1690 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Browne of Tavistock

Anthony Wood, Athenae Oxonienses (1690-91; 1721) 1:492-93.



WILLIAM BROWNE, Son of Tho. Br. of Tavystock in Devonsh. Gent. was born there, spent some time among the Muses in Exeter Coll. after K. Jam. I. came to the Crown; whence retiring to the Inner Temple, without any degree conferr'd upon him, became famed there for his Poetry, especially after he had published,

Britannia's Pastorals — Esteemed then, by judicious Persons, to be written in a sublime strain, and for subject amorous and very pleasing. The first part of it was printed at Lond. 1613. fol. and then usher'd into the World with several copies of verses made by his learned acquaintance, as Joh. Selden, Mich. Drayton, Christoph. Brooke, &c. The second part, or Book, was printed at Lond. 1616. fol. and then commended to the World by various copies made by John Glanvill, (whom I shall mention elsewhere, for his sufficiencies in the Common Law,) Joh. Davies of Hereford, George Withers of Linc. Inn, Ben Johnson, Thom. Wenman of the Inner Temple, &c. which last I take to be the same, that had been Fellow of Bal. Coll. and Public Orator of this University. These two Books, or parts, in fol. were also printed in two vol. in oct. (1625.) which I have not yet seen. Our Author Browne hath also written a Poem entit.

The Shepard's Pipe; in 7 Eclogues. Lond. 1614. oct. The fourth Eclogue is dedicated to Mr. Tho. Manwood, (who died about that time) Son of Sir Pet. Manwood, and fifth to his ingenious Friend Mr. Christoph. Brook, mentioned elsewhere in this work.

Elegy on the never enough bewailed, &c. Prince Henry. Lond. 1613. qu. and other Poems, as 'tis probable, but such I have not seen. However the Reader is to know, that as he had honoured his Country with his elegant and sweet Pastorals, so was he expected, and also intreated a little farther, to grace it, by drawing out the line of his Poetic Ancestors, beginning with Josephus Iscanius, and ending in himself; but whether ever published, having been all or mostly written, as 'twas said, I know not. In the beginning of the Year 1624 he retired to Exeter Coll. again, being then about 34 Years of Age, and was Tutor or Gov. to Rob. Dormer of that House, the same who was afterwards Earl of Caernarvon, and killed in Newbury fight, 20 Sept. 1643. In the same Year he was actually created Master of Arts, as I shall tell you elsewhere in the Fasti, and after he had left the Coll. with his Pupil, he became a retainer to the Pembrochian Family, was beloved by that generous Count, William E. of Pembroke, and got wealth and purchased an Estate, which is all I know of him hitherto, only that as he had a little body, so a great mind. In my searches I find that one Will. Browne of Ottery S. Mary in Devon. died in the Winter of 1645. whether the same with the Poet, I am hitherto ignorant. After the time of the said Poet, appeared another Person of both his Names, Author of two Common Law-Books, written in English, entit. Formulae bene placitandi, and of Modus intrandi placida generalia, and of other things pertaining to that Faculty.