Sir William Davenant

(1606 - 1668 / England)

Sir William Davenant
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Sir William Davenant (or D'Avenant), dramatist and theater manager, poet and courtier, is a link between the older Elizabethan and Jacobean drama and the new Restoration drama. From his innovations improving the platform stage our modern playhouse is derived; he refined the genre of the heroic drama with the accompanying themes of love and honor; by tradition he first brought women onto the English stage; and his dramas influenced those of the next several generations, particularly John Dryden's. If he is remembered only for his "adaptations" of Shakespeare we do him disservice.

Davenant was born in Oxford in late February 1606, the son of John Davenant, vinter and ... more »

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Best Poem of Sir William Davenant

To A Mistress Dying

Lover. YOUR beauty, ripe and calm and fresh
   As eastern summers are,
Must now, forsaking time and flesh,
   Add light to some small star.

Philosopher. Whilst she yet lives, were stars decay'd,
   Their light by hers relief might find;
But Death will lead her to a shade
   Where Love is cold and Beauty blind.

Lover. Lovers, whose priests all poets are,
   Think every mistress, when she dies,
Is changed at least into a star:
   And who dares doubt the ...

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