Steward, Simeon (DNB00)

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STEWARD, Sir SIMEON (d. 1629?), poet, was the son of Sir Mark Steward, by his wife Anna, the daughter of Dr. Robert Huick, one of Queen Elizabeth's physicians. Sir Mark was the son of another Sir Simeon, who was a brother of Robert Steward, dean of Ely [q. v.] According to an untrustworthy family legend recorded on Sir Mark's tomb, an ancestor sailed with James I from his home near Dundee, was captured by the English off Flamborough Head in 1405, married an Englishwoman, and, having transferred his allegiance to Henry V, settled in Cambridgeshire. The poet's father received the honour of knighthood at Whitehall in July 1603. He was then seventy-nine years old, and he died in the following November, when a splendid monument, with a recumbent figure, was erected by his son to his memory in the south aisle of Ely Cathedral.

Simeon Steward was educated at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and while still in residence was knighted by James I at Whitehall, previous to the coronation, on 23 July 1603. He lived at Trinity Hall for many years, and was known to Robert Herrick and Thomas Fuller, who describes the coat-of-arms which Steward caused to be carved over his chimneypiece. The room was probably the ‘chamber under ye Library West,’ but the arms have long since disappeared (Warren, Cat. of Fellows ap. Willis's Architect. of Cambr. i. 239). In 1614 he represented Shaftesbury in parliament, and in 1624 he was returned for Cambridgeshire; but his election was declared void upon a petition. In 1627, however, he entered parliament again as member for Aldeburgh. A defaced copy of some elegiac verses upon the death of Sir S. (?) Steward, undated, but probably written in 1629, would refer his death to this year.

Herrick sent Steward some verses as a new year's gift in January 1624, in full confidence of his appreciation; for the knight was the possessor of a small claim to rank as a poet himself. Inspired, it would appear, by Spenser and Shakespeare, he wrote a graceful poem called ‘The Faerey King.’ This appeared under his name in a volume entitled ‘A Description of the King & Queene of Fayries. Their Habit, Fare, their Abode, Pompe, & State’ (London, for Richard Harper, 1635, 8vo). Steward's contribution to the volume was reprinted in ‘Musarum Deliciæ’ (1656), and in the rare volume of ‘Bibliographical Miscellanies’ printed at Oxford in 1813 by Dr. Bliss, who made several manuscript notes relating to the ‘Faerey King’ in his copy, now in the British Museum. The version he prints was discovered by him among the Rawlinson manuscripts in the Bodleian Library (Rawl. MS., Poet. 147), and differs in numerous points from that in the ‘Musarum Deliciæ.’ Steward's poem reappeared in Mr. A. E. Waite's selection of fairy poems, entitled ‘Elfin Music’ (London, 1888, 12mo).

[Fuller's Worthies, s. ‘Cambridgeshire;’ Bentham's History of Ely, pp. 287, App. p. 49; Willis's Architect. History of the University of Cambridge; Noble's Hist. of the House of Cromwell, ii. 339; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1624–5; Metcalfe's Book of Knights, p. 247; Members of Parliaments; Herrick's Works, 1891, i. 157; Notes and Queries, 8th ser. v. 194; Genealogist, 1885, p. 37.]

T. S.