Storer, Thomas (DNB00)

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STORER, THOMAS (1571–1604), poet, born in 1571, the son of John Storer, a citizen of London, was elected a student of Christ Church, Oxford, in 1587, and graduated B.A. on 27 March 1591, and M.A. on 13 May 1604. At Oxford, says Wood, ‘he was had in great renown for his most excellent vein in poesy.’ In 1599 appeared ‘The Life and Death of Thomas Wolsey, cardinall. … By Thomas Storer, student of Christ Church in Oxford. At London printed by Thomas Dawson,’ 4to. The poem, which is written upon the model of Churchyard's legend on the history of Wolsey in ‘The Mirrour for Magistrates,’ consists of three parts or cantos, ‘Wolseius aspirans,’ ‘Wolseius triumphans,’ and ‘Wolseius moriens;’ these contain respectively 101, 89, and 51 seven-line stanzas of decasyllabic verse (rhyming ababbcc). The volume is dedicated to John Howson [q. v.], Queen Elizabeth's chaplain, and there are introductory verses by Charles Fitzgeffrey [q. v.] and Thomas and Edward Michelborne [q. v.], and a poem in fifteen eight-line stanzas addressed to the author by his fellow-collegian, John Sprint. The poem is carefully based upon the narratives of Cavendish and Holinshed, and, sententious though it is, contains some happily expressed characterisations, notably that of Richard Foxe [q. v.], bishop of Winchester,

    A man made old to teach the worth of age.

It was warmly praised by Dr. Alberic Gentilis in his ‘Laudes Academiæ Perusinæ et Oxoniensis’ (1605, p. 41), and Aubrey commends its historic veracity (Letters from the Bodleian Library, 1813, i. 145). Malone has unconvincingly conjectured that Storer's poem may have suggested the subject of Wolsey's fall to the dramatist when he wrote ‘King Henry VIII.’ Early in the eighteenth century Thomas Hearne, having long sought in vain for a copy, at length procured one for a shilling. In more recent times the price of a copy of the first edition has ranged from ten to twenty guineas (the British Museum has three copies, and there are also copies at Britwell, in the Huth Library, and in the Malone collection at the Bodleian). The ‘Life’ was reprinted in Park's ‘Heliconia’ (1815, vol. ii.), and reissued separately in 1826 from the press of Talboys at Oxford.

According to Wood, in addition to the ‘Life of Wolsey,’ Storer published some ‘Pastoral Aires and Madrigals,’ which ‘were afterwards remitted into a book called “England's Helicon;”’ but this appears to be a mistake. No lyrics by Storer are included in ‘England's Helicon,’ but in ‘England's Parnassus’ (1600) are a score or so of specimens of his workmanship; they are derived from the ‘Life of Wolsey,’ and display the elaborate style of metaphor in which the poet excelled. Some verses by Storer are prefixed to Sir William Vaughan's ‘Golden Grove’ (1600). He died in London in November 1604, and was buried in the church of St. Michael Bassishaw in the city.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, i. 751; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Phillips's Theatrum, pp. 206–7; Addit. MS. 24491 (Hunter's Chorus Vatum), f. 110; Ritson's Bibl. Anglo-Poetica, p. 665; Corser's Collectanea Anglo-Poetica, x. 282; Retrospective Review, v. 275; Drake's Life and Times of Shakespeare, i. 702; Hazlitt's Handbook; Huth Library Cat.; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

T. S.