1719 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Cartwright

Giles Jacob, in Poetical Register: or the Lives and Characters of the English Dramatick Poets (1719) 30-31.



A Gentleman, eminent for Learning and Loyalty; brought up a King's Scholar at Eton, under Dr. Olbaston, and chose Student of Christ-church College in Oxon, where he took his Degrees of Batchelor and Master of Arts: In the Year 1643, he was chosen Proctor, and admitted by the University in April, but died the Winter following, lamented by all that knew him. He was an excellent Orator, and an admirable Poet, which Cicero, with all his Pains, could never attain to. He was expert in the Latin, Greek, French, and Italian Languages; was extreme modest in his Behaviour, and beautiful in his Person; was beloved of Majesty; and admir'd not only by his Acquaintance, but Stranger. Ben Johnson call'd him his Son: And Bishop Fell gives him the highest Praise, in saying, He was the utmost that Man could come to. He write four Plays.

I. The Siege, or Love's Convert, a Tragi-Comedy, 1651. Dedciated to King Charles I. The Story of Misander and Leucatia, is founded on that of Pausanias and Cleonice, in Plutarch's Life of Cymon; and other Parts from Boccace's Novels.

II. The Royal Slave; a Tragi-Comedy, perform'd by the Students of Christ-church College, Oxon, 1651. Dr. Busby, late Schoolmaster of Westminster, acted a chief Part, approving himself a second Roscius; for he, with the rest of his Fellow-students, exceeded the Performance of the Players at Hampton-Court. This Play, by the Nobleness of the Stile, and Excellency of the Songs, with the fine Scenes, and admirable Performance, was esteem'd the best that had been represented in the last Age.

III. The Ordinary; a Comedy, 1657. Part of the First Act of this Play, is inserted a a Love Dialogue, in a Book call'd Wit's Interpreter, p. 81.

IV. The Lady Errant, a Tragi-Comedy, 1657. This was esteem'd a good Play.

These Plays are printed with his Poems in 8vo. where most of the Wits of the University appear with Copies of Verses, to shew the great Esteem they had for the Author.