A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Barnfield, Richard

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Barnfield, Richard (1574-1627). -- Poet, e.s. of Richard B., gentleman, was b. at Norbury, Shropshire, and ed. at Oxford. In 1594 he pub. The Affectionate Shepherd, a collection of variations in graceful verse of the 2nd Eclogue of Virgil. His next work was Cynthia, with certain Sonnets and the Legend of Cassandra in 1595; and in 1598 there appeared a third vol., The Encomion of Lady Pecunia, etc., in which are two songs ("If music and sweet poetrie agree," and "As it fell upon a day") also included in The Passionate Pilgrim, an unauthorised collection, and which were long attributed to Shakespeare. From this time, 1599, B. produced nothing else, and seems to have retired to the life of a country gentleman at Stone in Staffordshire, in the church of which he was buried in 1627. He was for long neglected; but his poetry is clear, sweet, and musical. His gift indeed is sufficiently attested by work of his having passed for that of Shakespeare.