Early Life Born in England in 1606 Eldest son of a wealthy landowner Enrolled at Kings College in Cambridge in 1620, but became bored with school and left without a degree in 1621 Elected to Parliament at age 16, to which he eventually became a noted orator
Early Life Waller stealthily married a wealthy heiress of the Court of Aldermen in 1631, to which he was fined heavily This would not be the last time Wallers wealth allowed him to evade the law The heiress died in 1634 Over the next few years, Waller romantically pursued two women he celebrated as Sarcharissa and Amoret but the feelings were not reciprocated Waller claimed to be rendered temporarily insane by his romantic rejections This unrequited love would lead to some of his earliest works
Early Works Was a writer in the style know as cavalier Early poems such as At Penshurst and Sacharissa and Amoret celebrated both the beauty and cruelty of his past loves, but were written with such ease that Wallers passion comes across as no more than conventional warmth Wallers poetry has been lauded for refining the form of the heroic couplet, but his reputation has declined over the years, largely in part due to his failure to portray genuine passion in his work and his disgraceful political career After regaining his emotional foothold, Waller began to give political speeches that were heavily admired and eventually printed While in this park I sing, the listening deer Attend my passion, and forget to fear. When to the beeches I report my flame, They bow their heads, as if they felt the same. To gods appealing, when I reach their bowers With loud complaints, they answer me in showers. To thee a wild and cruel soul is given, More deaf than trees, and prouder than the heaven! Tell me, lovely, loving pair! Why so kind, and so severe? Why so careless of our care, Only to yourselves so dear? By this cunning change of hearts, You the power of Love control, While the Boy's deluded darts Can arrive at neither soul.
Go, Lovely Rose Go Lovely Rose is the most well know work produced by Waller Waller wrote his poem as a tribute to Lady Sacharissa. Go lovely rose displays Wallers mastery of rhythm, his smooth polished style and his own arrogance. Go, lovely rose-- Tell her that wastes her time and me, That now she knows, When I resemble her to thee, How sweet and fair she seems to be. Tell her that's young, And shuns to have her graces spied, That hadst thou sprung In deserts where no men abide, Thou must have uncommended died. Small is the worth Of beauty from the light retired: Bid her come forth, Suffer herself to be desired, And not blush so to be admired. Then die!-- that she The common fate of all things rare May read in thee; How small a part of time they share That are so wondrous sweet and fair!
Wallers Plot During his time in Parliament, Waller often flip-flopped his support between rivaling parties In 1643, he drifted towards support for the Kings cause, and was quickly outed as being the leader of a conspiracy to establish London as stronghold of the King After being arrested, Waller was able to escape execution by betraying his co-conspirators and paying £10,000 in fines, where he was then banished to France. His co-conspirators, which included his brother-in-law, were executed due to this betrayal His poems were first published in a collection in 1645 (while he was an exile), and contained a handful of his early love poems, as well as a miniature epic entitled The Battle of the Summer Islands This epic was a demonstration of some experimental techniques in varying lyrical meter, which was likely influenced by his chaotic political endeavors
The Couplet Wallers period of exile yielded his best and most heralded work Panegyric to my Lord Protector, Upon a Late Storm, and of the Death of His Highness ensuing in the same, Instructions to a Painter, and Of the Last Verses in the Book all showed Wallers tame but refined construction of the traditional couplet Waller had been quoted as saying, of poetry, I never saw a good copy of English verses; they want smoothness; then I began to essay. The docile manner of this work during his exile can be seen as an emotional response to his political neutering that became of his conspiracy in Parliament Hither the oppressed shall henceforth resort, Justice to crave, and succor, at your court; And then your Highness, not for ours alone, But for the world's protector shall be known. Wallers method of grouping couplets with succinct accents gave him significant recognition, as it proved to be a stark contrast to other poets of the time who wrote in a more paragraphic manner
Style Waller was considered by many to be a pioneer and one of the first refiners of the English language Instead of using elaborate metaphors, his work was based more on the smoothness of rhythm and a brisk sense of clarity Waller managed to write without clumsiness but also with eloquence, a combination that many other poets in his time failed to grasp
In 1651, Wallers banishment was revoked and he returned to England 1660 saw the publishing of To the King, upon his Majesty's Happy Return, directed towards Charles II After being questioned by Charles as to why the piece was inferior to previous works of his dedicated to political figures, Waller replied: Sir, we poets never succeed so well in writing truth as in fiction. The next 17 years were spent as a figure in the House of Commons Waller eventually retired to a cottage in the woods outside London, where he stayed until his death in 1687 Aftermath