrive the rude Draught of a Tragedy, Fletcher undertook to kill the King therein, whose Words being over-heard by a Listner (though his Loyalty not to be blamed herein) he was accused of High Treason, till the Mistake soon appearing, that the Plot was only against a Dramatick and Scenical King, all wound off in Merriment.

Yet were not these two Poets so conjoyned, but that each of them did several Pieces by themselves, Mr. Beaumont, besides other Works, wrote a Poem, entituled, Salmacis and Hermaphroditus, a Fable taken out of Ovid's Metamorphosis; and Mr. Fletcher surviving Mr. Beamont, wrote good Comedies of himself; so that it could not be laid to his Charge what Ajax doth to Ulysses;

Nihil hic Diomede remoto,
When Diomedes was gone,
He could do nought alone.

Though some think them inferior to the former, and no wonder if a single thread was not so strong as a twisted one, Mr. Fletcher (as it is said) died in London of the Plague, in the first year of King Charles the First, 1625.


This eminent Poet, the Glory of the English Stage (and so much the more eminent, that he gained great applause and commendation, when able Wits were his Contemporaries) was born at Stratford upon Avon in Warwickshire, and is the highest honour that Town can boast of. He was one of the Triumvirate, who from Actors, became Makers of Comedies and Tragedies, viz. Christopher Marlow before him, and Mr. John Lacy, since his time, and one in whom three eminent Poets may seem in some sort to be compounded, 1. Martial, in the warlike sound of his Sirname, Hastivibrans, or Shakespear; whence some have supposed him of military extraction. 2. Ovid, the most natural and witty of all Poets; and hence it was that Queen Elizabeth coming into a Grammar-School, made this extemporary Verse.

Persius a Crab-staff, Bawdy Martial, Ovid a fine Wag.

3. Plautus, a most exact Comedian, and yet never any Scholar, as our Shakespear (if alive) would confess himself; but by keeping company with Learned persons, and conversing with jocular Wits, whereto he was naturally inclin'd, he became so famously witty, or wittily famous, that by his own industry, without the help of Learning, he attained to an extraordinary height in all strains of Dramatick Poetry, especially in the Comick part, wherein we may say he outwent himself; yet was he not so much given to Festivity, but that he could (when so disposed) be solemn and serious; so that Heraclitus himself might afford to smile at his Comedies, they were so merry, and Democritus scarce forbear to sigh at his Tragedies, they were so mournful.

Nor were his Studies altogether confined to the Stage, but had excursions into other kinds of Poetry, witness his Poem of the Rape of Lucrece, and that of Venus and Adonis; wherein, to give you a taste of the loftiness of his Style, we shall insert some few Lines of the beginning of the latter.

Even as the Sun with purple-colour'd face
Had tane his last leave of the weeping Morn,
Rose-cheek'd Adonis hy'd him to the Chase,
Hunting he lov'd, but Love he laught to scorn.
Sick thoughted Venus makes amain unto him,
And like a bold-fac'd Suiter 'gins to woo him.
Thrive fairer than my self (thus she begins)
The fields chief flower, sweet above compare,
Stain to all Nymphs, more lovely than a man;
More white and red than Doves or Roses are:
Nature that made thee with herself at strife,
Says that the world hath ending with thy life, &c

He was an eminent instance of the truth of that Rule, Poeta non fit, sed nascitur; one is not made, but born a Poet; so that as Cornish Diamonds are not polished by any Lapidary, but are pointed and smoothed even as they are taken out of the Earth, so Nature itself was all the Art which was used on him.

He was so great a Benefactor to the Stage, that he wrote of himself eight and forty Plays; whereof 18 Comedies, viz. As you like it, All's well that ends well, A Comedy of Errors, Gentleman of Verona, Loves Labour lost, London Prodigal, Merry Wives of Windsor, Measure for measure, Much ado about Nothing, Midsummer Nights Dream, Merchant of Venice, Merry Devil of Edmonton, Mucedorus, the Puritan Widow, the Tempest, Twelf-Night, or what you will, the taming of the Shrew, and a winters Tale. Fourteen Tragedies, viz. Anthony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, Cymbeline, Hamlet, Julius Cæsar, Lorrino, Leir and his three Daughters, Mackbeth, Othello the Moor of Venice, Romeo and Juliet, Troylus and Cressida, Tymon of Athens, Titus Andronicus, and the Yorkshire Tragedy. Also fifteen Histories, viz. Cromwel's History, Henry 4. in two parts, Henry 5. Henry 6. in three parts, Henry 8. John King of England, in three parts, Pericles Prince of Tyre, Richard 2. Richard 3. and Oldrastes Life and Death. Also the Arraignment of Paris, a Pastoral.

Many were the Wit-combats betwixt him and Ben Johnson, which two we may compare to a Spanish great Gallion, and an English Man of war: Mr. Johnson, (like the former) was built far higher in Learning, solid, but slow in his performances; Shakespear, with the English Man of war, lesser in Bulk, but lighter in sayling, could turn with all Tides, tack about, and take advantage of all Winds, by the quickness of his Wit and Invention. His History of Henry the Fourth is very much commended by some, as being full of sublime Wit, and as much condemned by others, for making Sir John Falstaffe the property of Pleasure for Prince Henry to abuse, as one that was a Thrasonical Puff, and emblem of mock Valour; though indeed he was a man of Arms every inch of him, and as valiant as any his Age, being for his Martial Prowess made Knight of the Garter by King Henry the 6th.

This our famous Comedian died An. Dom. 16—and was buried at Stratford upon Avon, the Town of his Nativity; upon whom one hath bestowed this Epitaph, though more proper had he been buried in Westminster Abbey.

Renowned Spencer, lie a thought more nigh
To learned Chaucer, and rare Beaumont lie
A little nearer Spencer to make room
For Shakespear, in your threefold, fourfold Tomb,
To lodge all four in one Bed make a shift
Until Doomsday, for hardly will a fifth
Betwixt this day and that, by Fates be slain
For whom your Curtains may be drawn again.
If your precedency in Death do bar
A fourth place in your sacred Sepulcher,
Under this sacred Marble of thine own,
Sleep rare Tragedian Shakespear! sleep alone,
Thy unmolested Peace in an unshar'd Cave,
Possess as Lord, not Tenant of thy Grave,
That unto us, and others it may be
Honour hereafter to be laid by thee.


Christopher Marlow was (as we said) not only contemporary with William Shakespear, but also, like him, rose from an Actor, to be a maker of Comedies and Tragedies, yet was he much inferior to Shakespear not only in the number of his Plays, but also in the elegancy of his Style. His Pen was chiefly employ'd in Tragedies; namely, his Tamberlain the first and second Part, Edward the Second, Lust's Dominion, or the Lascivious Queen, the Massacre of Paris, his Jew of Malta, a Tragi-comedy, and his Tragedy of Dido, in which he was joyned with Nash. But none made such a great Noise as his Comedy of Doctor Faustus with his Devils, and such like tragical Sport, which pleased much the humors of the Vulgar. He also begun a Poem of Hero and Leander; wherein he seemed to have a resemblance of that clear and unsophisticated Wit which was natural to Musæus that incomparable Poet. This Poem being left unfinished by Marlow who in some riotous Fray came to an untimely and violent end, was thought worthy of the finishing hand of Chapman, as we intimated before; in the performance whereof, nevertheless he fell short of the Spirit and Invention with which it was begun.


Barton Holyday, an old Student of Christ-Church in Oxford, who besides his Translation of Juvenal with elaborate Notes, writ several other things in English Verse, rather learned than elegant; and particularly a Comedy, called The Marriage of the Arts: Out of which, to shew you his fluent (but too Satyrical Style) take these Verses made by him to be spoken by Pocta, as an Execration against Women.

O Women, Witches, Fayries, Devils,
The impure extract of a world of Evils;
Natures great Errour, the Obliquity
Of the Gods Wisdom; and th'Anomaly
From all that's good; Ile curse you all below
The Center, and if I could, then further throw
Your cursed heads, and if any should gain
A place in Heaven, Ile rhyme 'em down again
To a worse Ruine, &c.


Cyril Turner was one who got a Name amongst the Poets, by writing of two old Tragedies, the Athei'st's Tragedy, and the Revenger's Tragedy; which two Tragedies, saith one,

His Fame unto that Pitch so only raised,
As not to be despised, nor too much prais'd.


Thomas Midleton was one who by his Industry added very much to the English Stage, being a copious Writer of Dramatick Poetry. He was Contemporary with Johnson and Fletcher and tho' not of equal Repute with them, yet were well accepted of those times such Plays as he wrote; namely, Blurt Mr. Constable, the chaste Maid in Cheapside, Your fine Gallants, Family of Love, More Dissemblers than Women, the Game at Chess, the Mayor of Quinborough, a mad world my Masters, Michaelmas Term, No Wit like a womans, the Roaring Girl, any thing for a quiet Life, the Phenix and a new Trick to catch the old one, Comedies; The world toss'd at Tennis, and the Inner Temple, Masques; and Women beware Women, a Tragedy. Besides what, he was an Associate with William Rowley in several Comedies and Tragi-Comedies; as, the Spanish Gypsies, the Changeling, the Old Law, the fair Quarrel, the Widow: Of all which, his Michaelmas Term is highly applauded both for the plot and neatness of the style.


William Rowley was likewise a great Benefactor to the English Stage, not only in those Plays mentioned before with Thomas Midleton, but also what he wrote alone; as, A Woman never vext a Comedy; A Match at Midnight, and All's lost by Lust, Tragedies; and joyn'd with Webster, two Comedies, The Thracian wonder, and A Cure for a Cuckold, with Shakespere, The Birth of Merlin, a Tragi-Comedy; and The Travels of the three English Brothers, a History, wherein he was joyn'd with Day and Wilkins.


Thomas Decker, a great pains-taker in the Dramatick strain, and as highly conceited of those pains he took; a high-flyer in wit, even against Ben Johnson himself, in his Comedy, call'd, The untrussing of the humorous Poet. Besides which he wrote also, The Honest Whore, in two Parts; Fortunatus; If this ben't a good Play the Devil's in't; Match me in London; The Wonder of a Kingdom; The Whore of Babylon, all of them Comedies. He was also an associate with John Webster in several well entertain'd Plays, viz. Northward, hoe? The Noble Stranger; New trick to cheat the Devil; Westward, hoe? The Weakest goes to the Wall; And A Woman will have her will: As also with Rowley and Ford in the Witch of Edmunton, a Tragi-Comedy; And also Wiat's History with Webster.


John Marston was one whose fluent Pen both in a Comick and Tragick strain, made him to be esteemed one of the chiefest of our English Dramaticks, both for solid judgment, and pleasing variety. His Comedies are, the Dutch Curtezan; the Fawn; What you will. His Tragedies, Antonio and Melida; Sophonisba; the insatiate Countess: Besides the Malecontent, a Tragi-Comedy; and the faithful Shepherd, a Pastoral.


He was in his youth placed a Student of Christ-Church in Oxford, a Nursery of many and excellent good wits, where he lived for many years in much credit and reputation for his florid wit and ingenious vein in Poetry, which diffused itself in all the veins and sinews thereof; making it (according to its right use) an Handmaid to Theology. In his younger years he wrote two very ingenious and well-approved Comedies, viz. the City Match, and the Amorous War, both which, in my judgment, comparable to the best written ones of that time; Nor did he after his application to Theology, of which he was Doctor, and his Ecclesiastical preferment, totally relinquish those politer Studies to which he was before addicted, publishing Lucian's Works, of his own translating, into English, besides many other things of his composing, not yet publish'd.


Mr. James Shirley may justly claim a more than ordinary place amongst our English Poets, especially for his Dramatick Poetry, being the fourth for number who hath written most Plays, and for goodness little inferiour to the best of them all. His Comedies, in number twenty two, are these; The Ball, the Bird in a Cage, the Brothers, Love in a Maze, the Constant Maid, Coronation, Court Secret, the Example, the Gamester, Grateful Servant, Hide-Park, Humorous Courtier, Honoria and Mammon, Opportunity, the Lady of Pleasure, the Polititian, the Royal Master, the School of Complements, the Sisters, the witty fair one, the Wedding, and the young Admiral: His Tragedies six, viz. Chabot Admiral of France, the Cardinal, Loves Cruelty, the Maids Revenge, the Traytor, and the martyr'd Soldier. Four Tragi-Comedies, viz. Dukes Mistress, the Doubtful Heir, the Gentleman of Venice, and the Imposture, four Masques, Cupid and Death, Contention of Honour and Riches, the Triumph of Peace, and the Triumph of Beauty; Patrick for Ireland, a History; and the Arcadia, a Pastoral.


