Peyton, Thomas (DNB00)

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PEYTON, THOMAS (1595–1626), poet, said to have been born at Royston, Cambridgeshire, in 1595, was probably a younger son of Sir John Peyton of Isleham, and brother of Sir Edward Peyton [q. v.], but his name does not figure in the genealogies. After being educated at Royston he proceeded to Cambridge, and in 1613 was admitted a student of Lincoln's Inn. Of a studious and religious temperament, he produced in London in 1620 the first part of a poem entitled ‘The Glasse of Time in the First Age, divinely handled by Thomas Peyton of Lincolnes Inne, gent.’ The volume opens with addresses in verse to King James, Prince Charles, Lord-chancellor Bacon, and the ‘Reader.’ The poem consists of 168 stanzas, of varying lengths, in heroic verse. It relates the story of man's fall, as told in the Bible. There are many classical allusions and digressions into contemporary religious topics. Peyton writes as a champion of the established church, and a warm opponent of the puritans. In 1623 he continued the work in a second volume entitled ‘The Glasse of Time in the Second Age,’ and brought the scriptural narrative to Noah's entrance into the ark. A further continuation was promised, but was never written. Some of the episodes in Peyton's poem—notably his descriptions of Paradise and of Lucifer—very faintly suggest some masterly passages on the same subject in Milton's ‘Paradise Lost,’ but the resemblances are not close enough to render it probable that Milton was acquainted with his predecessor's efforts (cf. North American Review, October 1860). Copies of Peyton's two volumes are in the British Museum. A reprint appeared at New York in 1886. Peyton died in 1626.

[Peyton's Glasse of Time, with introduction, New York, 1886.]