Sunday, March 3, 2013

British Poet Edmund Waller was born - 1606

British poet Edmund Waller was born on March 3, 1606 in Buckinghamshire, England. He was the eldest son of a wealthy landowner. Waller was educated at Eton and Kings College, Cambridge. He left Kings College without gaining a degree and instead went to Lincoln's Inn in order to study law. He was elected to parliament at the early age of sixteen, and wrote his first verse at the age of nineteen. In his political career he gained a reputation for brilliance as an orator. Although he was committed to remaining politically moderate in the troubled 1640's, by 1643 he had become a convinced Royalist and was involved in a plot to seize and secure London for Charles I. The plot was uncovered and despite an eloquent appeal in his own defense, Waller was fined, imprisoned and finally exiled from Britain. He was eventually allowed back into the country in 1652 and returned to parliament. Much of Waller's verse consisted of praise for Sacharissa, a name he used for Lady Dorothy Sidney whom he courted unsuccessfully in the 1630's. His best known poem was Go Lovely Rose, which was praised for its sweetness. Despite enjoying great fame and esteem during his lifetime, Waller's reputation declined with criticisms of blandness. His work did influence the literature of the Eighteenth Century, with his most remembered achievement being the perfection of the 'heroic couplet'. In 1661 he had published his poem, St James' Park; in 1664 he had collected his poetical works; in 1666 appeared his Instructions to a Painter; and in 1685 his Divine Poems. The final collection of his works is dated 1686, but there were further posthumous additions made in 1690. He died on October 21, 1687, and was buried in the churchyard of St Mary and All Saints Church, Beaconsfield.
Michael Thomas Barry is the author of Great Britain’s Literary Legends. The book can be purchased from Amazon through the following links: 

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