Philip Massinger was likewise one who in his time was no mean contributer unto the Stage, wherein he so far excell'd as made his Name sufficiently famous, there being no less than sixteen of his Plays printed, viz. The Bondman, the bashful Lover, the City Madam, the Emperour of the East, the-Great Duke of Florence, the Guardian, Maid of Honour, New Way to pay Old Debts, the Picture, the Renegado, and the merry Woman, Comedies: The Duke of Millain, Fatal Dowry, Roman Actor, Unnatural Combat, and the Virgin Martyr, Tragedies.


John Webster was also one of those who in that plentiful age of Dramatick Writers contributed his endeavours to the Stage; being (as we said before) associated with Thomas Decker, in several Plays, which pass'd the Stage with sufficient applause, as also in two Comedies with William Rowley; besides what he wrote alone, the Devil's Lam-Case, a Tragi Comedy, and the white Devil, and Dutchess of Malfy, Tragedies.


Mr. William Brown was a Gentleman (as I take it) of the Middle Temple, who besides his other ingenious Employments, had his excursions to those sweet delights of Poetry, writing a most ingenious Piece, entituled, Britain's Pastorals, it being for a Subject of an amorous and rural Nature, worthily deserving commendations, as any one will confess who shall peruse it with an impartial eye. Take a view of his abilities, out of his Second Book, first Song of his Pastorals, speaking of a deform'd Woman.

And is not she the Queen of Drabs,
Whose Head is perriwigg'd with scabs?
Whose Hair hangs down incurious flakes,
All curl'd and crisp'd, like crawling Snakes;
The Breath of whose perfumed Locks
Might choke the Devil with a Pox;
Whose dainty twinings did entice
The whole monopoly of Lice;
Her Forehead next is to be found,
Resembling much the new-plough'd ground,
Furrow'd like stairs, whose windings led
Unto the chimney of her head;
The next thing that my Muse descries,
Is the two Mill-pits of her Eyes,
Mill-pits whose depth no plum can sound,
For there the God of Love was drown'd,
On either side there hangs a Souse,
And Ear I mean keeps open house,
An Ear which always there did dwell,
And so the Head kept sentinel,
Which there was placed to descry,
If any danger there was nigh,
But surely danger there was bred
Which made them so keep off the head;
Something for certain caus'd their fears,
Which made them so to hang their ears;
But hang her ears; Thalia seeks
To suck the bottle of her cheeks, &c.


This Famous Poet was born at Houghton in Northampton-shire, and was first bred in Westminster-School, then Fellow in Trinity-Colledge in Cambridge; He was one of such a pregnant Wit, that the Muses may seem not only to have smiled, but to have been tickled at his Nativity, such the festivity of his Poems of all sorts. Yet was he also sententiously grave, as may appear by many of his Writings, not only in his Necessary Precepts, but also in several other of his Poems; take one instance in the conclusion of his Commendatory Verses to Mr. Feltham, on his excellent Book of Resolves.

'Mongst thy Resolves, put my Resolves in too;
Resolve who will, this I resolve to do,
That should my Errors chuse anothers line
Whereby to write, I mean to live by thine.

His extraordinary indulgence to the too liberal converse with the multitude of his applauders, drew him to such an immoderate way of living, that he was seldom out of Gentlemens company, and as it often happens that in drinking high quarrels arise, so there chanced some words to pass betwixt Mr. Randolf and another Gentleman, which grew to be so high, that the Gentleman drawing his Sword, and striking at Mr. Randolph, cut off his little finger, whereupon, in an extemporary humour, he instantly made these Verses:

Arithmetick nine digits and no more
Admits of, then I have all my store;
But what mischance hath tane from my Lefthand,
It seems did only for a cypher stand,
Hence, when I scan my Verse if I do miss,
I will impute the fault only to this,
A fingers loss, I speak it not in sport,
Will make a Verse a foot too short.

That he was of a free generous disposition, not regarding at all the Riches of the World, may be seen in the first Poem of his Book, speaking of the inestimable content he enjoyed in the Muses, to those of his friends which dehorted him from Poetry.

Go sordid earth, and hope not to bewitch
My high born Soul, which flies a nobler pitch;
Thou canst not tempt her with adulterate show,
She bears no appetite that flags so low, &c.

His Poems publish'd after his death, and usher'd into the World by the best Wits of those times, passed the Test with general applause, and have gone through several Impressions; To praise one, were in some sort to dispraise the other, being indeed all praise-worthy. His Cambridge Duns facetiously pleasing, as also his Parley with his Empty Purse, in their kind not out-done by any. He was by Ben. Johnson adopted for his Son, and that as is said upon this occasion.

Mr. Randolph having been at London so long as that he might truly have had a parley with his Empty Purse, was resolved to go see Ben. Johnson with his associates, which as he heard at a set-time still kept a Club together at the Devil-Tavern near Temple-Bar; accordingly at the time appointed he went thither, but being unknown to them, and wanting Money, which to an ingenious spirit is the most daunting thing in the World, he peep'd in the Room where they were, which being espied by Ben. Johnson, and seeing him in a Scholars thredbare habit, John Bo-peep, says he, come in, which accordingly he did, when immediately they began to rime upon the meanness of his Clothes, asking him, If he could not make a Verse? and withal to call for his Quart of Sack; there being four of them, he immediately thus replied,

I John Bo-peep, to you four sheep,
With each one his good fleece,
If that you are willing to give me five shilling,
'Tis fifteen pence a piece.

By Jesus quoth Ben. Johnson, (his usual Oath) I believe this is my Son Randolph, which being made known to them, he was kindly entertained into their company, and Ben. Johnson ever after called him Son.

He wrote besides his Poems, the Muses Looking-glass, Jealous Lovers, and Hey for Honesty, down with Knavery, Comedies; Amintas, a Pastoral, and Aristippus, an Interlude.


Sir John Beaumont was one who Drank as deep Draughts of Helicon as any of that Age; and though not many of his Works are Extant, yet those we have be such as are displayed on the Flags of highest Invention; and may justly Stile him to be one of the chief of those great Souls of Numbers. He wrote besides several other things, a Poem of Bosworth Field, and that so Ingeniously, as one thus writes of it.

Could divine Maro, hear his Lofty Strain;
He would condemn his Works to fire again.

I shall only give you an Instance of some few lines of his out of the aforesaid Poem, and so conclude.

Here Valiant Oxford, and Fierce Norfolk meet;
And with their Spears, each other rudely greet:
About the Air the shined Pieces play,
Then on their Swords their Noble Hand they lay.
And Norfolk first a Blow directly guides,
To Oxfords Head, which from his Helmet slides
Upon his Arm, and biteing through the Steel,
Inflicts a Wound, which Vere disdains to feel.
But lifts his Faulcheon with a threatning grace,
And hews the Beaver off from Howards Face,
This being done, he with compassion charm'd,
Retires asham'd to strike a Man disarm'd.
But strait a deadly Shaft sent from a Bow,
(Whose Master, though far off, the Duke could know:
Untimely brought this combat to an end,
And pierc'd the Brains of Richards constant Friend.
When Oxford saw him Sink his Noble Soul,
Was full of grief, which made him thus condole.
Farewel true Knight, to whom no costly Grave
Can give due honour, would my Tears might save
Those streams of Blood, deserving to be Spilt
In better service, had not Richard's guilt
Such heavy weight upon his Fortune laid,
Thy Glorious vertues had his Sins outweigh'd.


This worthy Doctor, though we find not many Verses of his own Composing, yet is deservedly placed amongst the Poets; for his numerous Translations of so many Authors: insomuch that he might be called the Translator General of his Age; So that those Books alone of his turning into English, are sufficient to make a Country Gentleman a Competent Library for Historians. He is thought to have his Birth in Warwick-shire, but more certain to have his Breeding in Trinity Colledge in Cambridge; where he so Profited, that he became Doctor of Physick: and practised the same in Coventry in his (if so it were) native Country. Here did he begin and finish the Translation of so many Authors, that considering their Voluminousness, a Man would think he had done nothing else; which made one thus to descant on him.

Holland with his Translations doth so fill us,
He will not let Suetonius be Tranquillus.

Now as he was a Translator of many Authors, so was he very Faithful in what he did; But what commended him most in the Praise of Posterity, was his Translating Cambdens Britania, a Translation more then a Translation: he adding to it many more notes then what were first in the Lattin Edition, but such as were done by Mr. Cambden in his Life time, discoverable in the former part with Astericks in the Margent; But these Additions with some Antiquaries obtain not equal Authenticalness with what was set forth by Mr. Cambden himself.

Some of these Books (notwithstanding their Gigantick bigness) he wrote with one Pen, where he himself thus pleasantly versified.

With one sole Pen, I writ this Book,
Made of a Gray Goose quill:
A Pen it was when I it took,
And a Pen I leave it still.

This Monumental Pen he kept by him, to show Friends when they came to visit him, as a great Rarity.


Thomas Goff was one whose Abilities rais'd him to a high Reputation in the Age he lived in; chiefly for his Dramatick Writings: Being the Author of the Couragious Turk, Rageing Turk, Selimus and Orestes Tragedies; the Careless Shepherdess a Tragi-Comedy, and Cupids Whirligig a Comedy.


Thomas Nabbes was also one who was a great Contributer to the English Stage, chiefly in the Reign of King Charles the First; His Comedies were the Brides, Covent-Garden, Totnam Court, and the Woman-hater Arraigned. His Tragedies, The Unfortunate Mother, Hannibal and Scipio, and The Tragedy of King Charles the First; besides two Masques, The Springs Glory, and Microcosmus, and an Entertainment on the Princes Birth-day, an interlude.


Richard Broome was a Servant to Mr. Benjamin Johnson, a Servant (saith one) suitable to such a Master; having an excellent Vain fitted for a Comique Strain, and both natural Parts and Learning answerable thereunto; though divers witty only in reproving, say, That this Broome had only what he swept from his Master: But the Comedies he Wrote, so well received and generally applauded, give the Lie to such Detractors; three of which, viz. His Northern Lass, The Jovial Crew, and Sparagus Garden, are little inferior if not equal to the writings of Ben. Johnson himself; besides these three Comedies before mentioned he wrote twelve others, viz. The Antipodes, Court Beggar, City Wit, Damoyselle, Mock Marriage, Love Sick Court, Mad Couple well Matcht, Novella, New Exchange, Queens Exchange, Queen and Concubine, Covent Garden Wedding, and a Comedy called the Lancaster Witches, in which he was joyned with Heyward.

Now what Account the Wits of that Age had of him, you shall hear from two of his own Profession in Commendation of two of his Plays; and first those of Mr. James Shirley on his Comedy the Jovial Crew.

This Comedy (ingenious Friends) will raise
Itself a Monument, without a praise.
Beg'd by the Stationer, who, with strength of purse,
And Pens, takes care, to make his Book sell worse.
And I dare calculate thy Play, although
Not Elevated unto fifty two;
It may grow old as time or wit, and he
That dares dispise may after envy thee.
Learning the file of Poesy may be
Fetch'd from the Arts and University:
But he that writes a Play, and good must know,
Beyond his Books, Men, and their Actions too.
Copies of Verse, that makes the new Men sweat,
Reach not a Poem, nor the Muses heat;
Small Brain Wits, and wood may burn a while,
And make more noise then Forrests on a Pile.
Whose Finers shrunk, ma' invite a Piteans Stream,
Not to Lament, but to extinguish them,
Thy fancies Mettal, and thy stream's much higher,
Proof 'gainst their wit, and what that dreads the Fire.

The other of Mr. John Ford on the Northern Lass.

Poets and Painters curiously compar'd
Give life to Fancy, and Atchieve reward,
By immortality of name, so thrives
Arts Glory, that All, which it breaths on lives.
Witness this Northern Piece, The Court affords
No newer Fashion, or for wit, or words.
The Body of the Plot is drawn so fair,
That the Souls language quickens with fresh Air.
This well Limb'd Poem, by no rule, or thought
Too dearly priz'd, being or sold, or bought.

