Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Cowley, Abraham, an English poet (1618-1667), contemporary of Milton, whose fame he eclipsed in his own day, though now he is almost neglected. He was born in the City of London, and first had his poetic instincts roused by finding among his mother's books and reading Spenser's Faery Queen. At 10 years old he wrote a poem, Pyramus and Thisbe, and in 1630 Constantia and Philetus. He then went to Westminster school, and wrote an elegy on the death of Dudley, Lord Carlton. At 16 he produced Love's Riddle; and in 1636 he proceeded to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he wrote the Epic of King David, a work to which Milton is said to have been under obligation. He took the Royalist side in the Civil war, and went to Oxford, where he enjoyed the friendship of Falkland. After the battle of Marston Moor he went into exile, and did the royal family much service by conducting a cipher correspondence between Charles I. and the Queen Henrietta Maria. He travelled much and worked hard, but still devoted much attention to literature. In 1656 he was in England, and enjoyed great fame. He published a collection of his works, among them his Pindaric Odes, and some miscellanies. His Cutter of Coleman Street appeared in 1663. He spent the later years of his life in literary retirement at Chertsey. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.