D'Avenant, Sir William

D'Avenant, Sir William
(1606-1668)
   Born in Oxford, he was the son of John D'Avenant, mayor of Oxford, although it was rumored that he was the natural son of William Shakespeare. His first play, The Cruell Brother, was performed in 1627. A severe case of syphilis (in which he lost his nose, and almost his life) interrupted his writing career for three years. He was poet laureate after Ben Jonson in 1638. During the English Civil War he was a staunch royalist and was knighted for his bravery in 1643. In 1650, on his way to Maryland as governor, he was arrested by a man of war and spent the next two years in prison in Cowes Castle, on the Isle of Wight. At the Restoration Davenant opened the Duke's Theatre-which was later amalgamated with King's Company in Drury Lane and became a successful theater manager and playwright. D'Avenant ("Sweet Swan of Isis") was buried in Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey. Some of his poems: "Aubade," "Gondibert," "Ladies in Arms," "Praise and Prayer," "The Coquet," "To a Mistress Dying," "Weep No More for What is Past."
   Sources: Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. English Poetry: Author Search. Chadwyck-Healey Ltd., 1995 (http://www.lib.utexas.edu:8080/search/epoetry/author.html). Poemhunter (www.poemhunter.com). 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 Faber Book of English Verse. John Hayward, ed. Faber & Faber, 1958. The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000. Westminster Abbey Official Guide (no date).

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

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