We could also produce you Ben. Johnsons Verses, with other of the prime Wits of those times; but we think these sufficient to shew in what respect he was held by the best Judgments of that Age.


This Robert Chamberlain is also remembred amongst the Dramatick Writers of that time for two Plays which he wrote; the Swaggering Damosel, a Comedy: and Sicelides a Pastoral. There was also one W. Chamberlain who wrote a Comedy called Loves Victory.


About the same time also Flourisht William Sampson, who wrote of himself two Tragedies; The Vow Breaker, and the Valiant Scot: and joyned with Markham a Tragedy called Herod and Antipater, and how to choose a good Wife from a Bad, a Tragi-Comedy.


This worthy Gentleman was youngest Son of Edwin Sandys Arch-Bishop of York, and born at Bishops Throp in that County. He having good Education, proved a most Accomplished Gentleman, and addicting his mind to Travel, went as far as the Sepulcher at Jerusalem; the rarities whereof, as also those of Ægypt, Greece, and the remote parts of Italy: He hath given so lively a Description, as may spare others Pains in going thither to behold them; none either before or after him having more lively and truly described them. He was not like to many of our English Travellers, who with their Breath Suck in the vices of other Nations, and instead of improving their Knowledge, return knowing in nothing but what they were ignorant of, or else with Tom. Coriat take notice only of Trifles and Toyes, such Travellers as he in his most excellent Book takes notice of, the one sayes he

Do Toyes divulge——

The other carried on in the latter part of the Distick.

——Still add to what they hear,
And of a Mole-hill do a Mountain rear.

But his Travels were not only painful, but profitable, living piously, and by that means having the blessing of God attending on his endeavours, making a holy use of his viewing those sacred places which he saw Jerusalem; Take an instance upon his sight of that place where the three wise men of the East offered their Oblations to our Saviour.

Three Kings to th' King of Kings three gifts did bring,
Gold, Incense, Myrrh, as Man, as God, as King;
Three holy gifts be likewise given by thee
To Christ, even such as acceptable be;
For Myrhah, Tears; for Frankincense impart
Submissive Prayers; for pure Gold, a pure Heart.

He most elegantly translated Ovid his Metamorphosis into English Verse, so that as the Soul of Aristotle was said to have transfigured into Thomas Aquinas, so might Ovid's Genius be said to have passed into Mr. Sandys, rendring it to the full heighth, line for line with the Latin, together with most excellent Annotations upon each Fable. But his Genius directed him most to divine subjects, writing a Paraphrase on the Book of Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Canticles, &c. as also a divine Tragedy on Christs Passion. He lived to be a very aged man, having a youthful Soul in a decayed Body, and died about the year 1641.


Sir John Suckling, in his time, the delight of the Court and darling of the Muses, was one so filled with Phoebean fire, as for excellency of his wit, was worthy to be Crowned with a Wreath of Stars, though some attribute the strength of his lines to favour more of the Grape than the Lamp; Indeed he made it his Recreation, not his Study, and did not so much seek fame as it was put upon him: In my mind he gives the best Character of himself in those Verses of his in the Sessions of the Poets:

Suckling next was call'd, but did not appear,
But strait one whisper'd Apollo i'th' ear,
That of all men living he cared not for't,
He lov'd not the Muses so well as his sport.
And prized black eyes, or a lucky hit
At Bowles, above all the Trophies of wit.
But Apollo was angry, and publickly said,
Twere fit that a fine were set upon's head.

Besides his Poems, he wrote three Plays, the Goblins a Comedy, Brenovalt a Tragedy, and Aglaura a Tragi-Comedy. He was a loyal person to his Prince, and in that great defection of Scotch Loyalty in 1639. freely gave the King a hundred Horses. And for his Poems, I shall conclude with what the Author of his Epistle to the Reader saies of them, It had been a Prejudice to posterity, and an injury to his own Ashes, should they have slept in Oblivion.


He was one of a quick wit and fluent language, whose Poems coming forth above thirty years ago, under the Title of Castara, gained a general fame and estimation, and no wonder, since that human Goddess by him so celebrated, was a person of such rare endowments as was worthy the praises bestowed upon her, being a person of Honour as well as Beauty, to which was joyned a vertuous mind, to make her in all respects compleat. He also wrote the History of the Reign of King Edward the Fourth, and that in a style sufficiently florid, yet not altogether pleasing the ear, but as much informing the mind, so that we may say of that Kings Reign, as Mr. Daniel saith in his Preface to his History of England, That there was never brought together more of the main. He also wrote a Tragi-Comedy, called, the Queen of Arragon, which as having never seen, I can give no great account of it.


Francis Quarles, son to James Quarles, Esq; was born at Stewards at the Parish of Rumford, in the County of Essex, and was bred up in the University of Cambridge, where he became intimately acquainted with Mr. Edward Benlowes, and Mr. Phineas Fletcher, that Divine Poet and Philosopher, on whose most excellent Poem of the Purple Island, hear these Verses of Mr. Quarles, which if they be as delightful to you in the reading, as to me in the writing, I question not but they will give you content.

Mans Body's like a House, his greater Bones
Are the main Timber; and the lesser ones
Are smaller splints: his ribs are laths daub'd o're
Plaister'd with flesh and blood: his mouth's the door,
His throat's the narrow entry, and his heart
Is the great Chamber, full of curious art:
His midriff is a large Partition-wall
'Twixt the great Chamber, and the spacious Hall:
His stomach is the Kitchin, where the meat
Is often but half sod for want of heat:
His Spleen's a vessel Nature does allot
To take the skum that rises from the Pot:
His lungs are like the bellows, that respire
In every Office, quickning every fire:
His Nose the Chimny is, whereby are vented
Such fumes as with the bellowes are augmented:
His bowels are the sink, whose part's to drein
All noisom filth, and keep the Kitchin clean:
His eyes are Christal windows, clear and bright;
Let in the object and let out the sight.
And as the Timber is or great, or small,
Or strong, or weak, 'tis apt to stand or fall:
Yet is the likeliest Building sometimes known
To fall by obvious chances; overthrown
Oft times by tempests, by the full mouth'd blasts
Of Heaven; sometimes by fire; sometimes it wafts
Through unadvis'd neglect: put case the stuff
Were ruin-proof, by nature strong enough
To conquer time, and age; put case it should
Nere know an end, alas, our Leases would;
What hast thou then, proud flesh and blood, to boast
Thy daies are evil, at best; but few, at most;
But sad, at merriest; and but weak, at strongest;
Unsure, at surest; and but short, at longest.

He afterwards went over into Ireland, where he became Secretary to the Reverend James Usher, Arch-bishop of Armagh: one suitable to his disposition, having a Genius byassed to Devotion; Here at leisure times did he exercise himself in those ravishing delights of Poetry, but (alwaies with the Psalmist) his heart was inditing a good matter; these in time produced those excellent works of his, viz. his Histories of Jonas, Esther, Job, and Sampson; his Sions Songs and Sions Elegies, also his Euchyridion, all of them of such a heavenly strain, as if he had drank of Jordan instead of Helicon, and slept on Mount Olivet for his Pernassus. He had also other excursions into the delightful walks of Poetry, namely, his Argulus and Parthenia, a Science (as he himself saith) taken out of Sir Philip Sidney's Orchard, likewise his Epigrams, Shepherds Oracles, Elegies on several persons, his Hierogliphicks, but especially his Emblems, wherein he hath Out-Alciated Alcialus himself. There hath been also acted a Comedy of his called, The Virgin Widdow, which passed with no ordinary applause. But afterwards the Rebellion breaking forth in Ireland (where his losses were very great) he was forced to come over; and being a true Loyalist to his Soveraign, was again plundred of his Estate here, but what he took most to heart (for as for his other losses he practiced the patience of Job he had described) was his being plundred of his Books, and some rare Manuscripts which he intended for the Press, the loss of which, as it is thought, facilitated his death, which happned about the year of our Lord, 1643. to whose memory one dedicated these lines by way of Epitaph.

To them that understand themselves so well,
As what, and who lies here, to ask, I'll tell,
What I conceive Envy dare not deny,
Far both from falshood, and from flattery.
Here drawn to Land by Death, doth lie
A Vessel fitter for the Skie,
Than Jason's Argo, though in Greece
They say, it brought the Golden Fleece.
The skilful Pilot steered it so,
Hither and thither, too and fro.
Through all the Seas of Poverty,
Whether they far or near do lie,
And fraught it so with all the wealth
Of wit and learning, not by stealth,
Or privacy, but perchance got
That this whole lower World could not
Richer Commodities, or more
Afford to add unto his store.
To Heaven then with an intent
Of new Discoveries, he went
And left his Vessel here to rest,
Till his return shall make it blest.
The Bill of Lading he that looks
To know, may find it in his Books.


This learned person, Son and Brother to two ingenious Poets, himself the third, not second to either, was son to Giles Fletcher, Doctor in Law, and Embassadour from Queen Elizabeth to Theodor Juanowick Duke of Muscovia; who though a Tyranick Prince, whose will was his Law, yet setled with him very good Terms for our Merchants trading thither. He was also brother to two worthy Poets, viz. George Fletcher, the Author of a Poem, entituled, Christs Victory and Triumph over and after Death; and Giles Fletcher, who wrote a worthy Poem, entituled, Christs Victory, made by him being but Batchelor of Arts, discovering the piety of a Saint, and divinity of a Doctor. This our Phineus Fletcher was Fellow of Kings Colledge in Cambridge, and in Poetick fame exceeded his two Brothers, in that never enough to be celebrated Poem, entituled, The Purple Island, of which to give my Reader a taste (who perhaps hath never seen the Book) I shall here add two Stanza's of it.

Thrice happy was the worlds first infancy,
Nor knowing yet, nor curious ill to know:
Joy without grief, love without jealousie:
None felt hard labour, or the sweating Plough:
The willing earth brought tribute to her King:
Bacchus unborn lay hidden in the cling
Of big swollen Grapes; their drink was every silver spring.

And in another place, speaking of the vanity of ambitious Covetousness.

Vain men, too fondly wise, who plough the Seas,
With dangerous pains another earth to find:
Adding new Worlds to th' old, and scorning ease,
The earths vast limits daily more unbind!
The aged World, though now it falling shows,
And hasts to set, yet still in dying grows,
Whole lives are spent to win, what one Deaths hour must lose.

Besides this Purple Island, he wrote divers Piscatorie Eclogues, and other Poetical Miscelanies, also a Piscatory Comedy called Sicelides, which was acted at Kings-Colledge in Cambridge.


This divine Poet and person was a younger brother of the Noble Family of the Herberts of Montgomery, whose florid wit, obliging humour in conversation, fluent Elocution, and great proficiency in the Arts, gained him that reputation at Oxford, where he spent his more youthful Age, that he was chosen University Orator, a place which required one of able parts to Mannage it; at last, taking upon him Holy Orders, not without special Encouragement from the King, who took notice of his extraordinary Parts, he was made Parson of Bemmerton near Salisbury, where he led a Seraphick life, converting his Studies altogether to serious and Divine Subjects; which in time produced those his so generally known and approved Poems entituled, The Temple.

Whose Vocal notes tun'd to a heavenly Lyre,
Both learned and unlearned all admire.

I shall only add out of his Book an Anagram, which he made on the name of the Virgin Mary.

M A R Y.

A R M Y.

And well her name an Army doth present,
In whom the Lord of Hosts did pitch his Tent.


This devout Poet, the Darling of the Muses, whose delight was the fruitful Mount Sion, more than the barren Mount Pernassus, was Fellow first of Pembrook-Hall, after of St. Peters-Colledge in Cambridge; a religious pourer forth of his divine Raptures and Meditations, in smooth and pathetick Verse. His Poems consist of three parts, the first entituled, Steps to the Temple, being for the most part Epigrams upon several passages of the New Testament, charming the ear with a holy Rapture. The Second part, The delights of the Muses, or Poems upon several occasions, both English and Latin; such rich pregnant Fancies as shewed his Breast to be filled with Phoebean Fire. The third and last part Carmen Deo nostro, being Hymns and other sacred Poems, dedicated to the Countess of Denbigh, all which bespeak him,

The learned Author of Immortal Strains.

He was much given to a religious Solitude, and love of a recluse Life, which made him spend much of his time, and even lodge many Nights under Tertullian's roof of Angels, in St. Mary's Church in Cambridge. But turning Roman Catholick, he betook himself to, that so zealously frequented place, Our Lady's of Lorretto in Italy; where for some years he spent his time in Divine Contemplations, being a Canon of that Church, where he dyed.


