1720 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Phineas Fletcher

Giles Jacob, in Historical Account of the Lives and Writings of our most considerable English Poets (1720) 56-57.



The Divine Spirit of Poesie seems to be Hereditary in his Family, for this Gentleman, was not only the Son of a Poet, but Brother to Two eminent Poets, in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth; His Father Files Fletcher, Esq; was Doctor of Laws and sent Ambassador to Muscovy; our Author was Educated at King's-College in Cambridge, where he became Fellow, and acquired a very great Reputation. His Poetical Performances were intitled, Piscatory Eclogues, but the chief Piece written by him, was The Purple Island, a Poem, very much esteemed, and Scarce, wherein are the following Lines:

Thrice happy was the Worlds first Infancy,
Nor knowing yet, nor curious ill to know:
Joy without Grief, Love without Jealosy;
None felt hard Labour, or the sweating Plough:
The willing Earth brought Tribute to her King—

And in another place, speaking of Covetousness.

Vain Men, too fondly wise, who plough the Seas,
With Dangerous Pains another Earth to find:
Adding new Worlds to th' old, and Scorning ease,
The Earth's vast Limits daily more Unbind!
The Aged World tho' now it falling shows,
And hastes to set, yet still in Dying grows,
Whole Lives are spent to Win what one Death's hour must lose.

His Brother Giles Fletcher, wrote a Poem called Christ's Victory; when he was only Batchelor of Arts: And his other Brother George Fletcher, was Author of a Poem entitled, Christ's Victory and Triumph over; And after Death: both of them very much Commended.