Brathwaite, Richard

, whom Warton calls one of the minor pastoral poets of the reign of James I. was the second son of Thomas Brathwaite, of Warcop, near Appleby, in Westmoreland, descended of a respectable family. He was born in 1588, and at the age of sixteen became a commoner of Oriel-college, Oxford, being matriculated as a gentleman’s son, and a native of Westmoreland. While he continued in that college, which was at least three years, Wood informs us, that “he avoided as much as he could the rough paths of logic and philosophy, and traced those smooth ones of poetry and Roman history, in which, at length, he did excel.” He afterwards removed to Cambridge, where he spent some time “for the sake of dead and living authors,” and then going into the north, his father gave him the estate of Barnside, where he lived many years, having a commission in the militia, and being appointed deputylieutenant in the county of Westmoreland, and a justice of peace. In his latter days he removed to Appleton, near Richmond, in Yorkshire, where he died May 4, 1673, and was buried in the parish church of Catterick, near that place, leaving behind him, says Wood, the character of a “well-bred gentleman, and a good neighbour.” Wood has enumerated as his publications: 1. “Golden Fleece, with other poems,” Lond. 1611, 8vo. 2. “The Poet’s Willow, or the passionate shepherd,” ibid. 1614, 8vo. 3. “The Prodigal’s Tears, or his farewell to vanity,1614, 8vo. 4. “The Scholar’s Medley, or an intermixt discourse upon historical and poetical relations, &c.1614, 4to. 5. “Essays upon the Five Senses,1620, 8vo, 1635, 12mo. 6. “Nature’s Embassy, or the wild man’s measures, danced naked by twelve Satyrs,| 1621, 8vo. To these are added, Divine and moral essays, Shepherds’ tales, Odes, &c. 7. “Time’s curtain drawn: divers poems,1621, 8vo. 8. “The English Gentleman,1630, 1633, 1641, 4to. 9. “The English Gentlewoman,1631, 1633, 4to; 1641, fol. 10. “Discourse of Detraction,1635, 12mo. 11. “The Arcadian Princess, or the triumph of justice,1635, 8vo. 12. “Survey of History, or a nursery for gentry; a discourse historical and poetical,1638, 4to. 13. “A spiritual Spicery, containing sundry sweet tractates of devotion and piety,1638, 12mo. 14. “Mercurius Britannicus, or the English intelligencer,” a tragi-comedy, acted at Paris, and a satire upon the republicans, 16-H, second edit. 4to. 15. “Time’s Treasury, or Academy for the accomplishment of the English gentry in arguments of discourse, habit, fashion, &c.1655, 1656, 4to. 16. “Congratulatory poem on his Majesty, upon his happy arrival in our late discomposed Albion,1660, 4to. 17. “Regicidium,” a tragi-comedy, 1665, 8vo. To these Mr. Ellis has added “Panedone, or health from Helicon,1621, 8vo; and Mr. Malone thinks that “The description of a Good Wife, or a rare one among women,1619, 8vo, was also his. Specimens of the former are given by Mr. Ellis, and of the latter, by Mr. Park, in the Censura Literaria. Mr. Ellis’s specimens of Brathvvaite’s powers as a poet are, perhaps, less favourable than some given by Mr. Dibdin in his Bibliomania, from the “Arcadian Princess.” It appears to us, that in his poetry, as in his prose, he excels’most as a painter of manners, a subject which he had studied all his life, and of which he delivered some of the earliest precepts. His style, however, must still render his works more acceptable to the curious, than to the common reader. 1


Ath. Ox. vol. II. —Warton’s Hist, of Poetry, vol. IV. p. 84. Cens. Lit. vol. V. Ellis’s Specimens, vol. III. Biog. Dramat. Dibdiu’s Bibliomania.