1738 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Walter Raleigh

Elizabeth Cooper, in The Muses Library (1738) 268.



A Gentleman of so universal a Capacity, that 'twas said He seem'd to be born only for what be undertook: For which Reason, as he has oblig'd the World with some Writings in Verse 'tis but a just Acknowledgment of his Merits to admit him among the Number of the Poets; yet not so much to honour Him by that Distinction, as them by introducing so great, and noble a Fellow-Student; Nor is it the Poets alone, that put in for this Honour, but Soldiers both by Land, and Sea, Statesmen, Orators, Historians, Philosophers, and almost all the Professors of every other Science. — He was born at East Budeleigh in Devonshire, of an eminent Family, became a Commoner of Oriel College in Oxford, was afterwards enter'd a Student in the Middle-Temple. — Then serv'd as a Volunteer in the Wars, received a Captain's Commission, under Arthur Lord Grey, Deputy of Ireland and, after the greatest Variety of Fortune, that could befall one of the most active Geniuses in the World, lost his Head in Old Palace-Yard, Westminster, An. 1618 — I have given this short Epitome, because 'tis impossible to insert half the Incidents of so extraordinary a Life, within the narrow Limits that I am confin'd to: And the Reader may find them collected with the greatest Exactness, in a thin Folio, lately publish'd by the ingenious and accurate Mr. Oldys. — Sir Walter was a great Friend, and Patron of the divine Spencer, as is manifest by their mutual Compliments to each other: And his Services to that great, unfortunate Genius, are not the least Proof, that his Fame did not exceed his Virtue.