Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Fitzgeffrey, Charles

1047195Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 19 — Fitzgeffrey, Charles1889Arthur Henry Bullen

FITZGEFFREY, CHARLES (1575?–1638), poet and divine, son of Alexander Fitzgeffrey, a clergyman who had migrated from Bedfordshire, was born at Fowey in Cornwall about 1575. He was entered in 1590 at Broadgates Hall, Oxford, proceeded B.A. 31 Jan. 1596-7, and M.A. 4 July 1600. In 1596 he published at Oxford a spirited poem entitled 'Sir Francis Drake, his Honorable Lifes Commendation and his Tragical Deathes Lamentation,' 8vo. It was dedicated to Queen Elizabeth, and commendatory verses were prefixed by Richard Rous, Francis Rous, 'D.W.,' and Thomas Mychelbourne. A second edition, with a revised text and additional commendatory verses, was published in the same year. Meres, in 'Palladis Tamia,' 1598, has a complimentary notice of 'yong Charles Fitz-Ieffrey, that high touring Falcon;' and several quotations from the poem occur in 'England's Parnassus,' 1600. In 1601 Fitzgeffrey published an interesting volume of Latin epigrams and epitaphs: 'Caroli Fitzgeofridi Affaniæ; sive Epigrammatum libri tres; Ejusdem Cenotaphia,' 8vo. Epigrams are addressed to Drayton, Daniel, Sir John Harington, William Percy, and Thomas Campion; and there are epitaphs on Spenser, Tarlton, and Nashe. Fitzgeffrey's most intimate friends were the brothers Edward, Laurence, and Thomas Mychelbourne, who are so frequently mentioned in Campion's Latin epigrams. There is an epigram 'To my deare freind Mr. Charles Fitz-Ieffrey' among the poems 'To Worthy Persons' appended to John Davies of Hereford's 'Scourge of Folly,' n. d., 1610-11. It appears from the epigram ('To thee that now dost mind but Holy Writ,' &c.) that Fitzgeffrey was then in orders. By his friend Sir Anthony Rous he was presented to the living of St. Dominic, Eastwellshire. In 1620 he published 'Death's Sermon unto the Living,' 4to, 2nd ed. 1622, a funeral sermon on the wife of Sir Anthony Rous; in 1622 'Elisha, his Lamentation for his Owne,' 4to, a funeral sermon on Sir Anthony; in 1631 'The Curse of Corne-horders: with the Blessing of seasonable Selling. In three sermons,' 4to, dedicated to Sir Reginald Mohune, reprinted in 1648 under the title 'God's Blessing upon the Providers of Corne,' &c.; in 1634 a devotional poem, 'The Blessed Birth-Day celebrated in some Pious Meditations on the Angels Anthem,' 4to, reprinted in 1636 and 1651; and in 1637, 'Compassion to wards Captives, chiefly towards our Brethren and Country-men who are in miserable bondage in Barbarie: urged and pressed in three sermons . . . preached in Plymouth in October 1636,' 4to, with a dedication to John Cause, mayor of Plymouth. Fitzgeffrey died 24 Feb. 1637-8, and was buried under the communion-table of his church. Robert Chamberlain has some verses to his memory in 'Nocturnall Lucubrations,' 1638.

Fitzgeffrey prefixed commendatory verses to Storer's 'Life and Death of Thomas, Earl of Cromwell,' 1599 (two copies of Latin verse and two English sonnets), Davies of Hereford's 'Microcosmus,' 1603, Sylvester's 'Bartas, his Devine Weekes and Workes,' 1605, and William Vaughan's 'Golden Grove,' 1608. He was among the contributors to 'Oxoniensis Academiæ funebre officium in Memoriam Elizabethæ,' 1603, 4to, and 'Academiæ Oxoniensis Pietas erga Jacobum,' 1603, 4to. There is an epigram to him in John Dunbar's 'Epigrammaton Centuriæ Sex,' 1616; Campion addressed two epigrams to him, and Robert Hayman in 'Quodlibets,' 1620, has an epigram to him, from which it appears that he was blind of one eye. A letter of Fitzgeffrey, dated from Fowey, March 1633, giving an account of a thunderstorm, is preserved at Kimbolton Castle. 'Sir Francis Drake' and 'The Blessed Birth-Day' have been reprinted in Dr. Grosart's 'Occasional Issues.'

[Wood's Athenæ, ed. Bliss, ii. 607-9; Dr. Grosart's Memorial Introduction to Fitzgeffrey's Poems; Boase and Courtney's Bibliotheca Cornubiensis; Hunter's Chorus Vatum.]

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