1747 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Phineas Fletcher

Anonymous, in Biographia Britannica (1747-66) 6:3811n.



He was probably a Kentish man, as he lived at Brenckly, within a few miles of Penshurst. He was bred at Eton school, from whence he was chosen to King's College in Cambridge, and became Fellow there. He had afterwards the living of Hilgay in Norfolk. He seems to have been of Spenser's own turn of mind, passing his days most likely at Hilgay, privately and unambitiously, and with all the modest sentiments with which everywhere abounds. We cannot but think of him and love him, when he mentions

The blushing strawberries,
Which lurk, close shrouded from high looking eyes,
Shewing that sweetness low and hidden lies.

And we cannot but revere and envy him when giving us advice:

Would thou live honour'd, clip ambition's wing,
To reason's yoke thy furious passions bring;
Thrice noble is the man who of himself is king.

His poems were published in 1633, in 2 volumes 4to. Mr. Wood tells us, he was the author of several books, one of which was intituled, A father's testament, written for the benefit of his particular relations. Lond. 1670, 8vo, at which time he had been dead several years. He was nephew to Dr. Richard Fletcher, and consequently cousin to John Fletcher the famous playwriter.