1769 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Aston Cokayne

James Granger, in Biographical History of England (1769; 1824) 5:250.



Sir Aston Cockain was a native of Ashbourne in the Peake, in Derbyshire, where his ancestors had been long seated, and possessed a considerable estate; as they also did at Polesworth, in Warwickshire. He studied at Oxford and Cambridge, and was a fellow-commoner of Trinity College, in the latter university. Having been some time at the inns of court, he travelled over a great part of Europe with Sir Kenelm Digby. The politeness of his manners, his love of the liberal arts, and his vein of poetry, though not of the richest and purest kind, gained him much esteem. As he was known to be of the church of Rome, and therefore deemed a malignant, he suffered as such by the iniquity of the times. This, together with his convivial disposition and the neglect of economy, reduced him to a necessity of selling his estate at Polesworth, which was purchased by Humphrey Jennings, esq. He had, however, the prudence to reserve a competent annuity for himself. The lordship of Ashbourne was sold, after his death, to Sir William Boothby, bart. He died in February 1684, in the 78th year of his age. He was author of four plays, and poems on various subjects; and translated, from the Italian, Dianea, esteemed a good romance.