1662 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas May

Thomas Fuller, in History of the Worthies of England (1662) 3:110.



THOMAS MAY was born in this County [Sussex], of a worshipfull but decayed Family; bred Fellow-commoner in Cambridge in Sidney-colledge, where he seriously applyed himself to his studies. He afterwards lived in Westminster, and about the Court. He was an excellent Poet, and translated Lucan into English. Now though Scaliger be pleased to say Hypocritically of Lucan, "Non canit sed latrat," yet others (under the Rose) as judicious, allow him an excellent Poet, and loseing no lustre by Mr. Mays translation.

Some disgust at Court was given to, or taken by him, (as some will have it) because his Bays were not guilded richly enough, and his Verses rewarded by King Charles according to his expectation. He afterwards wrote an History of this State, in the beginning of our Civill wars, and being myself (for my many writings) one under the Authority of the Tongues and Pens of others, it ill becometh me to pass any censure on his performance therein. Sure I am, if he were a Biassed and Partiall writer, he lieth buried near a good and true Historian indeed (I mean Mr. Camden) in the West side of the North Isle of Westminster Abbey, dying suddenly in the night, Anno Domini 1652. in the 55. year of his Age.