Sylvester, Josuah

(1563-1618)
   Born in Kent and orphaned at a young age, he was raised by an uncle and educated at a school in Southampton, Hampshire, where not being fluent in French ensured wearing the dunce's cap. In 1606 Prince Henry made him a groom of his chamber and his first poet pensioner. When he became secretary of a Dutch trading company, he moved to Middelburg, the Netherlands, where he spent the last five years of his life, and where he died. Sylvester's major literary work was the translation of the scriptural epic - on the creation, the fall of man, and other early parts of Genesis - the Divine Weekes and Workes, translated from a French Protestant poet, Guillaume du Bartas (1544-90). It appeared in sections between 1592 and 1608, and was reprinted for the fifth time in 1641. The 1621 edition contained his "Lachrymae Lachrymarum" as well as John Donne's "Elegie upon the Untimely Death of the Incomparable Prince Henry." Some of his poems: "A Dialogve Vpon the Trovbles Past," "Autumnus," "The Mysterie of Mysteries," "The Qvadrains of Pibrac," "The Trivmph of Faith," "To Vertves Patterne, and Beavties Paragon."
   Sources: Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite DVD, 2006. English Poetry: Author Search. Chadwyck-Healey Ltd., 1995 (http://www.lib.utexas.edu:8080/search/epoetry/author.html). Great Books Online (www.bartleby.com). The National Portrait Gallery (www.npg.org.uk). The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The Complete Works of Joshuah Sylvester: Volume II. Alexander B. Grosart, ed. Edinburgh University Press, 1880. The Faber Book of Epigrams and Epitaphs. Geoffrey Grigson, ed. Faber and Faber, 1977. The Gift of Great Poetry. Lucien Stryk, ed. Regnery Gateway, 1992. The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000.

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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  • Sylvester, Josuah — ▪ English writer born 1563, Kent, Eng. died Sept. 28, 1618, Middelburg, Neth.       English poet translator, best known as the translator of a popular biblical epic, the Divine Weekes and Workes. Translated from a French Protestant poet,… …   Universalium

  • English literature — Introduction       the body of written works produced in the English language by inhabitants of the British Isles (including Ireland) from the 7th century to the present day. The major literatures written in English outside the British Isles are… …   Universalium

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