Samuel Daniel (Samuel Daniel)

Samuel Daniel

Poet, Playwright, Historian. A significant literary figure of England’s Renaissance period. His famous sonnet sequence “Delia” (1592) had an influence on the sonnets of William Shakespeare. His other works include the narrative poem “The Complaint of Rosamund” (1592); “The Civil Wars” (1595 to 1609), a verse history of the War of the Roses; the prose “History of England” (1612 to 1617), covering his country from antiquity to the reign of Edward III; and two tragedies in the manner of Seneca, “Cleopatra” (1593) and “Philotas” (1604). The son of a music teacher, Daniel attended Oxford University as a commoner from 1579 to 1582 before leaving without a degree for a trip to Italy. He made his first noble connections as servant and then secretary to the English Ambassador to France, and then became tutor to William Herbert 3rd Earl of Pembroke and later to Lady Ann Clifford. After 1603 he found favor at the new court of King James I, for which he wrote the stage masques “The Vision of the Twelve Goddesses” (1604), “The Queen’s Arcadia” (1606), Tethys’ Festival” (1610), and “Hymen’s Triumph” (1615). Studious and retiring, Daniel disliked controversy, but when Thomas Campion published a treatise denouncing rhymed verse as unsuitable for the English language, Daniel refuted the argument with “A Defense of Rhyme” (1603). In early 1604 he was appointed Inspector of the Children of the Queen’s Revels. Part of his duties were to act as a censor, but three scandalous productions occurred during his watch – “Eastward Ho” (1605) and “The Isle of Gulls” (1606), banned for their political satire, and Daniel’s own “Philotas”, which the Privy Council believed alluded to the fate of the rebellious Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex. Daniel resigned his post, and after prefixing an “Apology” to the 1607 published quarto of “Philotas” was restored to favor, becoming Groom of the Queen’s Chamber. Around 1617 he retired to his farm in Somerset, where he died. Lady Ann Clifford, then Countess Dowager of Pembroke, erected his memorial at St George’s Church in Beckington. In his time Daniel was celebrated for the pure and graceful diction of his writing. Ben Jonson once said he was “a good and honest man…but no poet”, but his was a minority opinion. Edmund Spenser praised him in “Colin Clouts Come Home Again” and his influence (at least as source material) has been traced in several plays by his friend Shakespeare, including “Antony and Cleopatra”. During the 19th Century Daniel had admirers in such English Romantics as Charles Lamb, William Wordsworth, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. (bio by: Bobb Edwards) ┬áInscription:”Here lies expecting the second coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the dead body of Samuel Daniel esquire, that excellent poet and historian, who was tutor to Lady Ann Clifford in her youth, she that was daughter and heir to George Clifford earl of Cumberland; who in gratitude to him erected this monument to his memory a long time after, when she was Countess Dowager of Pembroke, Dorset and Montgomery. He died in October, Anno 1619″.


  • January, 01, 1970
  • England


  • October, 10, 1619
  • England


  • St George Churchyard
  • Somerset
  • England

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