Fisher, Payne

, or as he usually styled himself in his Latin compositions, Paganus Piscatok, was born atWarnford, in Dorsetshire, the seat of his maternal grandfather, sir Thomas Neale, in 1616, and became a commoner of Hart-hall, (now Hertford college), Oxford, in 1634. After continuing there about three years, he removed to Magdalen college, Cambridge, where he took the degree of B. A. and first discovered his turn for poetry. From Cambridge, having, as Wood says, “a rambling head,” he served for some time in the Netherlands, and soon after returned and bore an ensign’s commission in the army raised by Charles I. against the Scots in 1639; on the disbanding of which he went to Ireland, and obtained the | rank of captain, and on his return to England that of major. In July 1644 he served ut the siege of York, and was present at the battle of Mars ton Moor, which he celebrated in his first published poem. Soon after this he left his command, for what reason does not very clearly appear, and came to London, where he employed his pen against the cause which he had supported with his sword, and became such a favourite as to be accounted poet-laureat to Oliver Cromwell. After the restoration he endeavoured to atone for all this, by flattering the men in power, but without effect; and he henceforth lived, as Wood says, on his wits, which appear to have procured him but a scanty diet, arising chiefly from flattering dedications, and other implements of literary supplication. He was frequently in debt and in jail, and died at length, advanced in years, at a coffee-house in the Old Bailey, April 2, 1693, and was buried in St. Sepulchre’s church-yard.

Wood has given a very long list of his productions, which are mostly Latin poems, epitaphs, or orations in praise of the leading characters or events of his day. Among the most remarkable are, 1. “Marston-Moore, sive de obsidione praelioque Eboracensi carmen,” Lond. 165O, 4to. 2. “Irenodia gratulatoria, &c.” in honour of Cromwell, and dedicated to the infamous Bradshaw, ibid. 1652, 4to. 3. “Oratio anniversaria,” in honour of the inauguration of Cromwell, and delivered in the Middle temple hall, ibid. 1655, fol. 4. “Threnodia triumphans, &c.” on the death of Cromwell, 1658, fol. Latin and English. 5. “Epinicion; vel elogium fcelicissimi sereniss. fortiss. Ludovici XIV. &c.” fol. without date or place. This panegyric on the French king is curiously illustrated on the margins of each leaf with cuts of arms and military trophies, &c. He wrote also a book of Heraldry, printed at London, in 1682, with the coats of arms of such of the gentry as he waited upon with presentation copies, in hopes of a reward. From the little we have seen of his works, he appears to have been a man of considerable talents, but in his character and conduct, irregular, vain, and conceited. 1

1

Ath, Ox. vol. II. Wiustaniey’s Poets.