Chester, Robert (1566?-1640?) (DNB00)

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CHESTER, ROBERT (1566?–1640?), poet, is conjectured by Dr. Grosart to have been the son of Mr. Edward Chester of Roysdon. If this supposition is correct, the poet was born about the end of June 1566 (Grosart, Introduction to Love's Martyr, p. 8); was knighted in 1603; married Anne (who proved very prolific), daughter of Mr. Henry Capell of Essex; and died on 3 May 1640. In 1601 Chester published a poem of obscure import entitled 'Love's Martyr; or, Rosalin's Complaint, allegorically shadowing the truth of Love in the constant Fate of the Phoenix and Turtle' &c. 4to. The poem is dedicated 'to the honourable and (of me before all other) honoured knight Sir John Salisburie.' Following the dedication are two copies of verses; one, signed 'R. Chester,' is entitled 'The Authour's request to the Phoenix,' and the other, signed 'R. Ch.,' is addressed 'To the kind Reader.' In 1611 the poem was reissued under the title of 'The Anuals [sic] of Great Brittaine. Or, A most excellent Monument, wherein may be seene all the antiquities of this Kingdome,'&c. Only one copy of each edition is known to exist. Parts of the poem, which is exceedingly difficult and tedious, appear to relate to Queen Elizabeth and Essex. Appended to Chester's poem are 'Some new Compositions of several Modern Writers whose names are subscribed to their severall Workes; upon the first subject, viz. the Phoenix and Turtle.' Shakespeare's enigmatical poem, 'The Phoenix and Turtle,' is included among these 'new compositions.' The other verses are by 'Ignoto,' Marston, Chapman, and Ben Jonson.

[Grosart's Introduction to Love's Martyr, p. 8; Corser's Collectanea.]

A. H. B.