1819 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Cartwright

Thomas Campbell, in Specimens of the British Poets (1819; 1845) 183.



WILLIAM CARTWRIGHT was the son of an inn-keeper at Cirencester, who had been reduced to that situation by spending a good estate. He was a king's scholar at Westminster, and took orders at Oxford, where he became, says Wood, "a most florid and seraphic preacher." Bishop Duppa, his intimate friend, appointed him succentor of the church of Salisbury in 1642. In the same year he was one of the council of war, or delegacy, appointed by the University of Oxford, for providing troops by the king to protect, or as the opposite party alleged, to overawe the universities. His zeal in this service occasioned his being imprisoned by the parliamentary forces on their arrival; but he was speedily released on bail. Early in the year 1643 he was appointed junior proctor of his university, and also reader in metaphysics. The latter office we may well suppose him to have filled with ability, as, according to Lloyd's account, he studied at the rate of sixteen hours a day: but he survived his appointment to it for a very short time, being carried off by a malignant fever, called the camp-disease, which was then epidemical at Oxford. Cartwright died in his thirty-second year; but he lived long enough to earn the distinguishing praise of Ben Jonson, who used to say of him, "My son, Cartwright, writes all like a man."