Mr. William Cartwright a Student of Christ Church in Oxford, where he lived in Fame and Reputation, for his singular Parts and Ingenuity; being none of the least of Apollo's Sons; for his excelling vein in Poetry, which produc'd a Volume of Poems, publisht not long after his Death, and usher'd into the World by Commendatory Verses of the choicest Wits at that time; enough to have made a Volume of it self: So much was he reverenced by the Lovers of the Muses. He wrote, besides his Poems, The Ordinary, a Comedy; the Royal Slave, Lady Errant, and The Seige, Or, Loves Convert, Tragi-Comedies.


Sir Aston Cockain laies Claim to a place in our Book, being remembred to Posterity by four Plays which he wrote, viz. The Obstinate Lady, a Comedy; Trapolin supposed a Prince, Tyrannical Government, Tragi-Comedies; and Thersites an Interlude.


This worthy Knight, to whom Posterity is indebted for his learned Works, was well beloved of Queen Elizabeth, and in great Favour with King James. His younger Years he addicted to the study of Poetry, which produced two excellent Poems, Nosce Teipsum, and Ochestra: Works which speak themselves their own Commendations: He also wrote a judicious Metaphrase on several of David's Psalms, which first made him known at Court: afterwards addicting himself to the Study of the Common-Law of England; he was first made the Kings Serjeant, and after his Attorney-General in Ireland.


Thomas May was one in his time highly esteemed, not only for his Translation of Virgils Georgicks and Lucans Pharsalia into English, but what he hath written Propria Minerva, as his Supplement to Lucan, till the Death of Julius Cæsar: His History of Henry the Second in Verse; besides what he wrote of Dramatick, as his Tragedies of Antigone, Agrippina, and Cleopatra; The Heir, a Tragi-Comedy; The Old Couple, and the Old Wives Tale, Comedies; and the History of Orlando Furioso; of these his Tragi-Comedy of The Heir is done to the life, both for Plot and Language; and good had it been for his Memory to Posterity, if he had left off Writing here; but taking disgust at Court for being frustrated in his Expectation of being the Queens Poet, for which he stood Candidate with Sir William Davenant, who was preferred before him, out of meer Spleen, as it is thought for his Repulse, he vented his Spite in his History of the late Civil Wars of England; wherein he shews all the Spleen of a Male-contented Poet, making thereby his Friends his Foes, and rendring his Fame odious to Posterity; such is the Nature of Malice, that as the Poet saith,

Impoison'd with the Drugs of cruel Hate,
Draw on themselves an unavoided Fate.


Charles Aleyn was one and that no despicable Poet, as may be seen by his Works, which still live in Fame and Reputation, writing in Heroick verse the Life of King Henry the Seventh, with the Battle of Bosworth; and also the Battle of Crescy and Poietiers, in which he is very pithy and sententious: I shall only give you two instances, the first out of his Battle of Crescy.

They swell with love who are with valour fill'd,
And Venus Doves may in a Head-piece build.

The other out of his History of King Henry the Seventh.

Man and Money a mutual Falshood show,
Man makes false Mony, Mony makes man so.


George Withers was one who loved to Fish in troubled Waters, being never more quiet then when in Trouble, of a restless Spirit, and contradicting Disposition; gaining more by Restraint then others could get by their Freedom, which his ungoverned (not to say worse) Pen often brought him unto, so that the Marshalsea and Newgate were no Strangers unto him. He was born in Hantshire (if it be every whit the more honour to the County for his Birth) a prodigious Pourer forth of Rhime, which he spued from his Maw, as Tom Coriat formerly used to spue Greek, and that with a great pretence to a Poetical Zeal, against the Vices of the Times; which he mightily exclaim'd against in his Abuses Stript and Whipt, his Motto, Brittains Remembrancer, &c. with other Satyrical Works of the like nature: He turn'd also into English Verse the Songs of Moses, and other Hymns of the Old Testament; besides these he wrote a Poem called Philaret, the Shepherds Hunting, his Emblems, Campo Musæ, Opo-Balsamum, the Two Pitchers, and others more then a good many, had not his Muse been more Loyal than it was; he was living about the Year 1664. when I saw him, and suppose he lived not long after.


Robert Herric one of the Scholars of Apollo of the middle Form, yet something above George Withers, in a pretty Flowry and Pastoral Gale of Fancy, in a vernal Prospect of some Hill, Cave, Rock, or Fountain; which but for the Interruption of other trivial Passages, might have made up none of the worst Poetick Landskips. Take a view of his Poetry in his Errata to the Reader in these lines.

For these Errata's, Reader thou do'st see,
Blame thou the Printer for them, and not me:
Who gave him forth good Grain, tho he mistook,
And so did sow these Tares throughout my Book.

I account him in Fame much of the same rank, as he was of the same Standing, with one Robert Heath, the Author of a Poem, Entituled, Clarastella, the ascribed Title of that Celebrated Lady, who is supposed to have been both the Inspirer and chief Subject of them.

JOHN TAYLOR the Water-Poet.

Some perhaps may think this Person unworthy to be ranked amongst those Sons of Apollo whom we mentioned before; but to them we shall answer, That had he had Learning according to his natural Parts, he might have equal'd, if not exceeded, many who claim a great share in the Temple of the Muses. Indeed, for ought I can understand, he never learned no further then his Accidence, as we may learn from his own Words in one of his Books.

I must confess I do want Eloquence,
And never Scarce did learn my Accidence;
For having got from Possum to Posset;
I there was gravel'd, could no further get.

He was born in Glocester-shire, where he went to School with one Green; who, as John Taylor saith, loved new Milk so well, that to be sure to have it new, he went to the Market to buy a Cow; but his Eyes being Dim, he cheapned a Bull, and asking the price of the Beast, the Owner and he agreed; and driving it home, would have his Maid to Milk it, which she attempting to do, could find no Teats: and whilst the Maid and her Master were arguing the matter, the Bull very fairly pist into the Pail; whereupon his Scholar John Taylor wrote these Verses.

Our Master Green was over-seen
In buying of a Bull,
For when the Maid did mean to milk,
He pist the Pail half full.

He was afterwards bound Apprentice to a Waterman of London, a Laborious Trade: and yet though it be said, that Ease is the Nurse of Poetry, yet did he not only follow his Calling, but also plyed his Writings, which in time produced above fourscore Books, which I have seen; besides several others unknown to me; some of which were dedicated to King James, and King Charles the First, and by them well accepted, considering the meanness of his Education to produce works of Ingenuity. He afterwards kept a Publick House in Phoenix Alley by Long-Acre continuing very constant in his Loyalty to the King, upon whose doleful Murther he set up the Sign of the Mourning Crown; but that being counted Malignant in those times of Rebellion, he pulled down that, and hung up his own Picture, under which were writ these two lines.

There's many a King's Head hang'd up for a Sign,
And many a Saint's Head too, then why not Mine?

He dyed about the Year 1654. upon whom one bestowed this Epitaph.

Here lies the Water-Poet, honest John,
Who rowed on the Streams of Helicon;
Where having many Rocks and dangers past,
He at the Haven of Heaven arriv'd at last.


Thomas Rawlins my old Friend, chief Graver of the Mint to King Charles the First, as also to King Charles the Second till the Year 1670. in which he died. He was an Excellent Artist, perhaps better then a Poet, yet was he the Author of a Tragedy called The Rebellion, which hath been acted not without good Applause; besides some other small things which he wrote.


This learned Gentleman Mr. Carew, one of the Bed-Chamber to King Charles the First, was in his time reckoned among the chiefest for delicacy of wit and Poetick Fancy, which gained him a high Reputation amongst the most ingenious persons of that Age. He was a great acquaintance of Mr. Thomas May, whom none can deny to be an able Poet, although Discontent made him warp his Genius contrary to his natural Fancy, in commentation of whose Tradi-Comedy called The Heir, Mr. Carew wrote an excellent paper of Verses. His Books of Poems do still maintain their fame amongst the Curious of the present age.


I can compare no Man so like this Colonel Lovelace as Sir Philip Sidney, of which latter it is said by one in an Epitaph made of him,

Nor is it fit that more I should acquaint,
Lest Men adore in one
A Scholar, Souldier, Lover, and a Saint.

As for their parallel, they were both of noble Parentage, Sir Philips Father being Lord Deputy of Ireland, and President of Wales; our Colonel of a Vicount's name and Family; Scholars none can deny them both: The one Celebrated his Mistress under the bright name of Stella, the other the Lady Regent of his Affections, under the Banner of Lucasta, both of them endued with transcendent Sparks of Poetick Fire, and both of them exposing their Lives to the extreamest hazard of doubtful War; both of them such Soldiers as is expressed by the Poet.

Undaunted Spirits, that encounter those
Sad dangers, we to Fancy scarce propose.

To conclude, Mr. Lovelace's Poems did, do, and still will live in good Esteem with all knowing true Lovers of Ingenuity.


Alexander Broome our English Anacreon, was an Attorney in the Lord Mayors Court; who besides his practice in Law, addicted himself to a Jovial strain in the ravishing Delights of Poetry; being the ingenious Author of most of those Songs, which on the Royalists account came forth during the time of the Rump, and Oliver's Usurpation; and were sung so often by the Sons of Mirth and Bacchus, and plaid to by the sprightly Violin. Take for a tast a verse of one of his Songs.

Come, come, let us drink,
'Tis in vain to think,
Like fools, on grief or Sadness;
Let our Money fly,
And our Sorrows die,
All worldly care is Madness:
But Sack and good Chear,
Will in spight of our fear,
Inspire our Souls with Gladness.

I shall only add his Poem which he made on the great Cryer at Westminster-Hall, by which you may judge of his Abilities in Poetry.

When the Great Cryer in that greater Room,
Calls Faunt-le-roy, and Alexander Broome,
The people wonder (as those heretofore,
When the Dumb spoke) to hear a Cryer Roar.
The kitling Crue of Cryers that do stand
With Eunuchs voices, squeaking on each hand,
Do signifie no more, compar'd to him,
Then Member Allen did to Patriot Pim.
Those make us laugh, while we do him adore;
Their's are but Pistol, his Mouths Cannon-Bore.
Now those same thirsty Spirits that endeavor,
To have their names enlarg'd, and last for ever,
Must be Attorneys of this Court, and so
His voice shall like Fame's loudest Trumpet blow
Their names about the world, and make them last,
While we can lend an Ear, or he a Blast.

He wrote besides those airy Fancies, several other Serious Pieces; as also a Comedy called the Cunning Lover.


This eminent Poet, the Wit of our age, was born at Hinckley, a small Market Town in the County of Leicester, where his Father was the Reverend and Learned Minister of the place. Fortes creantur e fortibus, and bred therein under Mr. Richard Vines his School-master, where he attained to a great perfection in Learning, by choicest Elegancies in Greek and Latin, more elegantly English; so that he may be said to have lisped wit, like an English Bard, and early ripe accomplished for the University.

From a loving Father and learned School-Master, he was sent to Christ Colledge in Cambridge, where he proved such an exquisite Orator, and pure Latinist, as those his Deserts preferred him to a Fellowship in St. Johns. There he lived about the space of nine Years, the Delight and Ornament of that Society; what service as well as reputation he did it, let his excellent Orations and Epistles speak: To which the Library oweth much of its Learning, the Chapel much of its pious Decency, and the Colledge much of its Renown.

He was (saith Dr. Fuller) a general Artist, pure Latinist, exquisite Orator, and (which was his Master-Piece) eminent Poet; whose verses in the time of the Civil War begun to be in great request, both for their Wit and Zeal to the King's Cause, for which indeed he appeared the first, if not only Champion in verse against the Presbyterian party. His Epistles were pregnant with Metaphors, carrying in them a difficult plainness, difficult at the hearing, plain at the considering thereof. His lofty Fancy may seem to stride from the top of one Mountain to the top of another, so making to it self a constant Level and Champian of continued Elevations.

These his eminent parts preferr'd him to be Rhetorick Reader, which he performed with great Applause; and indeed, what was it in which he did not excel? This alone may suffice for his Honour, that after the Oration which he addressed to that incomparable Prince of Blessed Memory, Charles the First; His Majesty called for him, gave him his hand to Kiss, and (with great expressions of kindness) commanded a Copy to be sent after him, whither he was hasting that night.

