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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VIII. The Age of Dryden.

VIII. The Court Poets



An Essay on Poetry. 1682. 2nd ed. 1691.

A Letter from the Earl of Mulgrave to Dr. Tillotson. 1689.

The Temple of Death. A Poem, written by the Marquess of Normanby. Trans. from the French of Habert, P., Le Temple de la Mort. 1695.

The Character of Charles II, with a short account of his being poyson’d. Written by a Person of Honour. 1696.

The Works of the most noble John Sheffield, late Duke of Buckingham. Published by his Grace in his lifetime. 1721.

The Works of John Sheffield, Earl of Mulgrave, Marquis of Normanby and Duke of Buckingham. 2 vols. 1723.

Buckingham restor’d: being two Essays, which were castrated from the Works of the late Duke of Buckingham. 1727.

Humanum est Errare, or False steps on both sides. [This is in manuscript, and is a critical account of the revolution of 1688. See Brit. Mus. Add. MSS., 27382, f. 77.]

His poems are also printed in such collections as the following:

Examen Miscellaneum. Consisting of Verse and Prose. Of Verse by The Most Honourable the Marquis of Normanby, The late Lord Rochester, Mr. Waller, Mrs. Wharton, Mr. Wolseley, with Satires and Fables and Translation from Anacreon. 1702.

A Collection of Poems: viz., The Temple of Death, By the Marquis of Normanby. An Epistle to the Earl of Dorset, By Charles Montague, Lord Halifax. The Duel of the Stags, By Sir Robert Howard. With Several Original Poems, Never before Printed by The Earl of Roscommon, the Earl of Rochester, the Earl of Orrery, Sir Charles Sedley, etc., etc. 1701.

Biography and Criticism

A character of John Sheffield, late Duke of Buckinghamshire, with an account of the pedigree of the Sheffield family. To which is annex’d his grace’s last will and testament. 1729.

Gildon, C. The Laws of Poetry as laid down by the Duke of Buckinghamshire in his Essay on Poetry, by the Earl of Roscommon in his Essay on Translated Verse, and by the Lord Lansdowne on Unnatural Flights in Poetry, Explain’d and Illustrated. 1721.


Dorset’s poems have never been published separately. They are to be found in the many Miscellanies of the period, such as:

A new Miscellany of Original Poems on Several Occasions. Written by the Earl of Dorset, by Sir Charles Sedley, Sir F. Shepheard etc. Ed. Gildon, C. 1701.

The Works of the Most Celebrated Minor Poets, vol. 1. 1749.

The Works of the English Poets, vol. II. Edited by Dr. Johnson. 1779.

For a sketch of Dorset’s character see Prior’s Dedicatory Epistle in Poems on Several Occasions, 1718.

THOMAS FLATMAN (1637–1688)

Poems and Songs. 1674. 4th ed. 1686.

On the death of Thomas, Earl of Ossory. Ode. 1681.

Ovid’s Epistles, translated by Flatman and others. 1683, 1701, 1712.

On the death of Charles II. Ode. 1685.

ANNE KILLIGREW (1660–1685)

Poems. 1686.

JOHN POMFRET (1667–1702)

Reason. 1700.

The Choice. 1701.

Miscellany poems on several occasions. 1702.

Poems. 1735, 1736, 1751, 1773.


A Satyr against Mankind. 1675.

The Enjoyment. 1679.

A Pastoral Dialogue between Alexis and Strephon written at the Bath. 1682.

Upon Nothing. A Poem now first correctly printed. 1711.

The above are broadsides. No collected edition of his poems was published in Rochester’s lifetime, and in those collections which appeared after his death the ascription of poems was not always scrupulously exact. Many of his pieces are to be found in the Poems upon Affairs of State and other Miscellanies. The following editions of his works are noteworthy:

Rochester, John Wilmot, Earl of. Poems … on Several Occasions: with Valentinian; A Tragedy. 1680, 1685, 1691, 1696.

Valentinian: A Tragedy. As ’t is Alter’d by the late Earl of Rochester, and Acted at the Theatre-Royal. Together with a Preface concerning the Author and his Writings. By one of his Friends. 1685.

The Miscellaneous Works of the Right Honourable the late Earls of Rochester and Roscommon. With the Memoirs of the Life and Character of the late Earl of Rochester, in a Letter to the Dutchess of Mazarine, by Mons. St. Evremont. To which is added A Curious Collection of Original Poems and Translations by The Earl of Dorset, The Lord S[ome]rs, The Lord H[alifa]x, The Lord G[ranvi]lle, Sir Roger l’Estrange, Mr. Otway, Mr. Prior, Mr. Walsh, Mr. Smith, Mr. Rowe, etc. 1707, 1709, 1711.

The Works of John Earl of Rochester, containing Poems on Several Occasions: His Lordship’s Letters to Mr. Savil and Mrs. * * *, with Valentinian, A Tragedy. 1714, 1732.

Rochester’s Poems are to be found in the 10th volume of Johnson’s Works of the English Poets, 1779.

Sodom. 1684. No copy of the printed work is known. The play exists in manuscript in the British Museum, Harl. MSS., 7312. See, also, Pisanus Fraxi, Centuria Librorum Absconditorum, 1879.

Rochester, John Wilmot, Earl of. Letters to his wife and others. British Museum, Harl. MSS., 7003; Add. MSS., 4162.

—— A Letter to Dr. Burnet from the Earl of Rochester. 1680.

