1812 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Edward Dyer

Samuel Egerton Brydges, "England's Helicon" British Bibliographer 3 (1812) x.



The birth of Edward Dyer is placed by Mr. Ellis about 1540. He was educated at Oxford, and afterwards employed in several embassies, particularly in Denmark in 1589; and on his return from thence made Chancellor of the Garter on the death of Sir John Wolley, and at the same time knighted. Mr. PARK has kindly furnished the following curious memoranda from Aubrey's MS. Auctarium Vitarum in the Ashmole Museum at Oxford.

"Sir Edward Dyer of Sharpham Park, Somersetshire, was a great critic, poet, and acquaintance of Mary, Countess of Pembroke and Sir Philip Sidney. He is mentioned in the Preface of the Arcadia. He had 4000 per annum, and was left fourscore thousand pounds in money. He wasted it almost all. This I had from Captain Dyer, his great grandson, or brother's great grandson. I thought he had been the son of the Lord Chief Justice: but that was a mistake. The judge was of the same family, the Captain tells me."

Sir Edward was a great chymist; and a dupe of Dr. Dee, and Edward Kelley.

He died some years after King James came to the throne; and was succeeded in his Chancellorship of the Garter by Sir Edward Herbert, Knight, Principal Secretary of State.

Six pieces of Sir Edward are here preserved. The first three stanzas of the first have been selected by Mr. Ellis.