Edmund Waller

(1606—1687) poet and politician

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entered Parliament early and was at first an active member of the opposition. Later he became a Royalist, and in 1643 was leader in a plot to seize London for Charles I. For this he was imprisoned, fined, and banished. He made his peace with Cromwell in 1651, returned to England, and was restored to favour at the Restoration. After the death of his first wife he unsuccessfully courted Lady Dorothy Sidney, the ‘Sacharissa’ of his poems. Waller was a precocious poet; he wrote, probably in 1625, the complimentary piece His Majesty's Escape at St Andere in heroic couplets, one of the first examples of the form. His verse is of a polished simplicity; Dryden described him as ‘the father of our English numbers’, linking his name with Denham's as poets who brought in the Augustan age. His early poems include ‘On a Girdle’ and ‘Go, lovely rose’; his later Instructions to a Painter (1666) and ‘Of the Last Verses in the Book’. His Poems first appeared in 1645, Divine Poems in 1685.

Subjects: Literature.

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