Biography and Criticism

Brown, Tom, and Gildon, Charles. A Select Collection of Original Letters written by the most Eminent Persons on various Entertaining Subjects, and on many Important Occasions: from the Reign of Henry the Eighth, to the present Time. 1697.

Burnet, Gilbert. Some Passages of the Life and Death of the Right Honourable John Earl of Rochester, who died the 26th of July, 1680. Written by his own Direction on his Death-Bed, by Gilbert Burnet, D.D. 1680.

—— History of my own Time. A new edition based on that of M. J. Routh, D.D. Part 1. The Reign of Charles the Second. Ed. Airy, O. 1897.

Dryden, John. The Critical and Miscellaneous Prose Works of John Dryden, now first collected: with Notes and Illustrations: an account of the Life and Writings of the Author, grounded on Original and Authentick Documents, and A Collection of His Letters, The Greater Part of which has never before been published. By Malone, Edmond. 1800.

Etheredge, Sir George, The Works of. Plays and Poems. Ed. Verity, A. W. 1888.

Forgues, E. D. John Wilmot, Comte de Rochester. Revue des Deux Mondes, August and September, 1857.

Hamilton, Anthony. Mémoires du Chevalier De Grammont par Hamilton d’après les meilleures éditions Anglaises accompagnés d’un Appendice contenant des extraits du journal de Samuel Pepys et de celui de John Evelyn sur les faits et les personnages des Mémoires de Grammont. Des Dépêches du Comte de Cominges Ambassadeur français in Londres. D’une Introduction, de Commentaires, de Notices, de Notes et d’un Index Par M. Gustave Brunet. Nouvelle édition. 1883.

Hamilton, Anthony. Memoirs of the Court of Charles the Second, by Count Grammont, with numerous additions and illustrations, as edited by Sir Walter Scott. Also the Personal History of Charles, including the King’s own account of his escape and preservation after the battle of Worcester, as dictated to Pepys and The Boscobel Tracts, or contemporary narratives of his Majesty’s adventures, from the murder of his father to the restoration. 1846.

Parsons, Robert. A Sermon Preached at the Funeral of the Right Honourable John Earl of Rochester. 1680.

Pepys, Samuel. The Diary of Samuel Pepys, M.A., F. R. S.; Clerk of the Acts and Secretary to the Admiralty. Transcribed by Bright, Mynors, from the shorthand manuscript in the Pepysian Library, Magdalene College, Cambridge. Ed., with additions, Wheatley, H. B. 1904 ff.

Saintsbury, George. A History of English Prosody from the Twelfth Century to the Present Day, vol. II, from Shakespeare to Crabbe. 1908.


Horace’s Art of Poetry, made English by the Earl of Roscommon. 1680.

An Essay on Translated Verse. 1684. Second edition enlarg’d. 1685.

A Prospect of Death: a Pindarique Essay. 1704.

A Collection of Divine Hymns and Poems. 1709.

Poems by the Earl of Roscommon. To which is added, An Essay on Poetry by the Earl of Mulgrave, now Duke of Buckingham. Together with Poems By Mr. Richard Duke. 1717.

Q. Horatii Flacci de Arte Poetica Liber. Latin and English, with notes by the Earl of Roscommon. 1733.

The Christian Poet or Poems by Wentworth Dillon, the Earl of Roscommon. 1735.

[The poems of Roscommon are to be found in many collections and Miscellanies, and, by a strange irony, are frequently printed with the works of Rochester, from which in spirit and sympathy they are furthest removed.]


Fenton’s Observations on the Works of Edmund Waller, Esq. 1730.

Knightly Chetwood’s manuscript Life of Roscommon. Baker’s MSS., XXXVI, 27.


Pompey the Great: a Tragedy. Translated out of French by certain Persons of Honour. 1664.

The Mulberry Garden. A Comedy. 1668.

Antony and Cleopatra. A Tragedy. As it was acted at the Duke’s Theatre. 1677.

Bellamira, or the Mistress. A Comedy. 1687.

The Happy Pair: or a Poem on Matrimony. 1702.

The Grumbler. A Comedy. 1719.

The Poetical Works of the Honourable Sir Charles Sedley, Baronet, and his Speeches in Parliament. Published from the original MS. by Captain Ayloffe. 1707.

The Works of the Honourable Sir Charles Sedley, Bart. In Prose and Verse. In Two Volumes. Containing The Translations of Virgil’s Pastorals, the Battle and Government of Bees, etc. With His Speeches, Political Pieces, Poems, Songs, and Plays. The greatest Part never printed before … with Memoirs of the Author’s Life, Written by an Eminent Hand. 1778.

Biography and Criticism

Lissner, C. M. Sir Charles Sedley’s Leben und Werke. 1905.


His poems have not been collected, but may be found in such collections as State Poems, 1704, and A New Miscellany of Original Poems, 1701.


Salmacis, Lyrian, and Sylvia … with other poems and translations. 1651.

The Tragedies of Seneca translated into English verse. 1701.

Miscellaneous Poems. 1819.

GEORGE STEPNEY (1663–1707)

Epistle to Charles Montague, Esq. 1691.

Poem to the memory of Queen Mary. 1695.

Poems. 1701. See, also, The Grove, 1721, and Johnson’s collection.

WILLIAM WALSH (1663–1708)

Funeral elegy on the death of the Queen. 1695.

Works. 1736, 1802. See, also, the collection of Chalmers.

Bullen, A. H. Musa Proterva. 1889.

Courthope, W. J. History of English poetry, vol. III. 1903.