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Sir Henry Wotton


Born, at Boughton Malherbe, Kent, 30 March 1568. Early education at Winchester College. Matric. New College, Oxford, 5 June 1584. Removed to Queen's College; B. A., 8 June 1588. Travelled on Continent, 1588-95. Student of Middle Temple, 1595. Sec. to Earl of Essex, 1595-1601. In Italy, 1601-03. Knighted, 1603. M. P. for Appleby, 1614; for Sandwich, 1625. Served on various embassies abroad. Provost of Eton, 1624-39. Died, at Eton, Dec. 1639. Buried there. Works: "The Elements of Architecture," 1604; "Epistola ad Marcum Velserum Duumvirum," 1612; "Epistola de Caspare Scioppio," 1613; "Ad Regeme Scotia reducem Plausus," 1633. Posthumous: "Parallel between Robert, late Earl of Essex, and George, late Duke of Buckingham," 1641; "Short View of the Life and Death of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham," 1642; "A Panegyrick of King Charles," 1649; "Reliquiæ Wottonianæ," ed. by Izaak Walton, 1651; "The State of Christendom," 1657; "Letters to Sir Edmund Baker," 1661; "Letters to the Lord Zouch," 1685. Collected Works: "Poems," ed. by A. Dyce, 1843.-SHARP, R. FARQUHARSON, 1897, A Dictionary of English Authors, p. 305.



So well he understood the most and best
Of tongues that Babel sent into the West,
Spoke them so truly, that he had (you'd

Not only liv'd, but been born ev'ry where.
Justly each nation's speech to him was known,
Who for the world was made, not us alone.
Nor ought the language of that man be less,
Who in his breast had all things to express.
We say that learning's endless, and blame


For not allowing life a longer date.

He did the utmost bounds of Knowledge find,
He found them not so large as was his mind.
But, like the brave Pellæan youth, did moan,
Because that Art had no more worlds than

And when he saw that he through all had

He dy'd, lest he should idle grow at last. -COWLEY, ABRAHAM, 1639, On the Death of Sir Henry Wotton.

And thus the circle of Sir Henry Wotton's life that circle which began at Bocton, and in the circumference thereof did first touch at Winchester School, then at Oxford, and after upon so many remarkable parts and passages in Christendom-that circle of his Life was by Death thus closed up and completed, in the seventy and second year of his age, at Eton College; where, according to his Will, he now lies buried, with his motto on a plain Grave-stone over him: dying worthy of his name and family, worthy of the love and favour of so many Princes, and persons of eminent wisdom and learning, worthy of the trust committed unto him, for the service of his Prince and Country. WALTON, ISAAC, 1651, The Life of Sir Henry Wotton.

On the 15 July 1619, he returned from his Embassy at Venice with a vain hope

of obtaining the office of Secretary of State, but missing his design, I cannot yet tell to the contrary but that he was sent to Venice again. Sure 'tis, that about 1623 he had the Provostship of Eaton Coll. confer'd upon him, which he kept to his dying day, being all the reward he had for the great services he had done the Crown of England.-WOOD, ANTHONY, 1691-1721, Athena Oxonienses, vol. I, f. 623.

Sir Henry Wotton had the happiness to possess one of those rare characters in which it is difficult to say whether the useful or the agreeable was most to be observed. He was equally remarkable for a keen and sober sagacity, a brilliant wit, and a lively and jocose humour. He was not only a profound scholar, but well skilled also in all those elegant and delicate arts a just judgment in which has acquired since his time the appellation of taste. The severity of his studies, and the abstract forms of an academical life, had not prevented him from being one of the best bred men in England.

He lived beloved, respected, and admired; and descended into the grave with a character wholly unimpeached, and without leaving a single enemy.-LODGE, EDMUND, 1821-34, Portraits of Illustrious Personages of Great Britain, vol. IV, p. 27.

It appears to have been the peculiar privilege of sir Henry Wotton, and may be regarded by posterity as the most conclusive evidence of his merits, to have secured to himself through life, and amid all the vicissitudes of his fortune, the affection, the esteem and the cooperation of the master-spirits of the age in which he flourished.-AIKIN, LUCY, 1822, Memoirs of the Court of King James the First, vol. I.

Eton has never seen within her walls a more accomplished gentleman in the best sense of the word, or a more judicious ruler, than she received in 1625, when Sir Henry Wotton became her Provost. CREASY, SIR EDWARD, 1850-75, Memoirs of Eminent Etonians, p. 100.

