A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Quarles, Francis

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Quarles, Francis (1592-1644). -- Poet, b. at the manor-house of Stewards near Romford, was at Camb., and studied law at Lincoln's Inn. Thereafter he went to the Continent, and at Heidelberg acted as cup-bearer to Elizabeth of Bohemia, dau. of James I. He next appears as sec. to Archbishop Ussher in Ireland, and was in 1639 Chronologer to the City of London. On the outbreak of the Civil War he sided with the Royalists, and was plundered by the Parliamentarians of his books and rare manuscripts, which is said to have so grieved him as to bring about his death. His first book of poems was A Feast for Worms (1620); others were Hadassa (Esther) (1621), Sion's Elegies (1625), and Divine Emblems (1635), by far his most popular book. His style was that fashionable in his day, affected, artificial, and full of "conceits," but he had both real poetical fire and genuine wit, mixed with much that was false in taste, and though quaint and crabbed, is seldom feeble or dull. He was twice m., and had by his first wife 18 children.