1747 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Daniel

Anonymous, in Biographia Britannica (1747-66) 1597-99.



Daniel (Samuel), an eminent Poet and Historian, in the reigns of Queen Elizabeth and King James I, was son of a Musick-master, and born near Taunton in Somersetshire, in the year 1562. In 1579, he was admitted a Commoner of Magdalen-Hall in Oxford; where he continued about three years, and, by the help of an excellent Tutor, made a considerable improvement in academical learning. But his genius inclining him more to studies of a softer and gayer nature, he left the University without a degree, and applied himself to English History and Poetry, under the encouragement and patronage of the Earl of Pembroke's family. Afterwards he became Tutor to the Lady Anne Clifford, and, upon the death of the famous Spenser, was appointed Poet-Laureate to Queen Elizabeth. In King James's reign, he was made Gentleman Extraordinary, and afterwards one of the Grooms of the Privy Chamber to the Queen-Consort, who took great delight in his conversation and writings. He rented a small house and garden in Old-street near London, where in private he composed most of his dramatic Pieces. Towards the end of his life, he retired to a farm, which he had at Beckington near Philips-Norton in Somersetshire, where, after some time spent in the enjoyment of the Muses and religious contemplation, he died, and was buried, in the year 1619. He left no issue by his wife Justina, to whom he was married several years.