Such who have Clevelandiz'd, that is, endeavoured to imitate his Masculine stile, yet could never go beyond his Poem of the Hermaphrodite; which though inserted into Mr. Randolphs Poems (one of as high a tow'ring Wit as most in that age;) yet is well known to be Mr. Clevelands; it being not only made after Mr. Randolph's death, but hath in it the very vein and strain of Mr. Cleveland's Writing, walking from one height to another, in a constant Level of continued Elevation. And indeed so elaborate are all his other pieces of Poetry, as to praise one were to detract from the rest, and are not to be the less valued by the Reader, because most studyed by the Writer: Take but a taste of the Loftiness of his stile, in those verses of his called Smectymnuus.

Smectymnuus! the Goblin makes me start,
I'th' name of Rabbi Abraham, what art?
Syriack? or Arabick? or Welsh? what skilt?
Ap all the Brick-layers that Babel built.
Some Conjurer translate, and let me know it;
Till then 'tis fit for a West-Saxon Poet.
But do the Brother-hood then play their prizes,
Like Mummers in Religion with Disguizes?
Out-brave us with a name in rank and file,
A name which if't were train'd would spread a mile;
The Saints Monopoly, the zealous Cluster,
Which like a Porcupine presents a Muster.

Thus he shined with equal Light and Influence, until that great defection of Loyalty over-spread the Land, and Rebellion began to unvizard it self; of which no Man had more sagacious Prognosticks, of which take this one instance; when Oliver Cromwell was in Election to be Burgess for the Town of Cambridge, as he ingaged all his Friends and Interests to oppose it; so when it was passed, he said with much passionate zeal, That single vote ruined both Church and Kingdom; such fatal events did he presage from his bloody Beak: For no sooner did that Harpey appear in the University, but he made good what was predicted of him, and he amongst others, that were outed for their Loyalty, was turned out of his Fellowship at St. Johns; out of which Loyal Colledge was then ejected Dr. Beal the Master, thirteen Batchellors of Divinity, and fourteen Masters of Art, besides Mr. Cleveland.

And now being forced from the Colledge, he betook himself to the Camp, and particularly to Oxford the Head quarter of it, as the most proper and proportionate Sphere for his Wit, Learning, and Loyalty; and added no small Lustre to that famous University, with which it shined before.

Here he managed his Pen as the highest Panegyrist (witness his Rupertismus, his Elegy on the Bishop of Canterbury, &c.) on the one side to draw out all good inclinations to vertue: and the smartist Satyrist, exemplifi'd in the Rebel Scot, the Scots Apostacy, which he presented with such a Satyrical Fury, that the whole Nation fares the worse for it, lying under a most grievous Poetical Censure. Such also were his Poem of The mixt Assembly, his Character of a London Diurnal, and a Committee-Man; Blows that shakes triumphing Rebellion, reaching the Souls of those not to be reached by Law or Power, striking each Traytor to a Paleness, beyond that of any Loyal Corps, that bled by them; such Characters being as indelible as Guilt stabs beyond Death.

From Oxford, his next stage was the Garrison of Newark, where he was Judge Advocate until the Surrender thereof; and by an excellent temperature of both, was a just and prudent Judge for the King, and a faithful Advocate for the Country. Here he drew up that excellent Answer and Rejoynder to a Parliament Officer, who had sent him a Letter by occasion of one Hill, that had deserted their side, and brought with him to Newark the sum of 133 l. and 8d. I shall only give you part of Mr. Clevelands Answer to his first Letter, by which you may give an Estimate of the rest.

Sixthly, Beloved it is so, that our Brother and fellow-Labourer in the Gospel is Start aside; then this may serve for an use of instruction, not to trust in Man, or in the Son of Man. Did not Demas leave Paul, did not Onesimus run from his Master Philemon? Also this should teach us to employ our Talents, and not to lay them up in a Napkin; had it been done among the Cavaliers, it had been just, then the Israelite had spoiled the Ægyptian: but for Simeon to plunder Levi, that—that—&c.

This famous Garrison was maintained with much courage and resolution against the Besiegers, and not surrendred but by the King's special Command, when first he had surrendred himself into the hands of the Scots; in which action of that Royal Martyr, we may conclude our Cleveland Vates, both Poet and Prophet: For besides his passionate resentment of it in that excellent Poem, The Kings disguise; upon some private intelligence, three days before the King reached them, he foresaw the pieces of Silver paying upon the banks of Tweed, and that they were the price of his Sovereigns Blood, and predicted the Tragical events.

Thenceforth he followed the fate of distressed Loyalty, subject to the Malice and Vengeance of every Fanatick Spirit, which seldom terminates but in a Goal, which befel this learned Person, being long imprisoned at Yarmouth: where living in a lingering Condition, and having small hopes of coming out, he composed an Address to that Idol at White-Hall, Oliver Cromwell, written with such Tow'ring Language, and so much gallant Reason, as looked bigger than his Highness, shrinking before the Majesty of his Pen, as Felix trembled before Paul. So obtaining his Liberty, not by a servile Submission, but rather a constrained Violence, neither injuring his Conscience, nor betraying his Cause.

And so now with Daniel being delivered out of the Lyons Den, he was courted to several places, (which contended as emulously for his abode, as the seven Grecian Cities for Homers Birth;) at last he setled in Grays-Inn, which when he had enobled with some short time of his residence, an intermitting Fever seized him, whereof he dyed, on Thursday Morning, April the 29. 1658. from whence his Body was brought to Hunsden-House, and on Saturday being May-day, was buried at Colledgehill-Church; His dear Friend Dr. John Pearson (afterwards Lord Bishop of Chester) preached his Funeral Sermon, who rendred this Reason; why he cautiously declined all commending of the Party deceased, Because such praising of him would not be adequate to any expectation in that Auditory; seeing some, who knew him not, would think it far above him, while those, who knew him must needs know it far below him.

Many there were who sought to eternize their own Names by honouring his; some by Elegies, and other Devices, amongst the rest one made this Anagram upon his name.

J O H N   C L E A V E L A N D.

H E L I C O N I A N   D E W.

The difficult Trifle (saith one) is rather well endeavoured, than exactly performed. More happy were those Wits, who descanted on him and his works in Verse, although so eminent a Poet was never interred with fewer Elegies than he; for which we may assign two Reasons, One that at that time the best Fancies of the Royal Party were in restraint, so that we may in part think their Muses confin'd, as well as their Bodies. Secondly, not to do it to the heighth, were in a manner to dispraise him. However I shall adventure to give you an instance in two, whereof the first of Mr. Edward Martin of London.

Ye Muses do not me deny;
I ever was your Votary.
And tell me, seeing you do daign
T'inspire and feed the hungry Brain;
With what choice Cates? With what choice Fare?
To Cleaveland's fancy still repair?
Fond Man, say they, why do'st thou question thus?
Ask rather with what Nectar he feeds us.

The other by Mr. A.B. printed before Mr. Cleveland's Works.

Cleaveland again his sacred head doth raise,
Even in the dust crown'd with immortal Bayes,
Again with verses arm'd that once did fright
Lycambe's Daughters from the hated Light,
Sets his bold foot on Reformations neck,
And triumphs o'er the vanquisht Monster Smec;
That Hydra whose proud heads did so encrease,
That it deserv'd no less an Hercules.
This, this is he who in Poetick Rage,
With Scorpions lash'd the Madness of the age;
Who durst the fashions of the times despise,
And be a Wit when all Mankind grew wise.
When formal Beards at Twenty one were seen,
And men grew Old almost as soon as Men:
Who in those daies when reason, wit, and sence
Were by the Zealots grave Impertinence
Ycliped Folly, and in Ve-ri-ty
Did savour rankly of Carnality.
When each notch'd Prentice might a Poet prove.
For warbling through the Nose a Hymn of Love,
When sage George Withers and grave William Prin,
Himself might for a Poets share put in:
Yet then could write with so much art and skill,
That Rome might envy his Satyrick Quill;
And crabbed Persins his hard lines give ore,
And in disdain beat his brown Desk no more.
How I admire the Cleaveland! when I weigh
Thy close-wrought Sense, and every line survey!
They are not like those things which some compose,
Who in a maze of Words the Sense do lose.
Who spin one thought into so long a thread,
And beat their Wit we thin to make it spread;
Till 'tis too fine for our weak eyes to find,
And dwindles into Nothing in the end.
No; they'r above the Genius of this Age,
Each word of thine swells pregnant with a Page.
Then why do some Mens nicer ears complain,
Of the uneven Harshness of thy strain?
Preferring to the vigour of thy Muse
Some smooth weak Rhymer, that so gently flowes,
That Ladies may his easy strains admire,
And melt like Wax before the softning fire.
Let such to Women write, you write to Men;
We study thee, when we but play with them.


Sir John Berkenhead was a Gentleman, whose Worth and deserts were too high for me to delineate. He was a constant Assertor of his Majesties Cause in its lowest Condition, painting the Rebels forth to the life in his Mercurius Aulicus and other Writings; his Zany Brittanicus who wrote against him, being no more his Equal, than a Dwarf to a Gyant, or the goodness of his cause to that of the Kings; for this his Loyalty he suffered several Imprisonments, yet always constant to his first Principles. His skill in Poetry was such, that one thus writes of him.

Whil'st Lawrel sprigs anothers head shall Crown,
Thou the whole Grove mayst challenge as thy Own.

He survived to see his Majesties happy Restoration, and some of them hanged who used their best endeavor to do the same by him. As for his learned Writings, those who are ignorant of them, must plead ignorance both to Wit and Learning.


He was one, and not of the meanest of the Poetical Cassock, being in some sort a kind of an Anti-Cleaveland, writing as high, and standing up as stifly for the Presbyterians, as ever Cleaveland did against them: But that which most recommended him to publick fame, was his Iter Roreale, the same in Title though not in Argument, with that little, but much commended Poem of Dr. Corbets mentioned before. This being upon General Monk's Journey out of Scotland, in order to his Majesties Restoration, and is indeed the Cream and flower of all his Works, and look't upon for a lofty and conceited Stile. His other things are for the most part of a tepid and facetious nature, reflecting on others, who as sharply retorted upon him, for he that throwes stones at other, 'tis ten to one but is hit with a stone himself; one of them playing upon his red face thus. I like the Man that carries in his Face, the tincture of that bloody banner he fights under, and would not have any Mans countenance, prove so much an Hypocrite to cross a French Proverb.

His Nose plainly proves,
What pottage he loves.

Hear one of their reflections upon him, on his humble thanks, for his Majesties Declaration for Liberty of Confidence.

When first the Hawkers bawl'd 'ith' streets Wild's name,
A lickerish longing to my Pallat came;
A feast of Wit I look't for, but, alass!
The meat smelt strong, and too much Sawce there was, &c.

Indeed his strain, had it been fitted to a right key, might have equal'd the chiefest of his age.


This Gentleman was one, who may well be stil'd the glory of our Nation, both of the present and past ages, whole early Muse began to dawn at the Thirteenth year of his age, being then a Scholar at Westminster-School which produc'd two little Poems, the one called Antonius and Melida, the other Pyramus and Thisbe; discovering in them a maturity of Sence far above the years that writ them; shewing by these his early Fruits, what in time his stock of worth would come to. And indeed Fame was not deceived in him of its Expectation, he having built a lasting Monument of his worth to posterity, in that compleat Volume of his Works, divided into four parts: His Mistress, being the amorous Prolusions of his youthful Muse; his Miscelanies, or Poems of various arguments; his most admired Heroick Poem Davideis, the first Books whereof he compos'd while but a young Student at Trinity-Colledge in Cambridge; and lastly, that is, in order of time though not of place, his Pindaric Odes, so call'd from the Measure, in which he translated the first Ithmian and Nemean Odes, where as the form of those Odes in the Original is very different, yet so well were they approved by succeeding Authors, that our primest Wits have hitherto driven a notable Trade in Pindaric Odes. But besides these his English Poems, there is extant of his writing a Latine Volume by it self, containing a Poem of Herbs and Plants: Also he Translated two Books of his Davideis into Latine Verse, which is in the large Volume amongst the rest of his Works.


