1834 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Henry Peacham

Robert Aris Willmott, in Lives of Sacred Poets (1834) 347-48.



Henry Peacham, whom Warton calls an elegant and leaned writer, was born about 1576, and became a student of Trinity College, Cambridge, where he shared in the paternal generosity of Nevil, whom he panegynized in the Gentleman's Exercise. He appears to have been patronised by the amiable Princess Elizabeth, on whose marriage he wrote his "Nuptial Hymns," which have been reprinted by Waldron in the Literary Museum. His life was one of sorrow and dependence — at one time, a travelling tutor, at another, the master of a Free School at Windham, in Norfolk, all employment to which he was exceedingly averse. Malone thinks that he took orders, and died in 1650. Sir John Hawkins says, that he subsisted in his old age by writing penny books for children. His Emblems were published in 1612, and a second volume was prepared, but did not pass the press. Besides being a good scholar, he was a clever artist, and amused himself in painting his friends, or imitating each "strange field flower," or "rare seen fly." In the months of June and July, (he says, Drawing and Limning, Lib. I, p. 57,) I was wont at my leisure to walk into the fields, and get all manner of flies, flowers, herbs, &c., which I either put presently into colours, or kept preserved all the year, to imitate at my leisure, in close boxes." Peacham merited a better fortune.