1690 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Cartwright

Anthony Wood, Athenae Oxonienses (1690-91; 1721) 2:34-36.



WILLIAM CARTWRIGHT the most noted Poet, Orator and Philosopher of his time, was born at North-way near Tewksbury in Glocestershire in Sept. 1611. (9 Jac. I.) and baptized there on the 26th day of the same Month. His Father Will. Cartwright was once a Gentleman of a fair Estate, but running out of it, I know not how, was forced to keep a common Inn at Cirencester in the same County, where living in a middle condition, caused this his Son, of great hopes, to be educated under Mr. Will. Topp Master of the Free-School there. But so great a progress did he make in a short time, that by the advice of Friends, his Father got him to be sped a King's-Scholar at Westminster; where compleating his former Learning to a miracle under Mr. Lambert Osbaldeston, was elected Student of Ch. Ch. in 1628, put under the Tuition of Jerumael Terrent, went thro' the Classes of Logic and Philosophy with an unvaried industry, took the Degrees in Arts (that of Master being compleated in 1635) holy Orders, and became the most florid and seraphical Preacher in the University. He was another Tully and Virgil, as being most excellent for Oratory and Poetry, in which Faculties, as also in the Greek Tongue, he was so full and absolute, that those that best knew him, knew not in which he most excelled. So admirably well vers'd also was he in Metaphysics, that when he was Reader of them in the University, the exposition of them was never better performed than by him and his Predecessor Tho. Barlow of Qu. Coll. His preaching also was so graceful, and profound withal, that none of his time or age went beyond him. So that if the Wits read his Poems, Divines his Sermons, and Philosophers his Lectures on Aristotle's Metaphysics, they would scarce believe that he died at a little above thirty Years of Age. But that which is most remarkable, is that these his high parts and abilities were accompanied with so much candour and sweetness, that they made him equally beloved and admired of all Persons, especially those of the Gown and Court, who esteemed also his Life a fair Copy of practic piety, a rare example of heroic worth, and in whom Arts, Learning and Language made up the true complement of perfection. He hath written [list omitted]. As for Cartwright, who had the Succentor's place in the Church of Salisbury conferr'd on him by Bishop Duppa, in the Month of Octob. 1642, he was untimely snatch'd away by a malignant Fever call'd the Camp-disease, that raged in Oxon. (he being then one of the Proctors of the University) to the great Grief of all learned and virtuous Men, and to the Resentment of the K. and Qu. then there (who very anxiously enquired of his Health in the time of the Sickness) on the 29th of November in sixteen hundred forty and three, and was buried on the first Day of December, towards the upper end of the South Isle joyning to the Choir of the Cathedral of Christ Church. In his Proctorship succeeded Joh. Maplet, M.A. of the same House, who served out the remaining part of the Year, and in his Succentorship Rob. Joyner of Oxford.