1720 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Churchyard

Giles Jacob, in Historical Account of the Lives and Writings of our most considerable English Poets (1720) 31-32.



A Poet who lived in the beginning of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth. He was born in the Town of Shrewsbury, and Descended from Wealthy Parents. He was equally addicted to Arts and Arms, having served under that Renown'd Captain Sir William Drury, in Scotland, and several other Commanders beyond Sea, as appears by his own Lines in his Tragical Piece, call'd the Unhappy Man's Life.

Full Thirty Years, both Court and Wars I tryde,
And still I sought acquaintance with the best,
And serv'd the State, and did such hap abide
As might befall, and Fortune sent the rest.

But it seems he got little by the Camp, or the Court, as he Declares afterwards,

For tho' I did my Credit still increase
I got no Wealth by Wars, ne yet by Peace.

He not only lived, but died Poor, (Ann. 1570.) the Common Fate of a Poetical Genius. His Works were esteemed well done for that Age, they are as follow,

I. The Siege of Leith.
II. A Farewel to the World.
III. A feigned Fancy of the Spider and the Gout.
IV. A Doleful Discourse of a Lady, and a Knight.
V. The In-rode into Scotland. By Sir William Drury.
VI. Sir SIMON BURLEIGH'S Tragedy.
VII. A Tragical Discourse of the Unhappy Man's Life.
VIII. A Discourse of Vertue.
IX. CHURCHYARD'S Dream.
X. A Tale of a Fryar, and a Shoemaker's Wife.
XI. The Siege of Edinborough Castle.
XII. Queen ELIZABETH'S Reception into Bristol.

These twelve Pieces were called Churchyard's Chips; and Dedicated to Sir Christopher Hatton. He also writ the Falls of Jane Shore, and Cardinal Wolsey. In Camden's Remains. He has this Epitaph,

Come Alecto, lend my thy Torch,
To find a Churchyard in a Church-Porch;
Poverty and Poetry his Tomb doth inclose,
Wherefore good Neighbours be merry in Prose.