1690 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Aston Cokayne

Anthony Wood, Athenae Oxonienses (1690-91; 1721) 2:756-57.



ASTON COCKAINE, Son of Thom. Cockaine, Esq; (buried in the Church of S. Giles in the Fields, near London) by Anne his Wife, Daughter of Joh. Stanhope of Elvaston Knight, was born of a Knightly and ancient Family at Ashbourne in the Peake of Derbyshire, on the 28th of Decemb. 1608, educated in both the Universities, especially in that of Cambridge, and therein in Trin. Coll. of which he was Fellow Commoner, as he himself confesseth in one of his Works, and therefore I was sometime doubtful whether I should put him in these Athenae; yet considering that he had the degree of M. of A. conferr'd on him in this University in the time of the Civil Broils, I did therefore allot him a place among the Oxonians. After he had left the University he went to the Inns of Court, where continuing for some time for fashion sake, he afterwards travelled with Sir Ken. Digby into France, Italy, German, &c. Upon his return he married, wrote an Account of his Travels, but did not print it, lived the greatest part of his time in a Lordship belonging to him called Pooley in the Parish of Polesworth in Warkwicksh. addicted himself much to Books, and the study of Poetry, and spent much of his time in the delights of the Muses. During the time of the Civil Wars he suffered much for his Religion (which was that of Rome) and the King's Cause, pretended then to be a Barronet made by K. Ch. I. after he, by Violence, had left the Parliament, about 10 Jan. 1641, yet not deemed so to be by the Officers of Arms, because no Patent was enrolled to justify it, nor any mention of it made in the Docquet-Books belonging to the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery, where all Patents are taken notice of, which pass the Great Seal. This Person, I say, mostly lived at Pooley, and sometimes in the great City, was esteemed by many an ingenious Gent. a good Poet and a great Lover of Learning, yet by others a perfect boon Fellow, by which means he wasted all he had. His Works are,

A Masque: — presented at Brethie in Derbyshire on Twelfth-Night 1639. This is printed in the body of his poems.

A Chain of Golden Poems, imbellished with Wit, Mirth, and Eloquence — Another title put to these runs thus, Choice Poems of several Sorts.

Epigrams in three Books.

The obstinate Lady: a Comedy. Lond. 1657, 4to. and in the year following,

Trappolin suppos'd a Prince; Trag. Com. — Taken from an Italian trag. com. call'd Trappolin Creduto Principe. Afterwards published by some plagiary under the title of A Duke and no Duke. All these before going were printed at Lond. 1658 in oct. and afterwards in 1669, with

The Tragedy of Ovid — and had a new title put to, with sir Aston's picture before them (no genteel face) by Franc. Kirkman bookseller, a great trader in plays. 'Tis said by some that sir Aston was author of Tyrannical Government, trag. com. and of Thersites, an interlude, but I think they are mistaken, as others do the like. Sure I am that he translated into English an excellent Italian romance called Dianea, printed at Lond. 1654. At length he had lived beyond the Age of Man, yielded up his last breath at Derby, upon the breaking of the great Frost in Feb. in sixteen hundred eighty and three: whereupon his Body being conveyed to Polesworth in Warwickshire before-mention'd, was privately buried there on the 13th of the same Month in the Chancel of the Church there. His Lordship of Pooley, which had belonged to the Name of Cockayne from the time of K. Rich. II, was sold several Years before he died to one Humphrey Jennings Esq; at which time Sir Aston reserv'd an Annuity from it for himself during his Life. The fair Lordship of Ashbourne also was some Years ago sold to Sir William Boothby, Bt.