This Gentleman is one of the most fam'd Poets, and that not undeservedly of the present age, excelling in the charming Sweets of his Lyrick Odes, or amorous Sonnets, as also in his other occasional Poems both smooth and strenuous, rich of Conceit, and eloquently adorned with proper Similies: view his abilities in this Poem of his, concerning the Puissance of our Navies, and the English Dominion at Sea.

Lords of the Worlds great Wast, the Ocean, we
Whole Forrests send to reign upon the Sea;
And every Coast may trouble or relieve,
But none can visit us without our leave;
Angels and we have this Prerogative,
That none can at our happy Seat arrive,
While we descend at pleasure to invade
The bad with Vengeance, or the good to aid:
Our little world the image of the great,
Like that amidst the boundless Ocean set,
Of her own growth has all that Nature craves,
And all that's rare as Tribute from the waves.
As Ægypt does not on the Clouds rely,
But to her Nyle owes more then to the sky;
So what our Earth, and what our Heaven denies,
Our ever constant friend, the Sea supplies.
The tast of hot Arabia's Spice we know,
Free from the Scorching Sun that makes it grow;
Without the worm, in Persian Silks we shine,
And without Planting drink of every Vine;
To dig for wealth we weary not our limbs,
Gold, though the heaviest metal, hither swims.
Ours is the Harvest where the Indians mow,
We plough the deep, and reap what others Sow.

I shall only add two lines more of his, quoted by several Authors.

All that the Angels do above,
Is that they sing; and that they love.

In sum, this our Poet was not Inferior to Carew, Lovelace, nor any of those who were accounted the brightest Stars in the Firmament of Poetry.


Sir John Denham was a Gentleman, who to his other Honors had this added; that he was one of the Chief of the Delphick Quire, and for his Writings worthy to be Crowned with a wreath of Stars. The excellency of his Poetry may be seen in his Coopers Hill, which whosoever shall deny, may be accounted no Friends to the Muses: His Tragedy of the Sophy, is equal to any of the Chiefest Authors, which with his other Works bound together in one Volume, will make his name Famous to all Posterity.


Sir William Davenant, may be accounted one of the Chiefest of Apollo's Sons, for the great Fluency of his Wit and Fancy: Especially his Gondibert, the Crown of all his other Writings; to which Mr. Hobbs of Malmsbury wrote a Preface, wherein he extolleth him to the Skyes; wherein no wonder (sayes one) if Compliment and Friendly Compliance do a little biass and over-sway Judgment. He also wrote a Poem entituled Madagascur, also a Farrago of his Juvenile, and other Miscelaneous Pieces: But his Chiefest matter was what he wrote for the English Stage, of which was four Comedies, viz. Love and Honour, The Man is the Master; The Platonick Lovers; and The Wits. Three Tragedies; Albovine, The Cruel Brother, and The unfortunate Lovers. Two Tragi-Comedies, the Just Italian; and the Lost Lady. And Six Masques, viz. Brittania Triumphans; The Cruelty of the Spaniards in Peru; Drakes History First Part; Siege of Rhodes in two Parts, and The temple of Love; Besides his Musical Drama's, when the usual Playes were not suffered to be Acted, whereof he was the first Reviver and Improver by painted Scenes after his Majesties Restoration; erecting a new Company of Actors, under the Patronage of the Duke of York.

Now this our Poet, as he was a Wit himself, so did several of the Wits play upon him; amongst others Sir John Suckling in his Session of the Poets hath these Verses.

Will Davenant asham'd of a Foolish mischance
That he had got lately Travelling into France;
Modestly hoped the Handsomness of's Muse,
Might any Deformity about him excuse.


Surely the Company would have been content,
If they could have found any President;
But in all their Records either in Verse or Prose,
There was not one Laureat without a Nose.

His Works since his Death have been fairly Published in a large Volume; to which I refer my Reader.


He was one was a good Souldier, Famous Mathematician, and an excellent Poet; alwayes Loyal to his Prince: For whose Service he raised a Troop of Horse at his own Charge, of which he became Captain himself; and with much Gallantry and Resolution behaved himself. Nor was he less serviceable to the Royal Cause with his Pen, of which he was a resolute Assertor: Suffering very much by Imprisonment, even to the apparent hazard of his Life. He having so Satyrically wounded them in his Elenctichus, as left indelible Characters of Infamy upon their Actions. His Excellent Works collected into one Volume, and Published in the Year, 1683. By the Ingenious Mr. Gadbury, are a sufficient Testimony of his Learning, Ingenuity and Loyalty; to which I refer the Reader.

In sum, as he participated of his Masters Sufferings; So did he enjoy the Benefit of his Restoration, having given him a Place of great Honor and Profit, with which he lived in Credit and Reputation all the days of his Life.


Sir Robert Howard, of the Noble Family of the Earls of Berk-shire, a Name so reverenced, as it had Six Earls at one time of that Name. This Noble Person to his other Abilities, which Capacitated him for a Principal Office in his Majesties Exchequer; attained to a considerable Fame by his Poetical Works: Especially for what he hath written to the Stage, viz. The Blind Lady; The Committee; and The Surprizal, Comedies; The Great Favorite, and The Vestal Virgin, Tragedies; Inforc'd Marriage, a Tragi-Comedy, and The Indian Queen a Dramatick History.

Duke of New-Castle

This Honourable Person, for his eminent Services to his Prince and Country, preferred from Earl to Duke of New-Castle; was a Person equally addicted both to Arms and Arts, which will eternize his Name to all Posterity, so long as Learning, Loyalty, and Valour shall be in Fashion. He wrote a splendid Treatise of the Art of Horsemanship, in which his Experience was no less than his Delight; as also two Comedies, The Variety, and the Country Captain. Nor was his Dutchess no less busied in those ravishing Delights of Poetry, leaving to Posterity in Print three ample Volumes of Her studious Endeavors; one of Orations, the second of Philosophical Notions and Discourses, and the third of Dramatick and other kinds of Poetry, of which five Comedies, viz. The Bridalls; Blazing World; Covent of Pleasure; the Presence; and The Sociable Companions, or Female Wits.


Sir William Killigrew was one whose Wings of Fancy displayed as high Invention, as most of the Sons of Phoebus of his time; contributing to the Stage five Playes, viz. Ormardes, The Princess, or Love at first sight; Selindra, and The Seige of Urbin, Tragi-Comedies; and a Comedy called Pandora. To whom we may joyn Mr. Thomas Killigrew, who also wrote five Plays, viz. The Parsons Wedding; and Thomaso, or the Wanderer, Comedies; the Pilgrim a Tragedy; and Clarasilla, and The Prisoners, Tragi-Comedies.


Was one who besides other things which he wrote, contributed to the Stage four Tragedies, viz. Agamemnon, Hyppolitus, Hercules Oetes, and Medea, and therefore thought worthy to have a Place amongst the rest of our English Poets.


John Tatham was one, whose Muse began to bud with his Youth, which produced early Blossomes, of not altogether Contemptible Poetry, in a Collection of Poems entituled Fancys Theater; which was usher'd into the World by divers of the Chief Wits of that age. He was afterwards City Poet, making those Speeches and Representations used at the Lord Mayors show, and other Publick Meetings. He also contributed to the Stage four plays, viz. The Scots Fegaries and The Rump, or Mirror of the late times, Comedies; the Distracted State, a Tragedy, and Love crowns the End; a Tragy-Comedy. Here a tast of his juvenile wit in his Fancys Theater speaking in the Person of Momus.

How now presumptuous Lad, think st thou that we
Will be disturb'd with this thy Infancy
Of Wit?—
Or does thy amorous Thoughts beget a flame,
(Beyond its merit) for to court the name
Of Poet; or is't common row a days
Such slender Wits dare claim such things as Bays? &c.


Contemporary with him was Thomas Jorden, and of much like equal Fame; indulging his Muse more to vulgar Fancies, then to the high flying wits of those times, yet did he write three Plays, viz. Mony's an Ass; and The Walks of Islington and Hogsden, Comedies; and Fancys Festivals, a Mask.


He was born a Gentleman, and bred up a Scholar, but his Father not leaving him Means enough to support the one, and the Times in that Condition, that without Money Learning is little regarded; he therefore betook him to a Gentile Employment, which his Learning had made him capable to do; but the succession of a worse fate disemploying him, as he himself saith in his Epistle to the Reader of his Book, entituled, Pierides, or the Muses Mount, he betook him to his Pen, (that Idleness might not sway) which in time produced a Volume of Poems, which to give you a tast of the briskness of his Muse, I shall instance in a few lines, in one or two of them.

When I remember what mine eyes have seen,
And what mine Ears have heard,
Concerning Muses too young and green;
And how they have been jear'd,
T' expose my own I am afear'd.
And yet this fear decreases, when I call
To my tempestuous mind,
How the strong loins of Phoebus Children all,
Have faln by Censures mind:
And in their road what Rocks they find.

He went over afterwards into Ireland, where he continued for some time; but whether he dyed there or no, I am not certain.


Edmund Prestwich, was one who deservedly cometh in as a Member of the Noble Society of Poets, being the Author of an ingenious Comedy called the Hectors, or False Challenge; as also Hippolytus a Tragedy; what ever he might have written besides, which may not have come to my knowledge.


Paganus Piscator, vulgarly Fisher, was a notable Undertaker in Latin Verse, and had well deserved of his Country, had not lucre of Gain and private Ambition over-swayed his Pen, to favour successful Rebellion. He wrote in Latin his Marston-Moor; A Gratulatory Ode of Peace; Englished afterwards by Thomas Manley, and other Latin pieces, besides English ones, not a few, which (as we said) might have been meriting, had not those worldly Considerations over-swayed the Dictates of his own Conscience. But this his temporizing with the Times, preferred him to be Poet Laureat (if that were any Preferment) to that notorious Traytor Oliver Cromwell; to whom being Usurper, if his Muse did homage, it must be considered (saith Mr. Phillips) that Poets in all times have been inclinable to ingratiate themselves with the highest in Power, by what Title so ever.

However it was, I have heard him often confess his Unhappiness therein: and imparted to me a design he had, of committing to memory the Monuments of the several Churches in London and Westminster; not only those mentioned by Stow and Weaver, but also those who have been erected since, which might have been of great use to Posterity, had it been done before the great Conflagration of the Fire, thereby preserving many Monuments, endangered since to be lost, but Death interposing hindred him of his Design.


Edward Shirburn (saith a learned Author) was intimately knowing as well of the ancient Greek and Latin, as of the choicest of modern Poets, both Italian, French, and Spanish; and in what he hath elegantly and judiciously Translated either of the former or latter; in the Translating of which he hath discovered a more pure Poetical Fancy, than many others can justly pretend to in their Original Works. Nor was his Genius confined only to Poetry, his Version of those Books of Manilius, which relate meerly to Astronomy, is a very Noble Work, being set forth with most exact Notes, and other learned and proper Illustrations. Besides many other genuine Pieces which he wrote.


John Quarles, Son to Francis Quarles, Esq; may be said to be born a Poet, and that his Father's Genius was infused into him; nor was he less Loyal in his Principles to his Prince, writing besides several other Works, an Elegy on the Lord Capell, and A Curse against the Enemies of Peace; of which I remember those were the two last lines.

That all the world may hear them hiss and cry,
Who loves no peace, in peace shall never die.

He was also addicted to Arms, as well as Arts, and, as I have been informed, was a Captain in the King's Army, but then Loyalty suffering an Eclipse, he came up to London, and continued there till the great Sickness, which swept away of the Pestilence no fewer than 68586 persons, amongst whom this unfortunate Gentleman was one, tho to my knowledge, to prevent it, he might have been kindly welcom to his worthy Kinsman, Mr. William Holgate of Saffron-Walden in Essex, but Fate had decreed it otherwise.


John Milton was one, whose natural parts might deservedly give him a place amongst the principal of our English Poets, having written two Heroick Poems and a Tragedy; namely, Paradice Lost, Paradice Regain'd, and Sampson Agonista; But his Fame is gone out like a Candle in a Snuff, and his Memory will always stink, which might have ever lived in honourable Repute, had not he been a notorious Traytor, and most impiously and villanously bely'd that blessed Martyr King Charles the First.


