Giles Fletcher The Elder
Biography of Giles Fletcher The Elder
Giles Fletcher, the Elder was an English poet and diplomat, member of the English Parliament.
Giles Fletcher was the son of Richard Fletcher, vicar of Bishop's Stortford. He spent his early life at Cranbrook before entering Eton College about 1561. From there, Fletcher continued his education at King's College, Cambridge, where he was appointed a fellow in 1568 and gained his B.A. in the academic year 1569-70.
Studying Greek and poetry, Fletcher contributed to the translation of several of Demosthenes' orations. On 22 March 1572, Fletcher became a lecturer in King's and held this position until March the following year, until he became a lecturer in Greek, a position which he held until Michaelmas term 1579. Continually rising within the academia, Fletcher rose to dean of arts, the highest position he was to attain at Kings, in 1580-81.
However, this would not last long, for he decided to marry, forcing him to give up his fellowship. On 16 January, in his father's church, he married Joan Sheafe. Returning to Cambridge later, he received his Doctor of Civil Law degree. After attaining his law degree, the family settled back in Cranbrook, where once again the family was united. On 8 April 1582, Giles and Joan's first child, Phineas Fletcher, was baptized. During the same year, Giles was made chancellor of the diocese of Sussex.
In 1584, Fletcher was elected to the parliament which began on 23 November, for Winchelsea, one of the Cinque Ports. It was at this point that the Fletchers would permanently call London home. During his stint in Parliament, Fletcher served on three committees. In 1588 he was an ambassador to Russia to reestablish the treaty with tsar Feodor I of Russia. Fletcher published a treatise, Of the Russe Common Wealth (1591). The treaty to be reestablished was primarily concerning the English trade, but before he departed Queen Elizabeth made him a Master of Requests. The account of Russia Fletcher portrayed gives a vivid description into the Russian world pre-1600.
He is best known for his sonnet Licia. He is the father of the poet Giles Fletcher Junior although the two have commonly been confused as the other.
Giles Fletcher The Elder's Works:
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Giles Fletcher The Elder Poems
Licia Sonnets 12
I wish sometimes, although a worthless thing, Spurred by ambition, glad to aspire, Myself a monarch, or some mighty king, And then my thoughts do wish for to be higher.
Licia Sonnets 01
Bright matchless star, the honour of the sky, From whose clear shine heaven's vault hath all his light, I send these poems to your graceful eye; Do you but take them, and they have their right.
Licia Sonnets 02
Weary was love and sought to take his rest, He made his choice, upon a virgin's lap; And slyly crept from thence unto her breast, Where still he meant to sport him in his hap;
Licia Sonnets 25
Seven are the lights that wander in the skies, And at these seven, I wonder in my love. So see the moon, how pale she doth arise, Standing amazed, as though she durst not move;
Licia Sonnets 20
First did I fear, when first my love began, Possessed in fits by watchful jealousy I sought to keep what I by favor won, And brooked no partner in my love to be.
Licia Sonnets 15
I stood amazed, and saw my Licia shine, Fairer than Phoeligbus, in his brightest pride, Set forth in colors by a hand divine, Where naught was wanting but a soul to guide.
Licia Sonnets 05
Love with her hair my love by force hath tied, To serve her lips, her eyes, her voice, her hand; I smiled for joy, when I the boy espied To lie unchained and live at her command.
Licia Sonnets 03
The heavens beheld the beauty of my queen, And all amazed, to wonder thus began: "Why dotes not Jove, as erst we all have seen, And shapes himself like to a seemly man?
Licia Sonnets 23
My love was masked, and armed with a fan, To see the sun so careless of his light, Which stood and gazed, and gazing waxéd wan To see a star himself that was more bright.
Licia Sonnets 10
A painter drew the image of the boy, Swift love, with wings all naked, and yet blind; With bow and arrows, bent for to destroy; I blamed his skill, and fault I thus did find
Licia Sonnets 26
I live, sweet love, whereas the gentle wind Murmurs with sport in midst of thickest boughs, Where loving woodbine doth the harbor bind, And chirping birds do echo forth my vows;
Licia Sonnets 18
I swear, fair Licia, still for to be thine, By heart, by eyes, by what I held most dear; Thou checked mine oath, and said: these were not mine, And that I had no right by them to swear.
Licia Sonnets 14
My love lay sleeping, where birds music made, Shutting her eyes, disdainful of the light; The heat was great but greater was the shade Which her defended from his burning sight.
Licia Sonnets 04
Love and my love did range the forest wild, Mounted alike, upon swift coursers both. Love her encountered, though he was a child. "Let's strive," saith he, whereat my love was wroth,
Licia Sonnets 20
First did I fear, when first my love began,
Possessed in fits by watchful jealousy
I sought to keep what I by favor won,
And brooked no partner in my love to be.
But tyrant sickness fed upon my love,
And spread his ensigns, dyed with color white;
Then was suspicion glad for to remove,
And loving much did fear to lose her quite.
Erect, fair sweet, the colors thou didst wear;