1769 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Flatman

James Granger, in Biographical History of England (1769; 1824) 5:256.



Thomas Flatman was one of the unsuccessful imitators of Pindar, or rather of Cowley, in a species of poetry which pleased more from its novelty, than its excellence, in that celebrated writer. He composed Pindaric odes on the death of the Duke of Albermarle, the Earl of Ossory, Prince Rupert, and Charles II. The Duke of Ormond was so pleased with that on the death of the Earl of Ossory, his son, that he sent the author a ring, with a diamond in it, worth 100. It is no wonder that the heart of a father, softened by the death of such a son, felt something in reading this composition which an indifferent person cannot even imagine; and mistook the natural working of his own breast, for the art of the poet. Flatman really excelled as an artist: a man must want ears for harmony, that can admire his poetry, and even want eyes that can cease to admire his painting. It does our author some honour, that Mr. Pope has very closely copied several of his verses, in his ode of "The dying Christian to his Soul."