John Ogilby was one, who from a late Initiation into Literature, made such a Progress therein, as might well stile him to be the Prodigy of his time, sending into the world so many large and learned Volumes, as well in Verse as in Prose, as will make posterity much indebted to his Memory. His Volumes in Prose were his Atlas, and other Geographical Works, which gained him the Style and Office of the King's Cosmographer. In Verse his Translations of Homer and Virgil, done to the Life, and adorned with most excellent Sculptures; but above all, as composed Propria Minerva; his Paraphrase upon Æsop's Fables, which for Ingenuity and Fancy, besides the Invention of new Fables, is generally confest to have exceeded what ever hath been done before in that kind. He also set forth King Charles the Second his Entertainment through London, when he went to his Coronation, with most admirable Cuts of the several Pageants as he passed through, and Explanations upon them. And that which added a great grace to his Works, he printed them all on special good Paper, and had them printed on very good Letter.


This worthy Gentleman, one of Apollo's chiefest Sons, was Secretary to King Charles the Second, when Prince of Wales, and after his Restoration, his Embassadour to Spain, where he died. His Employments were such, as one would think he should have had no time for Poetical Diversions, yet at leisure times he Translated Guarini's Pastor Fido into English Verse, and Spencer's Shepherds Callendar into Latin Verse.

ROGER BOILE, Lord Broghil,
Earl of Orrery.

This Noble Person, the credit of the Irish Nobility for Wit and ingenious Parts, and who had the command of a smooth Stile, both in Prose and Verse; in which last he hath written several Dramatick Histories, as Mustapha, Edward the Third, Henry the Fifth, and Tryphon, all of them with good success and applause, as writing after the French way of Rhyme, now of late very much in Fashion.

THOMAS HOBBS of Malmsbury.

This noted Person, who gave occasion for so many Pens to band against him, is of the more consideration, for what he hath either judged or writ in Poetry; but his Leviathan, which he wrote in Prose, caused the Pen of a no less than a learned Bishop to write against him. He wrote a Preface to Davenant's Gondibert, where no wonder if Complement and friendly Compliance do a little byass and over-sway Judgment. His Latin Poem De Mirabilibus Pexi, wanteth not due Commendation. After many bustles in the world, he sequestred himself wholly to Malmsbury, where he died better inform'd (as I have heard) of the Deity, than in the former part of his life he seemeth to have been.


This Earl for Poetical Wit, was accounted the chief of his time; his Numbers flowing with so smooth and accute a Strain, that had they been all confined within the bounds of Modesty, we might well affirm they were unparallel'd; yet was not his Muse altogether so loose, but that with his Mirth he mixed Seriousness, and had a knack at once to tickle the Fancy, and inform the Judgement. Take a taste of the fluency of his Muse, in the Poem which he wrote in Defence of Satyr.

When Shakespeare, Johnson, Fletcher rul'd the Stage,
They took so bold a freedom with the Age,
That there was scarce a Knave, or Fool in Town,
Of any note, but had his Picture shown;
And (without doubt) tho some it may offend.
Nothing helps more than Satyr, to amend
Ill Manners, or is trulier Vertues Friend.
Princes may Laws ordain, Priests gravely preach,
But Poets most successfully will teach.
For as the Passing-Bell frights from his meat
The greedy Sick-man, that too much wou'd eat;
So when a Vice ridiculous is made,
Our Neighbours Shame keeps us from growing bad.
But wholsom Remedies few Palats please,
Men rather love what flatters their Disease.
Pimps, Parasites, Buffoons, and all the Crew
That under Friendship's name weak man undo;
Find their false service kindlier understood,
Than such as tell bold Truths to do us good.
Look where you will, and you shall hardly find
A man without some sickness of the Mind.
In vain we wise wou'd seem, while every Lust
Whisks us about, as Whirlwinds do the Dust.
Here for some needless gain a Wretch is hurld
From Pole to Pole, and slav'd about the World;
While the reward of all his pains and cares,
Ends in that despicable thing, his Heir.
There a vain Fop mortgages all his Land
To buy that gaudy Play-thing, a Command;
To ride a Cock-horse, wear a Scarf at's ——
And play the Pudding in a May-pole Farce.
Here one, whom God to make a Fool thought fit,
In spight of Providence, will be a Wit:
But wanting strength t'uphold his ill made choice,
Sets up with Lewdness, Blasphemy, and Noise.
There at his Mistress feet a Lover lies,
And for a Tawdry painted Baby dies;
Falls on his knees, adores and is afraid
Of the vain Idol he himself has made.
These, and a thousand Fools unmention'd here,
Hate Poets all, because they Poets fear.
Take heed (they cry) yonder mad Dog will bite,
He cares not whom he falls on in his fit:
Come but in's way, and strait a new Lampoon
Shall spread your mangled fame about the Town

This Earl died in the Flower of his Age, and though his Life might be somewhat Extravagant, yet he is said to have dyed Penitently; and to have made a very good End.


Mr. Thomas Flatman, a Gentleman once of the middle Temple, of Extraordinary Parts, equally ingenious in the two Noble Faculties of Painting and Poetry; as by the several choice Pieces that have been seen of his Pourtraying and Limning, and by his Book of Poems, which came out about Fourteen or Fifteen Years ago, sufficiently appeareth: The so much Celebrated Song of the Troubles of Marriage, is ascribed to him.

Like a Dog with a Bottle tyed close to his Taile,
Like a Tory in a Bog, or a Thief in a Jail, &c.


This Gentleman was bred up a Student in Christ-Church in Oxford; where he addicted his Mind to the sweet Delights of Poetry, writing an Ingenious Poem, entituled, Men Miracles, which came forth into the World with great applause. The times being then when there was not only Cobling Preaching, but Preaching Coblers; he followed the practice of Physick, and whether he be yet living is to me unknown.


Edmond Fairfax, a most judicious, elegant, and approved Poet, and who we should have remembred before: But better out of due place, than not at all. This judicious Poet Translated that most exquisite Poem of Torquato Tasso, the Prince of Italian Heroick Poets, which for the Exactness of his Version, is judged by some not inferior to the Original it self. He also wrote some other things of his own Genius, which have passed in the World with a general applause.

HENRY KING Bishop of Chichester.

This Reverend Prelate, a great lover of Musick, Poetry, and other ingenious Arts; amongst his other graver Studies, had some Excursions into those pleasing Delights of Poetry; and as he was of an Obliging Conversation for his Wit and Fancy; so was he also very Grave and Pious in his Writings; Witness his Printed Sermons on the Lords Prayer, and others which he Preached on several Occasions. His Father was John King, Bishop of London; one full fraught with all Episcopal Qualities; who died Anno 1618. and was Buried in the Quire of St. Paul's, with the plain Epitaph of Resurgam: But since a prime Wit did enlarge thereon, which for the Elegancy of it, I cannot but commit it to Posterity.

Sad Relique of a blessed Soul, whose Trust
We Sealed up in this religious Dust.
O do not thy low Exequies suspect,
As the cheap Arguments of our neglect.
Twas a commanded Duty that thy Grave
As little Pride as thou thy self should have.
Therefore thy Covering is an humble Stone,
And but a Word[A] for thy Inscription.
When those that in the same Earth Neighbour thee,
Have each his Chronicle and Pedigree.
They have their waving Penons, and their Flags,
Of Matches and Alliance formal Brags.
When thou (although from Ancestors thou came,
Old as the Heptarchy, great as thy Name;)
Sleepest there inshrin'd in thy admired Parts,
And hast no Heraldry but thy Deserts.
Yet let not them their prouder Marbles boast,
For they rest with less Honour though more Cost.
Go search the World, and with your Mattock wound,
The groaning Bosom of the patient Ground:
Dig from the hidden Veins of her dark Womb,
All that is rare and precious for a Tomb.
Yet when much Treasure, and more time is spent,
You must grant his the Nobler Monument;
Whose Faith stands o're him for a Hearse, and hath
The Resurrection for his Epitaph.

[Footnote A: Resurgam]

This worthy Prelate was born in the same County, Town, House, and Chamber with his Father; Namely, at Warn hall nigh Tame in Buckingham-shire, and was Bred up at Christ-Church in Oxford. in Anno 1641. when Episcopacy was beheld by many in a deep Consumption, and hoped by others that it would prove Mortal. To cure this, it was conceived the most probable Cordial to prefer Persons into that Order, not only unblameable for their Life, and eminent for their Learning; but also generally, beloved, by all disegaged People; and amongst these, King Charles advanced this our Doctor, Bishop of Chichester.

But all would not do, their Innocency was so far from stopping the Mouth of Malice; that Malice had almost swallowed them down her Throat. Yet did he live to see the Restitution of his Order, live a most religious Life, and at leisure times Composed his generally admired and approved Version of Davids Psalms into English Meetre.


Thomas Manley was (saith my Author) one of the Croud of Poetical writers of the late King's Time. He wrote among other things the History of Job in verse; and Translated into English, Pagan Father his Congratulatory Ode of Peace.


He was born (as he informed me himself) in Rutland shire, and bred up in the University of Cambridge; where proving an Excellent Preacher, he was after some time preferred to be a Minister of St. George's Church in Southwark; where being outed for Marrying two Sisters without their Friends Consent, He was afterwards beneficed at Colchester in Essex; where he continued all the time during a sore Pestilence raged there. He wrote a Book of Essays and Characters, an excellent Piece; also The Doctrine of the Ass, of which I remember these two lines.

Devils pretences always were Divine,
A Knave may have an Angel for a Sign.

He wrote also a Book called The Presbyterian Bramble; with several other Pieces, in Defence of the King and the Church. Now to shew you the Acuteness of his Wit, I will give you an Instance: The first year that Poor Robin's Almanack came forth (about Six and Twenty Years ago) there was cut for it a Brass Plate; having on one side of it the Pictures of King Charles the First, the Earl of Stafford, the Arch-Bishop of Canterbury, the Earl of Darby, the Lord Capel, and Dr. Hewit; all six adorned with Wreaths of Lawrel. On the other side was, Oliver Cromwell, Bradshaw, Ireton, Scot, Harrison, and Hugh Peters, hanging in Halters: Betwixt which was placed the Earl of Essex, and Mr. Christopher Love; upon which plate he made these Verses.

Bless us, what have we here! What sundry Shapes
Salute our Eyes! have Martyrs too their Apes?
Sure 'tis the War of Angels, for you'd Swear
That here stood Michael, and the Dragon there.
Tredescan is out vy'd, for we engage
Both Heaven and Hell in an Octavo Page.
Martyrs and Traytors, rallied six to six,
Half fled unto Olimpus, half to Styx.
Joyn'd with two Neuters, some Condemn, some Praise,
They hang betwixt the Halters and the Bayes;
For 'twixt Nolls Torment, and Great Charles's Glory,
There, there's the Presbyterian purgatory.

He died (as I am informed) at Colcester, about the Year of our Lord 1670.


John Dauncey, a true Son of Apollo, and Bacchus; was one who had an Excellent Command of his Pen, a fluent Stile, and quick Invention: nor did any thing come amiss to his undertaking. He wrote a compleat History of the late times; a Chronicle of the Kingdom of Portugal; the English Lovers, a Romance; which for Language and Contrivance, comes not short of either of the best of French or Spanish. He Translated a Tragi Comedy out of French, called Nichomede, equal in English to the French Original; besides several other things, too long to recite. His English Lovers was Commended by divers of sound Judgment; amongst others, Mr. Lewis Griffin, our forementioned Poet, made these verses in commendations of it.

Rich Soul of Wit and Language, thy high strains
So plunge and puzzle unrefined brains;
That their Illiterate Spirits do not know,
How much to thy Ingenious Pen they owe,
Should my presumptuous Muse attempt to raise
Trophies to thee, she might as well go blaze
Bright Planets with base Colours, or display
The Worlds Creation in a Puppet-Play.
Let this suffice, what Calumnies may chance,
To blur thy Fame, they spring from Ignorance.
When Old Orpheus drew the Beasts along,
By sweet Rhetorick of his learned Tongue,
'Twas deafness made the Adder sin; and this
Caus'd him, who should have hum'd the Poet, hiss.


