1662 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Giles Fletcher

Thomas Fuller, in History of the Worthies of England (1662) 2:221.



GILES FLETCHER was born in this City [London], son to Giles Fletcher, Dr. in law, and Embassador into Russia, of whom formerly in Kent. From Westminster-school he was chosen first Scholar, then Fellow of Trinity-Colledge in Cambridge. One equally beloved of the Muses and the Graces, having a sanctified wit, witness his worthy Poem intituled Christs Victory, made by him being but Bachelour of Arts, discovering the Piety of a Saint and Divinity of a Doctor. He afterwards applied himself to School-Divinity (cross to the grain of his Genius, as some conceive) and attained to good skill therein. When he preached at St. Maries, his prayer before his Sermon usually consisted of one entire Allegory, not driven, but led on, most proper in all particulars. He was at last (by exchange of his living) settled in Suffolk, which hath the best and worst aire in England; best about Bury, and worst on the Sea-side where Master Fletcher was beneficed. His clownish and low parted Parishioners, (having nothing but their shoos high about them,) valued not their Pastour according to his worth, which disposed him to melancholy, and hastened his dissolution. I behold the life of this learned Poet, like those half-verses in Virgils Aenieds, broken off in the middle, seeing he might have doubled his days according to the ordinary course of nature; whose death happened 162-. He had another brother Phineas Fletcher Fellow of Kings-colledge in Cambridge, and beneficed also in Norfolk, a most excellent Poet, witness his Purple Island, and several other pieces of great ingenuity.