Carkesse, James

Carkesse, James
(fl. 1679)
   Little is known of this poet, who was educated at Westminster School and in 1652 was elected to a scholarship at Christ Church, Oxford. He was a clerk in Samuel Pepys's office at the Admiralty. It seems probable that he joined the Roman catholic church before 1679, in which year he published Lucida Intervalla: containing divers miscellaneous Poems written at Finsbury and Bethlem by the Doctor's Patient Extraordinary. It seems, from what Carkesse said, that he wrote poetry to prove that was not insane, but the doctor in charge of Bethlem hospital (Bedlam), Thomas Allen, insisted that if Carkesse stopped writing poetry he would then be fit to be discharged. Copies of Lucida Intervalla are held in many university libraries around the world. Some of his poems: "His Petition to Mr. Speaker," "His Rule of Behaviour: If You Are Civil, I Am Sober," "On the Doctors' Telling Him that till He Left off Making Verses He Was Not Fit to be Discharged."
   Sources: Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition, 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. Lucida Intervalla by James Carkasse. The Augustan Reprint Society, 1679. Microsoft Encarta 2006 (DVD). Microsoft Corporation, 2006. Notes on the history of mental health care ( Patterns of Madness in the Eighteenth Century: A Reader. Allan Ingram, ed. Liverpool University Press, 1998. The Chatto Book of Nonsense Poetry. Hugh Haughton, ed. Chatto & Windus, 1988. The New Oxford Book of Seventeenth Century Verse. Alistair Fowler, ed. Oxford University Press, 1991.

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

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