1910 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir John Beaumont

Charles Mills Gayley, in Francis Beaumont (1910) 60-61.



There is nothing, indeed, in the career of Beaumont's brother, John, as commonly recorded, or in the temper of his poetry to indicate a refusal on his part to disavow the supremacy of Rome in ecclesiastical affairs, or to attend regularly the services of the Protestant Church. His writings speak both loyalty and Protestant Christianity. But it is to be noted that not only many of his kinsmen but his wife, as well, belonged to families affiliated with Roman Catholicism, and that his eulogistic poems addressed to James are all of later years, — after his kinsman, Buckingham, had "drawn him from his silent cell," and "first inclined the annointed head to hear his rural songs, and read his lines;" also that it is only under James's successor that he is honoured by a baronetcy. It is, therefore, not at all impossible that, because of some careless or over-frank utterance of fellow-feeling for his Catholic connections, or of repugnance for the unusually savage measures adopted after the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot, he may have been accused of recusancy, deprived of part of his estate, and driven into the seclusion which he maintained at Grace-Dieu till 1616 or thereabout.