Townsend, Aurelian

(?1583-1643)
   He was the son of John Townshend of Dereham Abbey, Norfolk (the name is often spelled with an 'h'), who at one time was steward to Sir Robert Cecil, first earl of Salisbury. He had the reputation from an early age as a poet and was on intimate terms with Ben Jonson (see entry). He traveled on the Continent with Edward Herbert (afterwards first Lord Herbert of Cherbury), where his knowledge of French, Italian and Spanish was put to good use, and he accompanied Herbert on his visit to the court of Henry IV of France. He became a gentleman of the privy chamber under Charles I and in 1631 succeeded Jonson as composer of court masques. His first masque, Albion's Triumph, was presented by the king and his lords at Whitehall in 1632. He disappeared from sight during the Civil War. Many of his poems are scattered among various miscellanies. Some of his poems: "Come Not to Me for Scarfs," "In Praise of His Mistress," "Let not thy beauty make thee proud," "Pure Simple Love," "The Fugitive Favourite," "When we were parted," "Youth and Beauty."
   Sources: Aurelian Townshend's Poems and Masks. E.K. Chambers, ed. Clarendon Press, 1912. Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. English Poetry: Author Search. ChadwyckHealey Ltd., 1995 (http://www.lib.utexas.edu:8080/search/epoetry/author.html). Jacobean and Caroline Poetry: An Antholog y. T.G.S. Cain, ed. Methuen, 1981. Seventeenth Century Poetry: The Schools of Donne and Jonson. Hugh Kenner, ed. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1964. The Anchor Antholog y of Seventeenth-Century Verse, Vol. II. Louis L. Martz and Richard S. Sylvester, eds. Doubleday Anchor Books, 1969. 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 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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