1662 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Davies of Hereford

Thomas Fuller, in History of the Worthies of England (1662) 2:40.



JOHN DAVIES of Hereford (for so he constantly styled himself) 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 Mysterie indeed, and too Dark for my Dimme Eyes to discover.

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

The Poetical fiction of Briareus the Gyant, 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. Yet had he lived longer he would modestly have acknowledged Mr. Githings (who was his Schollar and also born in this County) to excel him in that faculty, whilst the other would own no such odious Eminencie, but rather gratefully return the credit to his Master again. Sure I am, when two such Transcendent Pen-masters shall again come to be born in the same shire, they may even serve fairly to engross the will and testament of the expiring Universe. Our Davies had also some pretty excursions into Poetry, and could flourish matter as well as Letters, with his Fancy as well as with his Pen. He dyed at London in the midst of the Reign of King James, and lyeth buryed in St. Giles in the fields.