In the afternoons he had always a hospitable table, at which there was a perpetual succession of guests to keep up nice philosophic talk; and on these occasions two or three of the most hopeful pupils of the College were always present. His wit and his great store of reminiscences

made his own conversation delightful. He had seen or known intimately not only Essex, Raleigh, and the other Elizabethan statesmen, but also most of the great foreigners of the age Beza, Casaubon, Guarini, Sarpi, Arminius, Kepler, and princes and artists without number. Bacon had not disdained to pick up anecdotes from his cousin Wotton, and even to register his apothegms; and, among Wotton's most interesting letters, is one to Bacon, thanking him for a gift of three copies of his "Organum," and promising to send one of them to Kepler. When any one within the circle of his acquaintance was going abroad, nothing pleased him better than to furnish the necessary advices and letters of introduction. One of his amusements in summer was angling; and Walton speaks of his delight when the month of May came and he could go out with his rod. . . . All in all, he deserved his reputation as one of the most accomplished and benevolent old gentlemen of his time; and it is pleasant yet to look at his portrait, representing him seated in his furred and embroidered gown, as Provost of Eton, leaning against a table, his head resting on his left hand, and his wise, kind face looking straight towards you, as if listening so courteously. MASSON, DAVID, 1858, The Life of John Milton, vol. 1, ch. vi.

He is the type of the successful allround man, trying his hand at the education of boys. That one of the most distinguished diplomatists in his latter days. should undertake the control of a school and the study of pedagogics, is an experiment little likely in our days or in the future to be repeated. If, therefore, the attempt, from the side of the accomplished gentleman, to become a schoolmaster has become impossible from the specialisation which now characterizes or is destined apparently to characterize teaching, it only remains for the schoolmasters to know their own work thoroughly, and to endeavour to approach Sir Henry Wotton by their grace of bearing, their culture, not only of learning, but of arts, of actions, of conversation, and of piety. He is accurately described as Sir Henry Wotton, Gentleman and Schoolmaster. Schoolmasters have before them still the desirability of the same combination. The circumstances of the age may demand the

reversal of the order. Now it is schoolmaster and gentleman. The combination is essential for high work, and no example. would more pointedly illustrate this than that of Sir Henry Wotton.-WATSON, FOSTER, 1892, Sir Henry Wotton: Gentleman and Schoolmaster, The Gentleman's Magazine, vol. 272, p. 289.


Sir Edward (Henry) Wotton's verses of a happie lyfe, he hath by heart.-DRUMMOND, WILLIAM, 1619, Notes on Ben Jonson's Conversation.

Though he was justly esteemed an elegant scholar, and an able critic, his works abound with exotic idioms; nor has he escaped censure for his pedantry. But it should be considered that he wrote in an age, when, to write like a pedant, was to write like a gentleman; or, to speak more properly, like a king.-GRANGER, JAMES, 1769-1824, Biographical History of England, vol. III, p. 157.

The poetry of Wotton, though chiefly written for the amusement of his leisure, and through the excitement of casual circumstances, possesses the invaluable attractions of energy, simplicity, and the most touching morality; it comes warm from the heart, and whether employed on an amatory or didactic subject, makes its appropriate impression with an air of sincerity which never fails to delight. DRAKE, NATHAN, 1817, Shakspeare and his Times, vol. 1, p. 672.

There is a vein of quiet self-respect running through this piece of profound and yet stately homage, this distant and restrained adulation of a royal lady.* It is in no way unworthy of the man who, in his last years of peaceful retirement at his beautiful manor of Bocton, wrote that admirable hymn, happily never yet suffered to drop out of our memories and hymnals:

"How happy is he born or taught,

Who serveth not another's will," etc. ---PRESTON, HARRIET W., 1879, The Latest Songs of Chivalry, Atlantic Monthly, vol. 43, p. 18.

Of poetry he wrote but little; but of that little two pieces at least have obtained a permanent place in English literature, his "Character of a Happy Life, written probably circ. 1614; and the lines, *Queen of Bohemia.

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"On his mistress the Queen of Bohemia," circ. 1620. Of the apophthegm "the style is of the man," it would be difficult to find better illustrations. As in a mirror, they reflect the high refined nature of one who, living in the world, and a master of its ways and courtesies, was yet never of it was never a worldling.-HALES, JOHN W., 1880, English Poets, ed. Ward, vol. II, p. 108.

The spirit of "The State of Christendom" written shortly before the death of Queen Elizabeth, and the largest and most important of Wotton's extant prose writings, is that of a self-confident aggressiveness without arrièrepensèes.— WARD, ADOLPHUS WILLIAM, 1893, English Prose, ed. Craik, vol. II, p. 76.

