1894 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Davies of Hereford

Edmund Gosse, in The Jacobean Poets (1894) 112.



Scarcely more poetical and not so amusing [as Richard Brathwait's poems] were the voluminous tractates of John Davies (1565-1618?), the writing-master of Hereford. Mr. Saintsbury has generously discovered in him "a certain salt of wit which puts him above the mere pamphleteers." But it requires a very strenuous effort to find savour in Davies, who is not to be confounded with the admirable Elizabethan poet of the Nosce Teipsum. He began with a philosophical Mirum in Modum in 1602, and closed his series of fifteen or sixteen publications with a Wit's Bedlam in 1617. Davies of Hereford deserves recognition of the same sort as may be awarded to Samuel Rowlands, whom in some respects he followed, if he did not imitate. His works are mines for the literary antiquarian, but defy the mere poetical reader.