1817 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Richard Niccols

Nathan Drake, in Shakespeare and his Times (1817; 1838) 309-10.



This elegant poet was born in 1584, was entered of Magdalen College, Oxford, 1602, and took his bachelor's degree in 1606. In 1607, he published The Cuckow, a Poem, in the couplet measure, which displays very vivid powers of description. His next work was a new and enlarged edition of The Mirror for Magistrates, dated 1610, and to which, as a third and last part, he has added, with a distinct title, A Winter Night's Vision. Being an Addition of such Princes, especially famous, who were exempted in the former Historie. By Richard Niccols, Oxon. Magd. Hall, etc. This supplement consists of an Epistle to the Reader, a Sonnet to Lord Charles Howard, an Induction, and the Lives of King Arthur; Edmund Ironside; Prince Alfred; Godwin, Earl of Kent; Robert Curthose; King Richard the First; King John; King Edward the Second; the two young Princes murdered in the Tower and King Richard the Third; a selection, to which, with little accordancy, he has subjoined, in the octave stanza, a poem entitled England's Eliza: or the victorious and triumphant reigne of that virgin empresse of sacred mcmorie, Elizabeth Queene of Englande, etc. This is preceded by a Sonnet to Lady Elizabeth Clere, and Epistle to the Reader, and an Induction.

Niccols' addition to this popular series of Legends merits considerable praise, exhibiting many touches of the pathetic, and several highly-wrought proofs of a strong and picturesque imagination. In the Legend of Richard the Third, he appears to have studied with great effect the Drama of Shakspeare.

In 1615, our author published Monodia: or, Waltham's Complaint upon the Death of the most Virtuous and noble Lady, late deceased, the Lady Honor Hay; and in the subsequent year, an elaborate poem, under the title of London's Artillery, briefly containing the noble practise of that worthie Societie; with the moderne and ancient martiall exercises, natures of armes, vertue of Magistrates, Antiquitie, Glorie and Chronographie of this honourable Cittie. 4to. This work, dedicated to "the Right Honourable Sir John Jolles, Knight, Lord Maior," etc. is introduced by two Sonnets, a Preface to the Reader, and a metrical induction; it consists of ten cantos, in couplets, with copious illustrative notes; but, in point of poetical execution, is greatly inferior to his Cuckow, and Winter Night's Vision. Niccols, after residing several years at Oxford, left that University for the capital, where, records Wood, he "obtained an employment suitable to his faculty."