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The poem, ["Elizabeth of Bohemia, "] first appeared (with music), in 1624, in Michael Este's "Sixt Set of Bookes," etc.: was afterwards printed in "Wit's Recreations," 1640, in "Wit's Interpreter, 1671, and in "Songs and Fancies to Severall Musicall parts, both apt for Voices and Viols," Aberdeen, 1682. It also found its way, with variations, among Montrose's "Poems;” and Robert Chambers (ignorant of Wotton's claim to the authorship) printed it in his "Scottish Songs" as "written by Darnley in praise of the beauty of Queen Mary before their marriage." It has been a favourite mark for the second-rate imitator; and "additional verses" are common.

"How happy is he born and taught. These lines were printed by Percy from the "Reliquiæ Wottonianæ:" believed to have been first printed in 1614. Ben Jonson admired and had them by heart, and in 1619 quoted them to Drummond as Wotton's. They are also said to be almost identical with a German poem of the same age. . . . Wotton may have seen the original in one of his several embassies to Germany on behalf of Elizabeth of Bohemia. QUILLER-COUCH, A. T., 1894, The Golden Pomp, pp. 342, 358, notes.

Wotton was an amiable dilettante or

literary amateur, with a growing inclination to idleness in his later years. Wotton's literary occupations at Eton led to little practical result. His history of England did not progress beyond the accumulation of a few notes on the characters of William I and Henry VI. He contemplated a life of Martin Luther,

but never began it, and he promised, shortly after Donne's death in 1631, to write a life of the dean as introduction to "Eighty Sermons" by Donne. The publication was delayed until Wotton's life should be ready. Wotton applied to Izaak Walton, whose acquaintance he had made through Donne, to collect materials, and Walton says that he "did but prepare

them in a readiness to be augmented, and rectified by Wotton's powerful pen" (1640), but Wotton never worked upon Walton's draft, and Walton's biography of Donne alone survives. Wotton's poems are the most valuable of his literary remains. LEE, SIDNEY, 1900, Dictionary of National Biography, vol. LXIII, pp. 54, 56.

Thomas Carew


A poet of the reign of Charles I., descended from an old family in Gloucestershire, was born 1589. Having been educated at Oxford, he traveled abroad for some time, and on his return was received at court, and patronized by Charles I. Carew deserves mention chiefly as the precursor and representative of what may be called the courtier and conventional school of poetry, whose chief characteristic was scholarly ease and elegance, with a spice of indelicacy, and even indecency. Carew's poems, mostly lyrical, and treating of trifling subjects, are among the best of their kind, and exhibit much fancy and tenderness. He died 1639. Several editions of his poems, which first appeared in 1640, have been published.-PECK, HARRY THURSTON, ed., 1898, The International Cyclopædia, vol. III, p. 451.


His glory was, that after fifty years of his life, spent with less severity or exactness than it ought to have been, he died with the greatest manifestations of Christianity, that his best friends could desire. -CLARENDON, LORD (EDWARD HYDE), 1674? Life, p. 9.

Then was told this by Mr. Anthony Faringdon, and have heard it discourst by others, that Mr. Thomas Cary, a poet of note, and a great libertine in his life and talke, and one that had in his youth bein acquainted with Mr. Ha., sent for Mr. Hales to come to him in a dangerous fit of sickness, and desired his advice and absolution, which Mr. Hales, upon a promise of amendment, gave him, (this was I think in the country). But Mr. Cary came to London, fell to his old company, and into a more visible scandalous life, and especially in his discourse, and be (being?) taken very sick, that which proved his last, and being much trowbled in mind, procured Mr. Ha. to come to him in this his sickness and agony of minde, desyring earnestly, after a confession of many of his sins, to have his prayers and his absolution. Mr. Ha. told him he shoold have his prayers, but woold by noe meanes give him then either the sacrament or absolution.-WALTON, ISAAC, 1683? MSS. Collections for the Life of Hales, Fulman MSS., Corpus Christi

College, Oxford; Notes and Queries, 2d Series, vol. 6, p. 12.

He became reckon'd among the chiefest of his time for delicacy of wit and poetic fancy. About which time being taken into the Royal Court for his most admirable ingenuity, was made Gentleman of the Privy Chamber and Sewer in Ordinary to K. Ch. I. who always esteemed him to the last one of the most celebrated wits in his Court, and therefore by him as highly valued, so afterwards grieved at his untimely death. He was much respected, if not ador'd by the poets of his time, especially by Ben Johnson.-WOOD, ANTHONY, 1691-1721, Athena Oxonienses, vol. 1, f. 630.

