1825 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Francis Kynaston

Anonymous, in Retrospective Review 12 (1825) 108.



Sir Francis Kinaston, the author of the translation before us, figures in Anthony Wood's compilation as one of the minor worthies at Oxford. Having studied at that university, and afterwards at Cambridge, he went to court, where, "being esteemed a man of parts, he was knighted in 1618, and afterwards made esquire of the body to Charles I." He was the author, or at least the chief promoter, of an abortive project for a college in London, under the name of Musaeum Minervae, for the education of the gentry and nobility in the liberal arts, of which he was also appointed the first president. He appears, indeed, to have held a high reputation with his contemporaries for scholarship and various accomplishments, though, according to the chronicle, he was "more addicted to the superficial parts of learning, poetry and oratory, wherein he excelled, than learning and philosophy." One other fact Anthony records concerning him, which we leave to the judgment of our brethren of the philosophical journals. "This is the person who, by experience, falsified the alchymist's report, that a hen, being fed for certain days with gold, beginning when Sol was in Leo, should be conveyed into gold, and should lay golden eggs; but indeed became very fat." Besides the present work [Amorum Troili et Cresidae], he wrote Leoline and Sydanis, a poetical romance, which Peck commends, and Cynthiades, Sonnets to his Mistress. His death happened between 1640 and 50. If the above account be rather meagre, it is at least proportioned to the importance of the subject.