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OF Sir JOHN DENHAM very U little is known but what is related of him by Wood, or by him


He was born at Dublin in 1615; the only son of Sir John Denham, of Little Horsely in Effex, then chief baron of the Exchequer in Ireland, and of Eleanor, daughter of Sir Garret Moore baron. of Mellefont. b



Two years afterwards, his father, being made one of the barons of the Exchequer in England, brought him away from his native country, and edu. cated him in London. , -.

In 1631 he was sent to Oxford, where he was considered “ as a dream«« ing young man, given more to dice “ and cards than study;" and therefore gave no prognosticks of his future eminence; nor was suspected to conceal, under sluggishness and laxity, a genius born to improve the literature of his country.

When he was, three years afterwards, removed to Lincoln's Inn, he prosecuted the common law with sufficient appearance of application; yet did not



lose his propensity, to cards and dice; but was very often plundered by gamesters.

Being severely reproved for this fol ly, he professed, and perhaps believed, himself reclaimed; and, to testify the fincerity of his repentance, wrote and published “ An Essay upon Gaming."

He seems to have divided his studies between law and poetry; for, in 1636, he translated the second book of the Eneid.

Two years after, his father died; and then, notwithstanding his resolutions and professions, he returned again to the vice of gaming, and lost several, thousand pounds that had been left himn.

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In 1641, he published “ The Sophy.” This seems to have given him his first hold of the publick attention; for Waller remarked, “ that he broke out so like the Irish rebellion threescore 5 thousand strong, when nobody was “ aware, or in the least suspected it.” An observation which could have had no propriety, had his poetical abilities been known before.

He was after that pricked for sheriff of Surrey, and made governor of Farnham Castle for the king ; but he soon resigned that charge, and retreated to Oxford, where, in 1643, he published « Cooper's Hill.”

This poem had fuch reputation as to excite the common artifice by which

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