1847 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Joshua Sylvester

Edward Farr, in Select Poetry, chiefly sacred, of the Reign of King James the First (1847) xxxviii.



JOSHUA SYLVESTER was the translator of "The Divine Works of Du Bartas," the folio edition of which first appeared in 1621. He was also the author of some poetical pieces, among which is "Lachrymae Lachrimaron: or the Distillation of Teares shede for the untimely Death of the incomparable Prince Panaretus," which was published about 1614. Sylvester's religious poetry was held in high esteem by Bishop Hall. In alluding in his Epistles to his own metrical versions from the Psalms, he observes, "Mr. J. Sylvester hath shewed me how happily he hath sometimes turned from his Bartas to the sweet singer of Israel." Wood also says that Sylvester was an accomplished scholar. Yet the poetical talents of Sylvester were not sufficient to furnish him with sustenance. Under the pressure of poverty he went to Middleburgh, where he became "Secretary to the Company of Merchants," and there died.