1690 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Richard Fanshawe

Anthony Wood, Athenae Oxonienses (1690-91) ed. Bliss (1815) 5:ii 75-76.



This right worthy and loyal person Richard Fanshaw (originally of the university of Cambr.) was descended of the family of Fanshaw of Fanshawgate in Derbyshire, being the great grandchild of John Fanshaw of that place, brother of Henry Fanshaw, and father of Tho. Fanshaw esquires, who were successively remembrancers of the Exchequer to qu. Elizabeth: which Thomas was father to sir Hen. Fanshaw knt. (who died of an apoplexy at the assizes in Hertford 10 Mar. 1615.) father of Thomas sometimes lord viscount Fanshaw of Dromore in Ireland, father of him who is now, or at least was lately, lord viscount Fanshaw: which three last have also been remembrancers of the Exchequer to king James I. king Charles I. and II. The said Rich. Fanshaw (brother to lord Thomas) of whom we are farther to speak, was, for his early abilities, taken into the employment of the state by king Charles I. an. 1635, and then sent resident to the court of Spain: whence being recall'd in the beginning of the troubles (1640-41) into Engl. he followed the royal interest during all the calamitous time that followed, and was employed in several weighty matters of state. In 1644 he was appointed secretary at war to Charles prince of Wales (afterwards king) whom he attended into the western parts of Engl. and thence into the isles of Scilly and Guernsey. In 1648 he was appointed treasurer of the navy under the command of prince Rupert, which he managed till the year 1650, when then he was prefer'd by his majesty to the dignity of a baronet, and sent envoy extraordinary to the crown of Spain; and being thence recalled into Scotland, he there served in the quality of secretary of state: which weighty and difficult employment he preformed in that conjuncture with great satisfaction of all parties, notwithstanding he never took covenant or engagement. Thence he attended his majesty at Worcester, was at the battel there (1651) taken prisoner, and conveyed to Lond. by the rebels; where continuing in close custody till he contracted a great sickness, had liberty allow'd him, upon bail given, for the recovery of his health to go to any place he should choose, provided he stirred not five miles from the place without leave from the parliament. During which time and other vacant hours, he made several translations and wrote divers poems, as I shall tell you by and by. In February 1659 he repaired to his majesty king Charles II. at Breda, who there knighted him in April 1660, and made him his secretary of the Latin tongue (in which he did excell) and master of the Requests. In 1661 he being then burgess for the university of Cambridge, he was sworn one of the privy council of Ireland, and sent envoy to the crown of Portugal, with a dormant commission to the ambassador, which he was to make use of as occasion should require. In 1662 he was again sent to that crown with the title of ambassador; and at his return thence in 1663 he was sworn one of his majesty's privy council and took his place accordingly, and in January the same year he was sent ambassador to both the crowns of Spain and Portugal: in which time the foundation of peace betwixt those crowns and England was laid by him. His deportment during his former employments in those courts won him such high value and estimation with the princes, that his reception was most splendid and magnificent, exceeding all that were before: which those kings declared was done as a particular respect to the person of the ambassador, and was not to be a precedent for succeeding ambassadors. He hath written, (1) Divers Poems. Lond. 1664, oct. Printed with his translation of Il pastor fido. The first of the said poems is An Ode upon Occasion of his Majesty's Proclamation, An. 1630, commanding the Gentry to reside upon their Estates in the Country. (2) A summary Discourse of the Civil Wars of Rome. Lond. 1664, oct. extracted out of the best Lat. writers in prose and verse. He hath translated from English into Lat. verse The faithful Shepherdess: a Pastoral. Lond. 1658, written originally by Joh. Fletcher gent. and from Latin into English, (1) the fourth Book of Virgil's Aeneis on the Loves of Did and Aeneas, Lond. 1664, oct. (2) Two Odes out of Horace relating to the Civil Wars of Rome against covetous rich Men. Ibid. 1664, oct. He hath translated from Italian into English, — Il Pastor fido: The faithful Shepherd, a Pastoral. Lond. 1646, qu. 1664, oct. Written originally by Guarini, a native of Ferrara in Italy: and from Spanish into English an historical poem called — Querer per solo querer: To love only for Love's Sake. Lond. 1671, qu. 'Tis a dramatic romance, was originally written by Anton. de Mendoza, translated and paraphrased by our author at Tankerley park in Yorkshire, 1654, when then he had obtained leave from the superior power to range beyond 5 miles within London. To this is joyned another translation by the same hand entit. — Fiestus de Aranjuez. Festivals represented at Aranjuez. He also translated from Portugese into English, The Luciad: or Portugal's Historical Poem. Lond. 1655, 56, &c. fol. Written originally by Lewis de Camoens. Besides these translations, he hath performed others as I have been informed, which continue partly in MS, and hath written other poems as well as Lat. as English, which for brevity's sake I shall now pass by the mentioning. At length this worthy person being overtaken with a violent fever at Madrid in Spain on the fourth of June 1666, during the time of his being there ambassador, died thereof on the 16th of the same month old stile, aged 59 years: whereupon his body being embalmed, was (after month) conveyed by his disconsolate lady, with all his children then living, by land thro' France to Calais, whence it was transported to England, and landed near Tower-hill at London. Thence it was removed to Lincolns Inn Fields, to the Pine Apples, which was then his lady's hired house. The next day the corps was carried to Allhallow's church in Hertford, and there deposited in the vault of his father-in-law sir John Harrison, until the 18th of May 1671; on which day it was removed into the parish church of Ware in the said county, and there laid in a new vault made and purchased on purpose for him and his lady, near the old vault where all the ancestors of Ware park lye interred.