1662 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Daniel

Thomas Fuller, in History of the Worthies of England (1662) 3:28-29.



SAMUEL DANIEL was born not far from Taunton in this County [Somersetshire]; whose Faculty was a master of Musick: and his harmonious Mind, made an impression on his Sons Genius, who proved an exquisite Poet. He carried in his Christian and Surname two Holy Prophets, his Monitors so to qualifie his Raptures, that he abhorred all prophaneness.

He was also a 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 Clearnesse, qualities of great distance in other Authors. A work since commendably continued, (but not with equal quicknesse and judgment) by Mr. Trussel.

He was a Servant in Ordinary to Queen Anne, who allowed him a fair Salary. As the Tortoise buried himself all the Winter in the ground, so Mr. Daniel would lye hid at his Garden-house in Oldstreet, nigh London, for some Months together (the more retiredly to enjoy the Company of the Muses,) and then would appear in publick, to converse with his Friends, wherof Dr. Cowel, and Mr. Camden were principal.

Some tax him to smack of the Old Cask, as resenting of the Romish Religion, but they have a quicker Palate than I, who can make any such discovery. In his old Age he turn'd Husbandman, and Rented a Farm in Wiltshire nigh the Devizes. I can give no account how he thrived thereupon. For though he was well vers'd in Virgil, his fellow Husbandman-Poet, yet there is more required to make a rich Farmer than only to say his Georgics by heart, and I question whether his Italian will fit our English Husbandry. Besides, I suspect that Mr. Daniel his fancy was too fine and sublimated to be wrought down to his private profit.

However he had neither a Bank of wealth or lank of want, living in a competent condition. By Justina his wife he had no child, and I am unsatisfied both in the Place and Time of death, but collect the latter to be about the end of the reign of King James.