1738 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Churchyard

Elizabeth Cooper, in The Muses Library (1738) 117-18.



One of the Assistants in the Mirror of Magistrates; and, therefore, rang'd in order of Time, after Mr. Sackville; tho' he was known, as a Writer, some Years before Him. — This Gentleman was born at Shrewsbury, liberally educated, and inherited some Fortune, Real and Personal; but, soon, lavish'd away both in a Court-Attendance, without gaining any other Equivalent, but the Honour of being retained a Domestick in the Family of the Princely Lord Surrey, during which Time, he commenc'd Poet, and, on his Lordship's Death, turn'd Soldier; being in many Engagements, frequently wounded; twice a Prisoner, as often redeemed by the Charity of two noble Ladies; yet still distress'd, and unrewarded. Neither of his Employments affording him a Patron, who knew, or wou'd do Justice to his Merit, and as unfortunate in his Amours as his Circumstances. 'Tis true, he dedicated his Works to Sir Christopher Hatton; but Addresses of that Nature don't always imply a Provision for their Authors. 'Tis conjectur'd that he died about the eleventh Year of Queen Elizabeth, and, according to Mr. Wood, was bury'd near Skelton, in the Chancel of St. Margaret's Church, Westminster. By such of his Writings, as I have had an Opportunity to examine, He appears generally a Man of Sense; and sometimes a Poet, tho' Invention does not seem to be remarkably his Talent. — His Language is tolerably pure, and his Numbers not wholly inharmonious. — The Legend of Jane Shore, here annex'd, I think, has some Merit, and his Stanzas on the Poets, much more; in those the Stile is rich, the Turns elegant, and the Judgment such, as intitles him to a much better Character than former Writers have condescended to allow him.