1840 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Edward Dyer

Thomas Park, in Thomas Warton, History of English Poetry (1840) 3:230-31n.



The time of Sir Edward Dyer's birth and death are alike veiled in uncertainty. The former Mr. Ellis computes to have been about 1540, and he lived till the reign of King James. According to Aubrey, he was of the same family as the judge, and proved a great spendthrift. Aubrey styles him of Sharpham park, Somersetshire. He was educated at Oxford, and as Wood intimates at Baliol College. Obtaining the character of a well-bred man, and having Sidney and other distinguished persons for his associates, he was taken into the service of the court. By queen Elizabeth he was sent on several embassies, particularly to Denmark in 1589, and had the chancellorship of the garter conferred on him at his return, with the honour of knighthood. It is not improbable that his property was squandered, as Aubrey affirms it to have been, by his credulous attachment to rosicrusian chemistry under those infatuated devotees Dr. Dee and Edward Kelly. Wood erroneously speaks of him as a contributor to the collection of poetical flowers, called England's Parnassus, 1600: perhaps he misnamed the title for that of Belvidere, or the Garden of the Muses. The "Shepheardes Logike," a folio MS. cited in the British Bibliographer, ii. 276, has dedicatory verses by Abr. Fraunce, to the "ryght worshypful Mr. Edwarde Dyer."