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Weever, John

WEEVER, JOHN (1576-1632), English poet and antiquary, a native of Lancashire, was born in 1576. He was educated at Queens' College, Cambridge, where he resided for about four years from 1594, but he took no degree. In 1599 he published Epigrammes in the Oldest Cut and Newest Fashion, containing a sonnet on Shakespeare, and epigrams on Samuel Daniel, Michael Drayton, Ben Jonson, William Warner and Christopher Middleton, all of which are valuable to the literary historian. In 1601 he published The Mirror of Martyrs or The Life and Death of . . . Sir John Oldcastle, which he calls in his preface the " first trew Oldcastle," perhaps on account of the fact that Shakespeare's FalstafE first appeared as Sir John Oldcastle. In the fourth stanza of this long poem, in which Sir John is his own panegyrist, occurs a reminiscence of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar which serves to fix the date of the play. After travelling in France, the Low Countries and Italy, Weever settled in Clerkenwell, and made friends among the chief antiquaries of his time. The result of extensive travels in his own country appeared in Ancient Funerall Monuments (1631), now valuable on account of the later obliteration of the inscriptions.

The Huth Library contains a unique copy of a thumb-book Agnus Dei (1606), containing a history of Christ. The Mirror of Martyrs has been reprinted for the Roxburghe Club (1872).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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