1817 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Charles Fitzgeffrey

Nathan Drake, in Shakespeare and his Times (1817; 1838) 301.



CHARLES FITZGEFFREY was a native of Cornwall, of a genteel family, and was entered a commoner of Broadgate's hall, Oxford, in 1592. Having taken his degrees in arts, and assumed the clerical profession, he finally became rector of St. Dominic in his own county. In 1596, he published a poem to the memory of Sir Francis Drake, entitled "Sir Francis Drake his honorable Life's commendation; and his tragicall Deathe's lamentation;" 12mo. This poem, which possesses no small portion of merit, is dedicated, in a sonnet, "to the beauteous and virtuous Lady Elizabeth, late wife unto the highlie renowned Sir Francis Drake, deceased," and is highly spoken of by Browne and Meres; the former declaring that he unfolded "The tragedie of Drake in leaves of gold;" and the latter asserting that "as C. Plinius wrote the life of Pomponius Secundus so yong Cha. Fitz-Geffray, that high-touring falcon? hath most gloriously penned the honourable life and death of worthy Sir Francis Drake."

As the poetry of Fitzgeffrey is very little known, we shall give the Sonnet to Lady Drake as a pleasing specimen of his genius:

Divorc'd by Death, but wedded still by Love,
For Love by Death can never be divorc'd;
Loe! England's dragon, thy true turtle dove,
To seeke his make is now againe enforc'd.
Like as the sparrow from the kestrel's ire,
Made his asylum in the wise man's fist
So, he and I, his tongues-man, do require
Thy sanctuary, envie to resist.
So may heroique Drake, whose worth gave wings
Unto my Muse, that nere before could fly,
And taught her tune these harsh discordant strings
A note above her rurall minstrelsy,
Live in himselfe, and I in him may live;
Thine eyes to both vitality shall give.

Beside his volume on Drake, Fitzgeffrey was the author of a collection of Latin epigrams, in three books, under the title of Affaniae, printed in 8vo, 1601, and of a religious poem, called The Blessed Birth-day, 1634, 4to. He lived highly respected both as a poet and divine, and died at his parsonage-house in 1636-7.