1858 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Joseph Beaumont

Samuel Austin Allibone, in Critical Dictionary of English Literature (1858-71; 1882) 1:151.



A descendant of the ancient family of the name in Leicestershire, was entered at Peterhouse, Cambridge, at the age of 16. He was elected Fellow and tutor, but was ejected in 1643. In 1663 he became master of his college. He attacked Dr. Henry More's work, The Mystery of Godliness, pub. in 1665, and for his zeal received the thanks of the university, which elected him Professor of Divinity. His Poems in English and Latin were pub. in 1749, 4to, with an Appendix containing comments on the Epistle to the Colossians. "His Latin Poems, although perhaps superior in style, are yet below the purity of the Augustan age." His principal work was Psyche, or Love's Mystery, in 24 cantos, displaying the Intercourse between Christ and the Soul. This was begun in April 1647, finished before the end of March 1648, and publ. in the same year, folio. This poem was once very popular, but has been long neglected. Pope is reported to have said of it, "There are in it a great many flowers well worth gathering, and a man who has the art of stealing wisely will find his account in reading it." "The number of lines it contains is 38,922, being considerably longer than the Faerie Queene, nearly four times the length of Paradise Lost, or Henry More's Poem, five or six times as long as the Excursion, and reducing the versified novels of modern times to utter insignificance."