As an amatory poet, he is far superior to Waller: he had equal smoothness and fancy, and much more variety, tenderness, and earnestness; if his love was less ambitiously, and even less honourably placed, it was, at least, more deep seated, and far more fervent. The real name of the lady he has celebrated under the poetical appellation of Celia, is not known-it is only certain that she was no "fabled fair," -and that his love was repaid with falsehood.-JAMESON, ANNA BROWNELL, 1829, The Loves of the Poets, vol. II, p. 4.

The writings of Carew abound with conceits, but, unlike the conceits of some of his less noted contemporaries, they

generally reconcile themselves to us by good taste in the treatment and delicacy of execution. We look back with changed feelings and different eyes upon these things; time has wrought a powerful alteration in the position before the world of old Sir Matthew Carew, the respectable and ill-fated Master in Chancery: his gallant son Sir Matthew, who was doubtless viewed as the hope and mainstay of the family and the scapegrace youth to whom no one would have anything to say, and of whom his relatives despaired. For while the lives and fortunes of the high judicial functionary and the brave young knightbanneret are forgotten, while the persons of rank, fashion and influence with whom they mixed have passed, for the most part, completely away, and while even Sir Dudley Carleton is familiar only to a few antiquaries, the lustre which one man of genius has shed on the name of Carew remains unfaded, and can never decline.HAZLITT, W. CAREW, 1870, ed., The Poems of Thomas Carew, p. xlviii.

There is an uncertainty about the time of Carew's death. It looks as if his life had been shortened by his irregular habits. When he was stricken down by mortal sickness, he sent for Hales of Eton to administer to him the consolations of religion. Hales seems to have thought very meanly of him, and made no secret of his low opinion. Carew has left some wretched attempts at versifying a few of the Psalms; these Mr. Hazlitt has printed. They have not a single merit. Carew probably died in 1639, but no entry of his burial has been found. The illness that led him to a maudlin kind of repentance seems to have come upon him when he was in the country. If he recovered enough from it to return to London, he probably died at his house in King Street, St. James's.--JESSOPP, AUGUSTUS, 1887, Dictionary of National Biography, vol. IX, p. 63.


Poems. By Thomas Carew | Esquire. One of the Gentlemen of the Privie| Chamber, and Sewer in Ordinary to His Majesty. London, | Printed by I. D. for Thomas Walkley, and are to be sold at the signe of the flying Horse, betweene Brittains | Burse, and YorkHouse. | 1640.-TITLE PAGE OF FIRST EDITION.

Tom Carew was next, but he had a fault That would not well stand with a laureat; His muse was hide-bound, and the issue of 's brain

Was seldom brought forth but with trouble
and pain.

All that were present there did agree,
A laureate muse should be easy and free,
Yet sure 'twas not that, but 'twas thought
that, his grace

Considered, he was well he had a cup-bearer's place.

-SUCKLING, SIR JOHN, 1637, A Sessions of the Poets.

He was a person of a pleasant and facetious wit, and made many poems, especially in the amorous way, which, for the sharpness of the fancy, and the elegancy of the language in which that fancy was spread, were at least equal, if not superior to any of that time.-CLARENDON, LORD (EDWARD HYDE), 1674? Life, p. 9.

By the

One of the famed poets of his time for the charming sweetness of his lyric odes and amorous sonnets. . strength of his curious fancy hath written. many things which still maintain their fame amidst the curious of the present age.-WOOD, ANTHONY, 1691-1721, Athena Oxonienses, vol. 1, f. 630.

This elegant and almost forgotten writer, whose poems have been deservedly revived. PERCY, THOMAS, 1765, Reliques of Ancient English Poetry.

The consummate elegance of this gentleman entitles him to very considerable attention. Sprightly, polished, and perspicuous, every part of his works displays the man of sense, gallantry and breeding. Indeed, many of his productions have a certain happy finish, and betray a dexterity both of thought and expression much superior to any thing of his contemporaries, and (on similar subjects) rarely surpassed by his successors. Carew has the ease without the pedantry of Waller, and perhaps less conceit. He reminds us of the best manner of Lord Lyttelton. Waller is too exclusively considered as the first man who brought versification to any thing like its present standard. Carew's pretensions to the same merit are seldom sufficiently either considered or allowed. Love had long before softened us into civility, yet it was of a formal, ostentatious and romantic cast; and, with a very few exceptions, its effects on composition


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