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D E N H A M.
Sir JOHN DENHAM very
little is known but what is redated of him by Wood, or by himself.
He was born at Dublin in 1615; the only son of Sir John Denham, of Little Horsely in Effex, then chief baron of the Exchequer in Ireland, and of Eleanor, daughter of Sir Garret Moore baron of Mellefont,
Two years afterwards, his father, being made one of the barons of the Exchequer in England, brought him away from his native country, and edu cated him in London.
In 1631 he was sent to Oxford, Where he was considered as a dream
ing young man, given more to dice “ and cards than study;” and therefore gave no prognosticks of his future eminence; nor was suspected to conceal, under sluggishness and laxity, a genius born to improve the literature of his · country. When he was,
afterwards, removed to Lincoln's Inn, he profescuted the common law with sufficient appearance of application; yet did not
lose his propensity to cards and dice; but was very often plundered by gamesters.
Being severely reproved for this fo} ly, he profeffed, and perhaps believed, himself reclaimed; and, to testify the fincerity of his repentance, wrote and published “ An Efray upon Gaming.”
He seems to have divided his studies between law and poetry; for, in 1636, he translated the second book of the
Two years after, his father died; and then, notwithstanding his resolutions and professions, he returned again to the vice of gaming, and loft several thousand pounds that had been left him.
In 1641, he published “ The Sophy." This seems to have given him his first hold of the publick attention; for Waller remarked, “ that he broke out 166 like the Irish rebellion . threescore 46 thousand strong, when nobody was
aware, or in the least fufpected it.” An observation which could have had no propriety, had his poetical abilities been known before.
He was after that pricked for fheriff of Surrey, and made governor of Farnham Castle for the king; but he soon Tesigned that charge, and retreated to Oxford, where, in 1643, he published « Cooper's Hill.”
This poem had such reputation as to excite the common artifice by which