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Cowley

published, college, entitled and poems

COWLEY, Abraham, English poet: b. London 1618; d. Chertsey, Surrey, 28 July 1667. He so early imbibed a taste for poetry that in 1633, while yet at school, he published a collec tion of verses, entitled 'Poetical Blossoms.' In 1637 he was elected a scholar of Trinity College, Cambridge, where he ,soon obtained great literary distinction, and published in 1638 a pastoral comedy, entitled 'Love's Riddle,' and another in Latin, called 'Naufragium Joculare,' acted before the university by the members of Trinity College. He was ejected from Cambridge as a Royalist and removed to Saint John's College, Oxford, where he published a satirical poem entitled the 'Puritan and the Papist.' He engaged actively in the royal cause, and when the queen was obliged to quit England Cowley accompanied her. In 1656 he returned to England, where he now published an edition of his poems, containing 'Mis cellanies,' The Mistress,' 'Pindarique Odes,' and the never-finished epic, 'Davideis) (on the history of King David). He again visited France, and resumed his functions of agent in the royal cause on the death of Ciomwell. On the Restoration he returned with the other Royalists. By the interest of the Duke of Buckingham and the Earl of Saint Albans he obtained the lease of a farm at Chertsey whither he retired in 1665. In 1660 Cowley

took part in founding the Royal Society; in 1661 he published a 'Proposition for the Advancement of Experimental Philosophy;' and a 'Discourse by Way of Vision Concern ing the Government of Oliver Cromwell,' which is pronounced by Bishop Hurd one of the best of the author's prose works. He published two books of a Latin poem on plants in 1662; he afterward added four more books, and the whole, together with other pieces, was published in 1678 under the title of Toemata Latina.' A poem on the 'Civil War' appeared in 1679; his, 'Select Works,' with preface and notes by Bishop Hurd, were published in 1772-77. Cowley was extremely popular in his day, and his style, both in prose and verse, has been highly com mended by critics; but his poems have failed to maintain their ancient popularity. The wit for which they were once celebrated has become obsolete, and he is now little read; but Charles Lamb speaks highly of him as a poet, and Hazlitt as a prose writer. Good modern editions are 'Complete Works' (ed. Grosart. London 1880-81) ; 'Poems' (ed. A. R Waller, Cambridge 1905) ; 'Essays, Plays, etc.' (Waller, ib. 1906). Consult Johnson, 'Lives of the Poets.'