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James Shirley 17th century War Poetry

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James Shirley 1596-1666





James Shirley's house was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666; He and his wife managed to escape the blaze but both died a few weeks later.

His life, even his date of birth, are disputed. In 'Ben Johnson and the Cavalier Poets' selected & edited by Hugh Maclean( 1974), , we are informed that Shirley was educated at the 'Merchant Taylors' School, studied at Saint John's College at Oxford in 1612, but soon transferred to Saint Catherine's Hall in Cambridge. James Shirley graduated in 1646 and was a minister in and then a headmaster of a Grammar School in St. Albans, converting to the Roman Catholic faith around 1623.

From 1625 -1636, Shirley wrote fifteen comedies, four tragedies, and two masques. He then spent four years in Dublin, with two further plays appearing. A number of his  plays were performed by Queen Henrietta's Men, and his 1634 play 'The Triumph of Peace' had a set designed by Indigo Jones. …

Jemahl Evans interview Part Two

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Concluding part of Jemahl Evans Interview 


Samuel Butler -Poet- 1613- 1680 . Portrait by Pieter Borsseler courtesy Wiki Commons


Continuing my interview with novelist Jemahl Evans .  Part One is here   To recap slightly Jemahl's lead character is one Sir Blandford Candy- " an irascible old drunk with a hatred of poets and a love of hats"  : In fact 'hatred' is probably too mellow a word  to  describe the seething contempt he has for Samuel Butler  and the poem ' Hudibras' . Blandford was ninety five years old in 1719, and  the sole surviving Roundhead. 

 One enthusiast summed up Jemahl's 2015 novel, 'The Last Roundhead', as '"Flashman meets the Three Muskateers in a picaresque romp through Stuart England" and the sequel, 'This Deceitful Light' , is certainly of a similar nature. A collection of five short stories 'Davenant s Egg and Other Tales' (2017) , all connected to the 1643 Siege of Gloucester, has also appeared…

Worcester Visit 2018/ More on Richard Lovelace

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Visit to Worcester September 2018 





                                      Bronze relief sculpture of Battle of Worcester at Fort Royal
                                       by Ken Potts, courtesy of the Battle of Worcester Society

The 3rd September was significant  for Oliver Cromwell , the date of his victories at Dunbar 1650, Worcester 1651, and his death -1658.

Was delighted to visit Worcester on the first weekend of September 2018  : On Saturday 1st September I attended The Cromwell Association visit to - The Commandery museum at Sidbury ,Worcester, where we were lucky enough to have a guided tour  from Richard Shaw,  current chairman of the Battle of Worcester Society, with a quick visit to Fort Royal Hill  next door. ( Fair to stress at this point that the Battle of Worcester Society are neutral as it were in their approach to the British Civil Wars).  It was inspiring to see how much this Society are doing to increase awareness of the battle, and The Commandery is highly recomm…

Jemahl Evans- author of 'The Last Roundhead'

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Jemahl Evans interview part one 




Jemahl Evans -pic supplied by the author



I was delighted to interview author  Jemahl Evans via Email recently. His lead character -Sir Blandford Candy- " an irascible old drunk with a hatred of poets and a love of hats" , was ninety five years old in 1719, and  the sole surviving Roundhead.

 One enthusiast summed up Jemahl's 2015 novel, 'The Last Roundhead', as '"Flashman meets the Three Muskateers in a picaresque romp through Stuart England" and the sequel, 'This Deceitful Light' , is certainly of a similar nature. A collection of five short stories 'Davenants Egg and Other Tales' (2017) , all connected to the 1643 Siege of Gloucester, has also appeared, demonstrating the bitter humour and the bizarre, as well as the heartbreak to be found in a civil war.

People looking for stories about dashing cavaliers or Puritan idealists building a new Jerusalem will probably not immediate…

Royalist Poet Robert Herrick

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The Works both Humane & Divine of Robert Herrick Esq


On this blog, there have been posts about the use of panegyrics in honour of luminaries such as Sir Thomas Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell. But probably not enough has been written about Royalist poets- besides Richard Lovelace.However I  recently found a work titled 'Ben Johnson and the Cavalier Poets. Selected and Edited by Hugh Maclean ( with Authorative Texts Criticism)  and published in 1974 in a local charity bookshop.  So this post will be one of series of features to help redresses the balance. And I will start with  Royalist clergyman Robert Herrick ( 1591- 1674) .                                           






                         Robert Herrick 1591-1674  




                Robert Herrick was a goldsmith apprentice from a 'Trade' family  who were wealthy enough to send him to Cambridge University in 1613. He graduated in 1617, obtained an MA in 1620, and was ordained as a minister in 1623. It's not clear how …

Edmund Waller's Panegyric to Cromwell

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Edmund  Waller (1606- 1687) Poet and Plotter
Recently finished reading 'The Last Roundhead' , a superb novel by Jemahl Evans and was reminded that poet Edmund Waller was a leading figure in a doomed Royalist rebellion that hardly got off the ground in London in 1643. The capital was firmly in the hands of the Parliamentarian forces. Waller was MP for  Agmondesham, Buckinghamshire, and related to both Oliver Cromwell and John Hampden, but had sent money to King Charles in Oxford in 1642.

Waller and leading co-conspirator Nathaniel Tomkins were arrested on 31st May 1643. They were betrayed, most likely due to being naive and indiscreet, and totally underestimating the rudimentary intelligence service that Parliament was starting to assemble.

In the aforementioned novel, Waller is portrayed as breaking down completely, offering bribes and betraying as many of his cronies  A typical view . As one biographer declared " Poets are in general poor politicians a…

Interview with Cryssa Bazos

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Interview with Cryssa Bazos- Author of 'Traitor's Knot' 






I am delighted to be able to publish an interview with Cryssa Bazos, author of the novel 'Traitor Knot'  and also edits ''The Seventeenth Century Enthusiast'  email newsletter. This interview was conducted via email correspondence .



Has to be asked 'Why the English Civil War as a background to your novel'?

I have always felt a strong connection to the 17th century. The era was a time characerized by
exploding literacy, scientific discovery and exploration. Civil War accelerated the social and political
change. People started to question their loyalties, their place in society and relationship to God. Historically the most challenging of times, like worlds wars, result in the greatest leaps for mankind, and the English Civil War marked the dawn of the modern period.

The war had a devastating effect on families and communities. Ideological divisions pit family against family and left …