1860 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Phineas Fletcher

George Gilfillan, in Specimens with Memoirs of the less-known British Poets (1860) 1:315-16.



We have already spoken of Giles Fletcher, the brother of Phineas. Of Phineas we know nothing except that he was born in 1584, educated at Eton and Cambridge, became Rector at Hilgay, in Norfolk, where he remained for twenty-nine years, surviving his brother; that he wrote an account of the founders and learned men of his university; that in 1633, he published The Purple Island; and that in 1650 he died.

His Purple Island (with which we first became acquainted in the writings of James Hervey, author of the Meditations, who was its fervent admirer) is a curious, complex, and highly ingenious allegory, forming an elaborate picture of Man, in his body and soul; and for subtlety and infinite flexibility, both of fancy and verse, deserves great praise, although it cannot, for a moment, be compared with his brother's Christ's Victory and Triumph, either in interest of subject or in splendour of genius.