THOMAS FLATMAN, an English poet, was born in Aldersgate-street, London, about 1633; and educated at Winchester school. He went from thence to New college, in Oxford; but leaving the university without a degree, he removed to the Inner Temple, where in due time he became a barrister. It does not appear that he ever followed the profession of the law; but, having a turn for the fine arts, he indulged his inclination, and made some proficiency, both as a poet and a painter. He speaks of himself as a painter, in a poem called "The Review," and it appears from thence, that he drew in miniature. The third edition of his poems, with additions and amendments, was published by himself, with his portrait before them, in 1682, and dedicated to the duke of Ormond. The first poem in this collection is, "On the Death of the right honourable Thomas earl of Ossory," and had been published separately the year before. Soon after, it was read by the duke of Ormond his father, who was so extremely pleased with it, that he sent Flatman a mourning ring, with a diamond in it worth £100. He published also in 1685, two Pindaric odes; one on the death of prince Rupert, the other on the death of Charles II.
In 1660, came out, under the letters T. F. a collection of poems, entitled "Virtus Rediviva; a Panegyric on the late king Charles the First, of ever blessed memory," &c. but these not being reprinted in any edition of his "Poems," Wood will not affirm them to be Flatman's. In 1661, was published a piece in prose, entitled "Don Juan Lamberto, or a Comical History of the late Times," with a wooden cut before it, containing the pictures of giant Desborough with a great club in his right hand, and of Lambert, both leading under the arms the meek knight Richard Cromwell; and this being very successful, a second part was published the same year, with the giant Husonio before it, and printed with the second edition of the first. This satirical work has to it the disguised name of Montelion, knight of the oracle; but Wood says, the acquaintance and contemporaries of Flatman always averred him to be the author of it. Montelion's Almanack came out in 1660, 1661, 1662. The Montelions of the two last years are supposed to be Flatman's, that of the first was written by Mr. John Philips. It is remarkable, that Flatman, in his younger days had a dislike to marriage, and made a song describing the incumbrances of it, with this beginning:
Like a dog with a bottle tied close to his tail,
Like a tory in a bog, or a thief in a jail, &c.
But being afterwards, according to Wood, "smitten with a fair virgin, and more with her fortune, he espoused her in 1672; upon which," says the same author, "his ingenious comrades did serenade him that night with the said song." He died at his house in Fleet-street, London, in 1688; his father, a clerk in chancery, being then alive, and in his eightieth year. Although of very little value as a poet, he succeeded better as a painter, and as Granger says, one of his heads is worth a ream of his Pindarics.