Gomersall, Robert (DNB00)

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GOMERSALL, ROBERT (1602–1646?), dramatist and divine, was born in London in 1602. He matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford, 19 April 1616 (Wood's date 1614 is wrong), proceeded B.A. 19 Dec. 1618, M.A. 14 June 1621, and B.D. 11 Nov. 1628 (Reg. Univ. Oxon. vol. ii. pt. i. p. 369, pt. ii. p. 348). Having taken holy orders he ‘became a very florid preacher in the university’ (Wood). In 1628 he published ‘The Tragedie of Lodovick Sforza, Duke of Millan,’ 8vo, a somewhat stiffly written play, which may have been privately acted at Oxford by students, but does not appear to have been put on the stage by any regular company. It was dedicated to Francis Hide of Christ Church. In the same year appeared a poem, ‘The Levites Revenge: containing Poeticall Meditations upon the 19 and 20 Chapters of Judges,’ 8vo, dedicated to Dr. Barten Holiday. Both volumes contain curious engraved frontispieces. The two pieces were reprinted together in ‘Poems,’ 1633, 8vo, with the addition of a small collection of miscellaneous verses. Some of the poetical epistles are dated 1625 from Flower in Northamptonshire. John Marriot the publisher, in an address to the reader, writes: ‘from hence forward you must expect nothing from him [Gomersall] but what shall relish of a bearded and austere Devotion. And this, I trust, will be no small incitement to thy approbatiō of the worke since it is the last.’ In Harl. MS. 6931 a short poem of Gomersall is preserved. His last work was a collection of ‘Sermons on 1 Pet. cap. ii. vv. 13, 14, 15, 16,’ London, 1634, 4to, dedicated to Sir John Strangwayes of Melbury, Dorsetshire. In 1639[–40] he prefixed to Fuller's ‘History of the Holy Warre’ a copy of commendatory verses signed ‘Robert Gomersall, Vicar of Thorncombe in Devon.’ Wood notices that ‘one Rob. Gomersall, who seems to be a Devonian born, died 1646, leaving then by his will 1,000l. to his son Robert.’

[Wood's Athenæ, ed. Bliss, ii. 590; Addit. MS. 24489, fol. 91 (Hunter's Chorus Vatum); Langbaine's Dram. Poets; Corser's Collectanea.]

A. H. B.