The themes Phineas Fletcher wrote about


English poet, elder son of Dr Giles Fletcher, and brother of Giles the younger, was born at Cranbrook, Kent, and was baptized on the 8th of April 1582.

He was admitted a scholar of Eton, and in 16oo entered King’s College, Cambridge. He graduated B.A. in 1604, and M.A. in 16o8, and was one of the contributors to Sorrow’s Joy (1603). His pastoral drama, Sicelides or Piscatory (pr. 1631) was written (1614) for performance before James I., but only produced after the king’s departure at King’s College.

He had been ordained as a priest and before 1611 became a fellow of his college, but he left Cambridge before 1616, apparently because certain emoluments were refused him.

He became chaplain to Sir Henry Willoughby, who presented him in 1621 to the rectory of Hilgay, Norfolk, where he married and spent the rest of his life.

In 1627 he published Locustae, vel Pietas Jesuitica. The Locusts or Apollyonists, two parallel poems in Latin and English furiously attacking the Jesuits. Dr Grosart saw in this work one of the sources of Milton’s conception of Satan.

Next year appeared an erotic poem, Britain's Ida, with Edmund Spenser’s name on the title-page. It is certainly not by Spenser, and is printed by Dr Grosart with the works of Phineas Fletcher.

Sicelides, a play acted at King’s College in 1614, was printed in 1631. In 1632 appeared two theological prose treatises, The Way to Blessedness and Joy in Tribulation, and in 1633 his magnum opus, The Purple Island. The book was dedicated to his friend Edward Benlowes, and included his Piscatorie Eclsgs and other Poetical Miscellanies.

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