1859 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Cartwright

David Masson, in Life of John Milton (1859-94; 1965) 1:508-09.



Oxford had a young poet more famous than either Cleveland or Randolph, — William Cartwright of Christ Church, the son of a Gloucestershire innkeeper. In 1632 Cartwright had just taken his first degree. It was not till after 1635, when he took orders, that his great fame began. From that date to his death in 1643, at the age of thirty-two, no terms were to be too strong to express the admiration of him. He was "the most florid and seraphical preacher in the University" and "the most noted poet, orator, and philosopher of his time." There is nothing in his remaining writings to account for these hyperbolical praises. "My son Cartwright," said Ben Jonson, "writes like a man"; and the complement implies an acquaintance between him and Ben, begun as early as 1632, or not much later.