1877 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edmund Gayton

Thomas Corser, in Collectanea Anglo-Poetica 6 (1877) 457-58, 461, 463.



Edmund Gayton, who is said by the same writer to have been born in London, educated at Merchants Taylors' School, and educated from thence to St. John's College, Oxford, in 1625, of which he became Fellow, and appointed Superior Beadle in Arts and Physic, but turned out of office in 1648 by the Parliamentarians, and "lived afterward in London in a sharking condition, and wrote trite things meerly to get bread to sustain him and his wife." He appears to have been in great poverty at this time, and in 1655 was imprisoned in Wood Street Counter for debt, and was afterwards removed to the King's Bench Prison, in which he wrote another of his works. After the Restoration in 1660, he was restored to his office of Beadle in Oxford, which he retained till his death on the 12th of December 1666, aged 57, and was buried in St. Mary's Church there....

Gayton in 1636 acted with others in his own College of St. John's in a Comedy called Loves Hospital, or the Hospital of Lovers, represented before Charles I. and his Queen, when he was entertained by Archbishop Laud at St. John's College, Oxford. He was one of those who, along with Randolph, Cartwright and others, were honoured by being called by Ben Jonson by the title of sons....

Gayton, whatever may have been his merits as a Physician and a Soldier, had certainly little as a Poet, and his verses cannot be said to rise much above doggrel.