1842 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir William Davenant

C. H. Timperley, in Encyclopaedia of Literary and Typographical Anecdote (1842) 2:546.



1668, April 7. Died, Sir WILLIAM DAVENANT, poet laureat, and author of Gondibert, a heroic poem, which he finished while a prisoner in Carisbrooke castle, Isle of Wight, having been taken prisoner while fighting in the royal army, and narrowly escaped with his life. During the interregnum, Davenant was still considered as the laureat by his own party. After his death, the office of poet laureat, with that of royal historiographer, was conferred upon Dryden, a salary of 200 being appointed, in addition to the butt of wine, for the united offices. The patent bore a retrospect of the term after Davenant's demise, and is declared to be to "John Dryden, master of arts, in consideration of his many acceptable services theretofore done to his present majesty [Charles II.], and from an observation of his learning and eminent abilities, and his great skill and elegant style, both in verse and prose." He was born at Oxford, March 3, 1606, and is supposed, (though erroneously,) to have been a son of Shakspeare; his father was a vintner, and sir William was knighted for his loyalty and attachment to the house of Stuart.