1896 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Charles Fitzgeffrey

W. H. K. Wright, in West-Country Poets (1896) 173-74.



This poet and divine was the son of Alexander Fitzgeoffry, a clergyman who had migrated from Bedfordshire, and was born at Fowey, in Cornwall, about 1575. He was entered in 1590 at Broadgates Hall, Oxford, proceeded B.A. January 31, 1596-97, and M A. July 4, 1600. In 1596 he published at Oxford a spirited poem, entitled Sir Francis Drake; his Honorable Lifes Commendation and his Tragicall Deathes Lamentation, 8vo. It was dedicated to Queen Elizabeth, and commendatory verses were prefixed by Richard Rous, Francis Rous, "D. W.," and Thomas Mychelbourne. A second edition, with a revised text and additional commendatory verses, was published in the same year. Meres, in Palladis Tamia, 1598, has a complimentary notice of "Yong Charles Fitz-Ieffrey, that high touring Falcon," and several quotations from the poem occur in England's Parnassus, 1600. In 1601 Fitzgeoffry published an interesting volume of Latin epigrams and epitaphs, Caroli Fitzgeofridi Affaniae; sive Epigrammatum libri tres: Ejusdem Cenotaphia, 8vo. Epigrams are addressed to Drayton, Daniel, Sir John Harrington, William Percy, and Thomas Campion; and there are epitaphs on Spenser, Tarlton, and Nashe. Fitzgeoffry's most intimate friends were the brothers Edward, Laurence, and Thomas Mychelbourne, who are so frequently mentioned in Campion's Latin epigrams. There is an epigram "To my deare friend, Mr. Charles Fitz-Ieffrey" among the poems "To Worthy Persons," appended to John Davies of Hereford's Scourge of Folly, 1620. It appears from the epigram ("To thee that now dost mind but Holy Writ," etc.) that Fitzgeoffry was then in Orders. By his friend Sir Anthony Rous he was presented to the living of St. Dominic, in the hundred of Eastwellshire, Cornwall. In 1620 he published Death's Sermon unto the Living, 4to., second edition, 1622, a funeral sermon on the wife of Sir Anthony Rous; in 1622, Elisha; his Lamentation for his Owne and all Israel's losse in Elijah, 4to., a funeral sermon on Sir Anthony Rous; in 1631, The Curse of Corne-horders, with the Blessing of Seasonable Selling; in three sermons, 4to., dedicated to Sir Reginald Mohune; reprinted in 1648 under the title God's Blessing upon the Providers of Corn, etc.; in 1634, a devotional poem, The Blessed Birth-day, celebrated in some Pious Meditations on the Angels Anthem, 4to., reprinted in 1636 and 1654; and in 1637, Compassion towards Captives, chiefly towards our Brethren and Country-men who are in Miserable Bondage in Barbaric; urged and pressed in three sermons ... Preached in Plymouth in October, 1636, 4to., with a dedication to John Cause, Mayor of Plymouth.

Fitzgeoffry died February 24, 1637-38, and was buried under the Communion-table of his church. Robert Chamberlain has some verses to his memory in Nocturnall Lucubrations, 1638.

Fitzgeoffry prefixed commendatory verses to Storer's Life and Death of Thomas, Earl of Cromwell, 1599 (two copies of Latin verse and two English sonnets); Davies of Hereford's Microcosmus, 1603; Sylvester's ' Bartas; his Devine Weekes and Workes, 1605; and William Vaughan's Golden Grove, 1608. He was among the contributors to Oxoniensis Academiae Funebre Officium in Memoriam Elizabethae, 1603, 4to., and Academiae Oxoniensis Pietas erga Jacobum, 1603, 4to. There is an epigram to him in John Dunbar's Epigrammaton Centuriae Sex, 1616. Campion addressed two epigrams to him, and Robert Hayman, in Quodlibets, 1620, has an epigram to him, from which it appears that he was blind of one eye. A letter of Fitzgeoffry, dated from Fowey, March, 1633, giving an account of a thunderstorm, is preserved at Kimbolton Castle.

In addition to the above, an edition of the Life and Death of Sir Francis Drake was printed by Sir S. E. Brydges at the Lee Priory Press in 1819, and the latest issue (1881) is described as follows:

The poems of the Rev. Charles Fitzgeoffry (1593-1636), edited, with Introduction and Notes, and Illustrations, by the Rev. Alexander B. Grosart, LL.D., F.S.A. Sixty-two copies only. Printed for the subscribers. 1881.