Parkes, William (DNB00)

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PARKES, WILLIAM (fl. 1612), satirist, is author of a tract in verse and prose, entitled ‘The Curtaine-Drawer of the World; or, the Chamberlaine of that great Inne of Iniquity. Where Vice … rides a horsebacke like a Judge, and Vertue … goes a foote like a Drudge,’ &c., 4to, London, 1612. He gives no hint of his profession beyond describing himself on his title-page as a ‘gentleman and sometimes student of Barnard's Inne;’ but, while finding fault with all classes in turn, he is especially severe on lawyers, and appears to have suffered much from them, from usurers, and from scriveners. Douce (Illustr. of Shakespeare, ii. 75) overestimated Parkes when he said that he was a man of ‘great ability and poetical talents.’ Though he possesses some strength as a satirist, he lacks invention, and his work is put together without rule or system. The tract contains some interesting contemporary allusions, such as the reference to the dramatic entertainment called ‘England's Joy,’ which had been written by Richard Venner, and performed at the Swan Theatre in 1603. At pp. 50–1 Parkes introduced Sir John Davies's riddle ‘Upon a Coffin,’ and some lines by ‘S. R.’ (probably Samuel Rowlands), ‘In Vulponem,’ in which Ben Jonson's play is alluded to.

[Collier's Bibl. Account of Early Engl. Lit. ii. 104–108; Cat. of Huth Libr. iv. 1096.]

G. G.