Samuel Daniel

(1562—1619) poet and historian

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became tutor of William Herbert, third earl of Pembroke, and later to Lady Anne Clifford, daughter of the countess of Cumberland. In 1592 he published Delia, a collection of sonnets inspired by Tasso and Desportes, to which was appended the ‘Complaint of Rosamund’. Spenser mentioned him by name in Colin Clouts Come Home Againe.

Daniel made the transition to tragedy with Cleopatra (1594), a Senecan tragedy; ‘Musophilus: Containing a generall defence of learning’ appeared in 1599. In 1603 he published his verse ‘Epistles’ and A Defence of Ryme, the last being a reply to T. Campion's Observations in the Art of English Poesie. His career as a court poet developed with his masques and plays. He was licenser for the Children of the Queen's Revels from 1604 to 1605. His tragedy Philotas, performed in 1604, caused a row for its close and sympathetic allusion to the rebellion of the earl of Essex in 1600 and the play was suppressed. Daniel affixed an ‘Apology’ when the play was published in 1605. His weightiest work was his Civil Wars (1595–1609). Jonson called Daniel ‘a good honest Man,…but no poet’; other contemporaries esteemed him, such as W. Browne who called him ‘Well‐languag'd Danyel’. In later times his greatest admirers have been in the Romantic period including Lamb, Wordsworth, and Coleridge.

Subjects: Literature.

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