1844 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Aubrey

Robert Chambers, in Cyclopaedia of English Literature (1844; 1850) 1:527.



JOHN AUBREY (1626-1700) studied at Oxford, and, while there, aided in the collection of materials for Dugdale's Monasticon Anglicanum; at a later period, he furnished valuable assistance to Anthony Wood. His only published work is a collection of popular superstitions relative to dreams, portents, ghosts, witchcraft, &c., under the title of Miscellanies. His manuscripts, of which many are preserved in the Ashmolean museum and the library of the Royal Society, prove his researches to have been very extensive, and have furnished much useful information to later antiquaries. Aubrey has been too harshly censured by Gifford as a credulous fool; yet it must be admitted that his power of discriminating truth from falsehood was by no means remarkable. Three volumes, published in 1813, under the title of Letters written by Eminent Persons in the Seventeenth end Eighteenth Centuries, &c. with Lives of Eminent Men, are occupied principally by very curious literary anecdotes, which Aubrey communicated to Anthony Wood.