Edmund Waller, the Poet, FRS, MP

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Edmund Waller, the Poet (Waller of Hall Barns in Beaconsfield), FRS, MP

Birthdate: (81)
Birthplace: Coleshill, Hertfordshire, England
Death: October 21, 1687 (81)
Hall Barn, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England
Place of Burial: Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of Robert Waller, of Beaconsfield and Anne Waller
Husband of Anne Waller
Father of Ana Maria Dormer; Robert Waller; Charles Waller, Sr.; Dr. Stephen Waller; Cecelia Harvey and 4 others
Brother of Agnes Waller; Onely Waller; Daughter Waller; Elizabeth Pettis; Anne Kyrle and 11 others

Occupation: Poet Laureate
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Edmund Waller, the Poet, FRS, MP

Edmund Waller, FRS (3 March 1606 – 21 October 1687) was an English poet and politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1624 and 1679.

Edmund Waller was the eldest son of Robert Waller of Coleshill, Herts, and Anne Hampden, his wife; thus he was first cousin to John Hampden. He was descended from the Waller family of Groombridge Place, Kent. Early in his childhood his father moved the family to Beaconsfield. Of Waller's early education all we know is his own account that he "was bred under several ill, dull and ignorant schoolmasters, until he went to Mr Dobson at Wycombe, who was a good schoolmaster and had been an Eton scholar." Robert Waller died in 1616, and Anne, a lady of rare force of character, sent him to Eton and to the University of Cambridge. He was admitted a fellow-commoner of King's College, Cambridge on 22 March 1620, he left without a degree.

As a member of Parliament during the political turmoil of the 1640s, he was arrested for his part in a plot to establish London as a stronghold of the king; by betraying his colleagues and by lavish bribes, he avoided death. He later wrote poetic tributes to both Oliver Cromwell (1655) and Charles II (1660). Rejecting the dense intellectual verse of Metaphysical poetry, he adopted generalizing statement, easy associative development, and urbane social comment. With his emphasis on definitive phrasing through inversion and balance, he prepared the way for the emergence of the heroic couplet. By the end of the 17th century the heroic couplet was the dominant form of English poetry. Waller's lyrics include the well-known “Go, lovely Rose!”

Waller surreptitiously married a wealthy ward of the Court of Aldermen, in 1631. He was brought before the Star Chamber for this offence, and heavily fined. After bearing him a son and a daughter at Beaconsfield, died in 1634. It was about this time that the poet was elected into the "Club" of Lucius Cary, 2nd Viscount Falkland.

In about 1635 he met Lady Dorothy Sidney, eldest daughter of Robert Sidney, 2nd Earl of Leicester, who was then eighteen years of age. He formed a romantic passion for her, whom he celebrated under the name of Sacharissa. She rejected him, and married Henry Spencer, 1st Earl of Sunderland in 1639. Disappointment is said to have made Waller temporarily insane. However, he wrote a long, graceful and eminently sober letter to the bride's sister on the occasion of the wedding.



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Edmund Waller, the Poet, FRS, MP's Timeline

March 3, 1606
Coleshill, Hertfordshire, England
Age 27
Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England
Age 32
Buckinghamshire, England
Age 53
October 21, 1687
Age 81
Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England