Richard Head, the Noted Author of the English Rogue, was a Ministers Son, born in Ireland, whose Father was killed in that horrid Rebellion in 1641. Whereupon his Mother with this her Son came into England; and he having been trained up in Learning, was by the help of some Friends, for some little time brought up in the University of Oxford, in the same Colledge wherein his Father had formerly been a Student. But means falling short, he was taken away from thence, and bound Apprentice to a Latin Bookseller in London; attaining to a good Proficiency in that Trade. But his Genius being addicted to Poetry, and having Venus for his Horoscope, e're his time were fully out, he wrote a Piece called Venus Cabinet Unlock'd: Afterwards he married, and set up for himself: But being addicted to play, a Mans Estate then runs in Hazard, (for indeed that was his Game) until he had almost thrown his Shop away. Then he betook himself to Ireland, his Native Country; where he composed his Hic & Ubique, a noted Comedy; and which gained him a general Esteem for the worth thereof. And coming over into England, had it Printed, dedicating it to the then Duke of Monmouth; But receiving no great Incouragement from his Patron, he resolved to settle himself in the World, and to that purpose, with his Wife took a House in Queens-Head Alley, near Pater-Noster-Row; and for a while followed his Business, so that contrary to the Nature of a Poet, his Pockets began to be well lined with Money: But being bewitched to that accursed vice of Play, it went out by handfuls, as it came in piece by piece. And now he is to seek again in the World, whereupon he betook him to his Pen; and wrote the first part of the English Rogue: which being too much smutty, would not be Licensed, so that he was fain to refine it, and then it passed stamp. At the coming forth of this first part, I being with him at three Cup Tavern in Holborn, drinking over a glass of Rhenish, made these verses upon it.

What Gusman, Buscon, Francion, Rablais writ,
I once applauded for most excellent Wit;
But reading thee, and thy rich Fancies store,
I now condemn what I admir'd before.
Henceforth Translations pack away, be gone,
No Rogue so well-writ as the English one.

There was afterwards three more parts added to it by him, and Mr. Kirkman with a promise of a fifth, which never came out.

He wrote several other Books besides, as The art of Whedling; The Floating Island; or a Voyage from Lambethania to Ramalia; A discovery of O Brazil; Jacksons Recantation, The Red Sea, &c. Amongst others, he had a great Fancy in Bandying against Dr. Wild; (although I must confess therein over Matcht) yet fell he upon him tooth and nail in Answer to his Letter directed to his Friend Mr. J.J. upon Occasion of his Majesties Declaration for Liberty of Conscience; concluding in this manner.

Thus Sir you have my Story, but am Sorry
(Taunton excuse) it is no better for ye,
However read it, as you Pease are shelling;
For you will find, it is not worth the telling.
Excuse this boldness, for I can't avoid
Thinking sometimes, you are but ill Imploy'd.
Fishing for Souls more fit, then frying Fish;
That makes me throw, Pease Shellings in your Dish.
You have a study, Books wherein to look,
How comes it then the Doctor's turn'd a Cook?
Well Doctor Cook, pray be advis'd hereafter
Don't make your Wife the Subject of our Laughter.
I find she's careless, and your Maid a slut,
To let you grease your Cassock for your gut.
You are all three in fault, by all that's blest;
Mend you your manners first, then teach the rest.

He was one who met with a great many Crosses and Afflictions in his Life; and was (as I am informed) at last cast away at Sea, as he was going to the Isle of Wight.


John Philips, the Brother of Edward Phillips, the Famous Continuator of Sir Richard Bakers Chronicle; and Author of The New World of English Words. He was also Nephew to the before mention'd John Milton, the Author of Paradice lost, and Paradice Regain'd; so that he might be said to have Poetical Blood run in his Veins. He was Accounted one of the exactest of Heroical Poets either of the Ancients or Moderns, either of our own or what ever other Nation else; having a Judicious command of Style both in Prose and Verse. But his chiefest Vein lay in Burlesque, and facetious Poetry, which produc'd that Ingenious Satyr against Hypocrites.

He also Translated the Fifth and Sixth Books of Virgils Æniedes into English Burlesque; of which that we may give you a Draught of his Method, take these few lines.

While Dido in a Bed of Fire,
A new-found way to cool desire,
Lay wrapt in Smoke, half Cole, half Dido,
Too late repenting Crime Libido,
Monsieur Æneas went his waies;
For which I con him little praise,
To leave a Lady, not i' th' Mire,
But which was worser, in the Fire.
He Neuter-like, had no great aim,
To kindle or put out the flame.
He had what he would have, the Wind;
More than ten Dido's to his mind.
The merry gale was all in Poop,
Which made the Trojans all cry Hoop!

He it was who wrote that Jovial Almanack of Montelion; besides several other things in a serious Vein of Poetry. Nor must we forget his Song made on the Tombs at Westminster; which for a witty drolling Invention, I hold it to be past Compare, being Printed in a Book called The Miseries of Love and Eloquence.

You may reckon among these his Elegy upon our late Soveraign, and his Anniversary to His Majesty; Composed all by Dr. Blow.


Mr. John Oldham, the delight of the Muses, and glory of those last Times; a Man utterly unknown to me but only by Works, which none can read but with Wonder and Admiration; So Pithy his Strains, so Sententious his Expressions, so Elegant his Oratory, so Swimming his Language, so Smooth his Lines, in Translating out-doing the Original, and in Invention matchless; whose praise my rude Pen is not able to Comprehend: Take therefore a small Draught of his Perfections in a Funeral Elegy, made by the Laureat of our Nation, Mr. John Dryden.

Farewel, too little and too lately known,
Whom I began to think and call my own;
For sure our Souls were near ally'd; and thine
Cast in the same Poetick Mould with mine.
One common note on either Lyre did strike,
And Knaves and Fools we both abhorr'd alike:
To the same Goal did both our Studies drive,
The last set out the soonest did arrive.
Thus Nisus fell upon the Slippery place,
While his young Friend perform'd and won the race.
O early ripe! to thy abundant store,
What could advancing age have added more?
It might (what Nature never gives the young)
Have taught the numbers of thy Native Tongue.
But Satyr needs not those, and wit will shine
Through the harsh cadence of a rugged line,
A noble error, and but seldom made,
When Poets are by too much force betray'd.
Thy generous Fruits, though gather'd e're their Prime,
Still shew'd a quickness; and maturing time;
But Mellows what we write to the dull sweets of Rhime.
Once more, hail and farwel, farwel thou young,
But all too short Marcellus of our Tongue;
Thy brows with Ivy, and with Lawrels bound;
But flat and gloomy Night encompass thee around.

This wittily learned Gentleman was of Edmund-Hall in Oxford, and dyed in the Earl of Kingston's Family in the prime of his Years; whose life had it been lengthened, might have produced as large a Volume of learned Works, as any this latter Age have brought forth.

And thus have we given you an Account of all the most Eminent English Poets that have come to our knowledge; although we question not but many and those well deserving have slipped our Pen; which if these our Labours shall come to a Second Impression, as we question nothing to the contrary, we shall endeavour to do them right. In the mean time we shall give you a short Account of some of the most eminent that are now (or at least thought by us so to be) living at this time, and so conclude, beginning first with


Poet Laureat and Historiographer to his Royal Majesty; whose Poetry hath passed the World with the greatest Approbation and acceptance that may be, especially what he hath written of Dramatick, viz. The Maiden Queen; The Wild Gallant; The Mock Astrologer; Marriage Ala-mode; The Amorous Old Woman; and The Assignation, Comedies; Tyranick Love; and Amboyna, Tragedies; and The Indian Emperor; and two Parts of the Conquests of Granada; Historical Drama's. Besides several other Pieces, which speak their own worth, more than any Commendations my Pen can bestow upon them.


An Ingenious Person, who besides his other Works hath contributed to the Stage two Tragedies, viz. Cambises, and The Empress of Morrocco, which notwithstanding the severe censure of some, may deservedly pass with good Approbation.


The Author of Two Comedies, viz. Love in a Tub; and She Would if she Could; which for pleasant Wit, and no bad Oeconemy, are judged not unworthy the applause they have met with.


The noted Author of that so Celebrated a Comedy entituled The Cheats; which hath passed the Stage and Press with so general an applause, also another Comedy called The Projectors and the Tragedy of Andronicus Commenius.


One whose Pen hath deserved well of the Stage, not only for the number of the Plays which he hath writ; but also for the sweet Language and Contrivance of them. His Comedies are, The Humorist; The Sullen Lovers; Epsom Wells, &c. Besides his Royal Shepherdess, a Pastoral Tragi-Comedy; and his Tragedy of Psyche, or rather Tragical Opera, as vying with the Opera's of Italy, in the Pomp of Scenes, Marchinry and Musical performance.


Thomas Stanley Esquire, of Cumberlo Green in Hartfordshire; a general Scholar, one well known both in Philosophy, History, and Poetry. Witness his learned Edition of Æschylus, and his lives of the Philosophers; But for that which we take the most notice of him here, his smooth Air and gentile Spirit in Poetry; which appears not only in his own Genuine Poems, but also from what he hath so well Translated out of Ancient Greek, and Modern Italian, Spanish, and French Poets; So that we may well conclude him to be both the Glory and Admiration of his time.


Edward Phillips Brother to John Phillips aforesaid, the Judicious Continuator of Sir Richard Bakers Chronicle; which will make his name Famous to Posterity, no less than his Genuine Poems upon several occasions, in which he comes not far short of his Spritely Brother.


Mr. Thomas Sprat, whose judicious History of the Royal Society, for the Smoothness of the Stile, and exactness of the Method, deserveth high Commendations; He hath also writ in Verse a very applauded, tho little Poem, entitled The Plague of Athens.


William Smith the Author of a Tragedy entituled Hieronymo; as also The Hector of Germany.


Mr. John Lacy, one of the noted'st Wits of these Times, who as William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlow before him, rose from an Actor to be an Author to the Stage, having written two ingenious Comical Pieces, viz. Monsieur Ragou, and the Dumb Lady.


Mr. William Whicherly, a Gentleman of the Inner Temple, who besides his other learned Works, hath contributed largely to the Stage, in his Comedies of Love in a Wood, The Gentleman Dancing-Master, The Country Wife, &c.


And so we have reckoned up all the most Eminent Poets which have come to our knowledge, craving pardon for those we have omitted. We shall conclude all with Sir Roger L'Strange, one whose Pen was never idle in asserting the Royal Cause, as well before the King's Restoration, against his open Enemies, as since that time against his Feigned Friends. Those who shall consider the Number and Greatness of his Books, will admire he should ever write so many, and those who have Read them, considering the Stile and Method they are writ in, will more admire he should Write so well. And because some people may imagine his Works not to be so many as he hath written, we will give you a Catalogue of as many as we can remember of them.

Collections In Defence of the King.
Tolleration Discussed.
Relapsed Apostate.
Apology for Protestants.
Richard against Baxter.
Tyranny and Popery.
Growth of Knavery.
Reformed Catholique.
Free-born Subjects.
The Case Put.
Seasonable Memorials.
Answer to the Appeal.
No Papist.
The Shammer Shamm'd.
Account Cleared.
Reformation Reformed.
Dissenters Sayings in Two Parts.
Notes on Colledge.
Citizen and Bumkin in Two Parts.
Further Discovery of the Plot.
Discovery on Discovery.
Narrative of the Plot.
Zekiel and Ephraim.
Appeal to the King and Parliament.
Papist in Masquerade.
Answer to the Second Character of a Popish Successor.

These Twenty Six, with divers others, he writ in Quarto; Besides which he wrote divers others, viz.

The History of the Plot, in Folio.
Quevedo's Visions Englished, Octavo.
Erasmus's Coloquies Eng.. Oct.
Seneca's Morals, Oct.
Cicero's Offices in English.
The Guide to Eternity, in Twelves.
Five Love Letters from a Nun to a Cave, &c.
The Holy Cheat.
Caveat to the Cavaliers.
Plea for the Caveat and the Author.

Besides his indefatigable pains taken in writing the Observator, a Work, which for Vindicating the Royal Interest, and undeceiving the People, considering the corruption of the Times, of as great use and behoof as may be, mens minds having been before so poysoned by Fanatical Principles, that it is almost an Herculean Work to reduce them again by Reason, or as we may more properly say, to Reason. Of which useful Work he hath done already Two large Volumes, and a Third almost compleated, his Pen being never weary in Service of his Country.

But should I go about to enumerate all the Works of this worthy Gentleman, I should run my self into an irrecoverable Labyrinth. Nor is he less happy in his Verse than Prose, which for Elegancy of Language, and quickness of Invention, deservedly entitles him to the honour of a Poet; and therefore I shall forbear to write more of him, since what I can do upon that account, comes infinitely far short of his deservings.



besides several other literal mistakes which I would desire the Reader to Correct with his Pen.

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