Spenser, Daniel, Drayton, and Breton. Meres added, ‘I have heard him termed of the best wits of both our universities, our English Homer. As Euripides is the most sententious among Greek poets, so is Warner among our English poets.’ Drayton, after eulogising Sidney, wrote in his ‘Epistle of Poets’—
Then Warner, though his lines were not so trimmed
Nor yet his Poem so exactly limn'd
And neatly jointed but the Criticke may
Easily reproove him; yet thus let me say
For my old friend; some passages there be
In him which, I protest, have taken me
With almost wonder; so fine, cleere, new,
As yet they have bin equalled by few.
Many extracts figured in ‘England's Parnassus,’ 1600.
The finest passage in ‘Albion's England’ recites the pastoral story of ‘Argentile and Curan.’ The tale was doubtless of Warner's invention, but it resembles the topic of the thirteenth-century poem called ‘Havelock the Dane.’ Warner's story has secured through adaptations a longer tenure of fame than the rest of the poem. It was plagiarised without acknowledgment by William Webster in a poem in six-line stanzas, entitled ‘The most pleasant and delightful Historie of Curan, a Prince of Danske, and the fayre Princesse Argentile’ (London, 1617, 4to). Warner's tale also formed the plot of the ‘Thracian Wonder,’ a play attributed to John Webster and William Rowley (London, 1661, 4to). It was subsequently converted into a ballad entitled ‘The Two Young Princes on Salisbury Plain,’ published in ‘A Collection of Old Ballads’ (3 vols. 1726–38, 12mo). Percy with much enthusiasm quoted it, as well as another of Warner's invented legends, ‘The Patient Countess,’ in his ‘Reliques of Ancient Poetry’ (1765), and William Mason based on it his ‘Legendary Drama of Five Acts, written on the Old English Model’ (Poems, 1786, vol. iii.). Warner's admirers of the present century have been few. In 1801 George Ellis quoted for ‘their singularity’ three extracts in his ‘Specimens of the Early English Poets’ (ii. 267 et seq.). The whole poem was reprinted in Chalmers's ‘Collection of the English Poets’ (1810). Charles Lamb wrote to Harrison Ainsworth on 9 Dec. 1823: ‘I have read Warner['s ‘Albion's England’] with great pleasure. What an elaborate piece of alliteration and antithesis! Why, it must have been a labour far above the most difficult versification. There is a fine simile or picture of Semiramis arming to repel a siege’ (Letters of Charles Lamb, ed. Ainger, ii. 93).
[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, vol. i.; Corser's Collectanea; Hazlitt's Bibliographical Collections; Hallam's Lit. Hist. of Europe, 5th ed. 1873, i. 36n. ii. 128; Ritson's Bibliographia Anglo-Poetica; Percy's Reliques of Ancient Poetry, ed. Wheatley, i. 298, ii. 252; Hunter's Chorus Vatum in Brit. Mus. Addit. MS. 24492, ff. 227–32.]
WARRE, Sir WILLIAM (1784–1853), lieutenant-general, colonel of the 94th foot, eldest son of James Warre of George Street, Hanover Square, London, and of his wife Eleanor, daughter of Thomas Greg of Coles Park, Hertfordshire, was born at Oporto, Portugal, on 15 April 1784. He was educated at Harrow, and on 5 Nov. 1803 received an ensign's commission in the 52nd foot, which he joined at Hythe. He was promoted to be lieutenant by purchase on 2 June 1804, and on 25 April 1806 he purchased his company in the 98th foot, from which he exchanged on 7 Aug. into the 23rd light dragoons, joining them at Clonmel, co. Tipperary, in October 1806.
In the summer of 1807 Warre became a student of the Royal Military College, and in May 1808 was appointed aide-de-camp to Major-general Sir Ronald Craufurd Ferguson [q. v.], commander of an expedition to sail from Cork. After some detention, an alteration was made in the destination of this expedition, and it proceeded to Portugal, landing in July. Warre took part in the battles of Rolica (17 Aug.) and Vimiera (21 Aug.), after which he was seized with dysentery, and, being too ill to accompany his general on his return to England, was sent to Lisbon, where Major-general William Carr (afterwards Viscount) Beresford [q. v.] received him into his house, and, on his recovery, attached him to his staff. He served with him during the whole of Sir John Moore's campaign, ending with the battle of Coruña on 16 Jan. 1809, after which he remained with his division to cover the embarkation of the army during the night, and himself embarked with his chief and the rear-guard in the afternoon of the following day.
On the acceptance by Beresford of the chief command of the Portuguese army in March 1809, Warre accompanied him to Portugal, was commissioned as major in the Portuguese service, and appointed Beresford's first aide-de-camp. He was with Beresford at Lamego and the passage of the Douro on 12 May, and, after the capture of Oporto, was employed to destroy the bridges in rear of the retreating French army, a duty which he in great measure accomplished, with very inadequate means, and in spite of the opposition of an obstinate and refractory peasantry.