1842 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edmund Waller

C. H. Timperley, in Encyclopaedia of Literary and Typographical Anecdote (1842) 2:570.



1687, Oct. 21. Died. EDMUND WALLER, a poet of some celebrity, whose writings partake of the gay and conceited manner of Charles I. and chiefly consist in complimentary verses, of an amatory character, many of which are dedicated to a lady whom he addressed under the name of Sacharissa. In his latter years, Waller wrote in a more formal manner which had by that time been introduced. He was born at Colshill, in Buckinghamshire, March 3, 1605, and was educated at Cambridge. At the age of eighteen he became a member of parliament, and in 1643, was sent to the tower on the charge of conspiring to deliver the city to the king. Two persons were executed for the plot, and Waller was condemned to be hanged, but saved himself by an abject submission, and a liberal distribution of money. After a year's imprisonment he went into exile; but returned by favour of Cromwell, on whom he wrote an elegant panegyric. He also wrote another on the death of the protector, and afterwards celebrated the restoration, and praised Charles II. He was elected to serve in parliament, where, by his eloquence and wit, he was the delight of the house. He endeavoured to procure the provostship of Eton, but being refused by the earl of Clarendon, he joined in the persecution of that great man.