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SELECT POEMS

or
SIR JOHN D.A VIES.
WITH
A LIFE OF THE AUTHOR,

by

FZEKIEL SANFORD,

Vol. IV. A.

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LIFE OF DAVIES.

Sir John Davies, the third son of John Davies, a wealthy tanner, according to Wood, but ‘late of New Inn, gentleman,’ by the record of the Middle Temple, was born at Chisgrove, in the parish of Tisbury, Wiltshire, in 1570. In his fifteenth year, he became a commoner of Queen's College, Oxford; and, though he removed to the Middle Temple, in 1588, the circumstance of his taking his first degree, two years afterwards, would show, that he still considered himself as a member of the University.

In the Temple, he seems to have been more studious of mischief than of law. He was first fined, and finally removed, for misdemeanors; and, though he came to the bar, in 1595, he was expelled the society of the Middle Temple, in 1598, for beating Richard Martin, while at dinner in the common hall. His progress at the bar seems to have been retarded by his misbehaviour; and his only achievement, up to the present date, was that of twentysix acrostics, in honour of Queen Elizabeth. In 1599, he established his reputation, as a poet, by the publication of Nosce Teipsum, or the Immortality of the Soul. In 1601, the favour of Lord Ellismere restored him to his chamber in the Temple; and, being returned to the House of Commons, the same year, for Corfe-Castle, in Dorsetshire, he is said to have become an active and useful member of parliament.

He accompanied Lord Heersdon, in his mission to congratulate King James on his accession to the throne. As soon as he was introduced, his Majesty asked if he was .Wosce Teipsum, and, when answered in the affirmative, he took him in his arms, and assured him of his favour. Nor was it merely an unmeaning compliment. In 1603, he went as solicitor general to Ireland; and, soon after, received the appointment of attorney general. He engaged with activity, in the colonization of Ulster; and, in the midst of his official duties, found time to compose a volume of Historical Tracts upon the country; which, if they do him no credit as a writer, are at least a proof, that he had become industrious. He was made sergeant at law, in 1606; received the honour of knighthood, in 1607; and, five years afterwards, became the king's sergeant, and was chosen speaker of the first Irish House of Commons. His Reports were published, in 1615. A change in the administration occasioned his return from Ireland; and, up to the year 1626, the only things recorded of him, are, that he acted, for some time, as a justice of the assizes, and, in 1621, was returned as a member of parliament for Newcastleunder-Line. He was about to enter upon the duties of lord chief justice, in 1626; when an apoplexy carried him off, at his house in the Strand, on the night of the 7th of December. His wife, Lady Eleanor Touchet, was the daughter of George Lord Audley, Earl of Castlehaven; and became so formidable by her prophecies, as to have provoked, after his death, the rigorous chastisement of the High Commission Court. An account of her prophecies was published in 1649. She died herself three years afterwards. Sir John had an idiot son, who happily died young, and a daughter, named Lucy, who was married to Ferdinando Lord Hastings, afterwards Earl of Huntingdon.

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