Cotgrave, John (DNB00)

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COTGRAVE, JOHN (fl. 1655), probably related to Randle Cotgrave [q. v.], and a member of the Cheshire family of Cotgreve, was the author of ‘The English Treasury of Literature and Language collected out of the most and best of our English Dramatick Poems,’ London, 1655. The author is described as ‘gent.’ on the title-page. The British Museum possesses Oldys's copy of this work, in which the source of nearly every extract quoted is noted in manuscript. The handwriting is of the seventeenth century, and is not Oldys's. Cotgrave's second publication is of singular interest. It is entitled ‘Wit's Interpreter: the English Parnassus, by J. C.,’ Lond. 1655. It contains a prose treatise on the ‘Art of Reasoning, or A New Logick;’ ‘Theatre of Courtships,’ extracts from plays of lovers' dialogues; ‘A Labyrinth of Fancies,’ a collection of conundrums, arithmetical puzzles, and conjuring tricks; ‘Apollo and Orpheus,’ a collection of love songs, epigrams, drolleries, and other verses; ‘The Perfect Inditer, or Letters à la mode,’ a model letter-writer; ‘Compliments à la mode;’ and finally Richelieu's cipher interpreted. Some of the dialogues and poems are very broad, but they include several pieces not accessible elsewhere. Other editions of this book appeared in 1662 and 1671.

[Cotgrave's Works; Hunter's MS. Chorus Vatum in Brit. Mus. Addit. MS. 24492, f. 14; Gent. Mag. 1821, pt. ii. 415–6.]

S. L. L.