Thomas Randolph (poet)

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Thomas Randolph (15 June 1605 – March 1635) was an English poet and dramatist.

Poet person who writes and publishes poetry

A poet is a person who creates poetry. Poets may describe themselves as such or be described as such by others. A poet may simply be a writer of poetry, or may perform their art to an audience.


Early life and family

Thomas was born at Newnham, Northamptonshire, near Daventry, England to William and Elizabeth Randolph. He was baptized on 18 June 1605 [lower-alpha 1] and was the uncle of American colonist William Randolph. Around 1613 his mother died, shortly after giving birth to Randolph's sister. His father remarried in 1618 to Dorothy Lane West, two years after the family moved to a house in Little Houghton where his father was steward to Lord Zouch. [1] Thomas had two full brothers, William and Robert, and a sister, Anntonette Randolph Dilliard, [lower-alpha 2] as well as three half-brothers, John, Richard, and George.

Newnham, Northamptonshire village in Northamptonshire

Newnham is a village in the Daventry district of the county of Northamptonshire in England. The village is 2 miles (3.2 km) south of Daventry, 3 miles (4.8 km) west from Weedon Bec, 6 miles (9.7 km) west of junction 16 of the M1 motorway and 11 miles (18 km) west of Northampton. The A45 road runs a mile northwest of the village. The nearest railway station is at Long Buckby, 8 miles (13 km) northeast.

Daventry market town in Northamptonshire, England

Daventry is a market town and civil parish in western Northamptonshire, England, close to the border with Warwickshire. At the 2011 Census Daventry had a population of 25,026, making it the sixth largest town in Northamptonshire. It is the administrative centre of the larger Daventry District, which had a population of 78,070 at the 2011 census.

William Randolph American politician,born 1650

William Randolph I was an American colonist, landowner, planter, merchant, and politician who played an important role in the history and government of the English colony of Virginia. He moved to Virginia sometime between 1669 and 1673, and married Mary Isham a few years later. His descendants include many prominent individuals including Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, Paschal Beverly Randolph, Robert E. Lee, Peyton Randolph, Edmund Randolph, John Randolph of Roanoke, George W. Randolph, and Edmund Ruffin. Genealogists have taken an interest in him for his progeny's many marital alliances, referring to him and Mary Isham as "the Adam and Eve of Virginia".


Randolph was admitted in 1618 as a King's Scholar to the College of St. Peter, better known as Westminster School [1] and then Trinity College, Cambridge in 1624 at the age of 18. [2] He was awarded his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1628, promoted to Master of Arts in 1631, and became a major fellow of his college in the same year.

Westminster School school in Westminster, London, England

Westminster School is an independent day and boarding school in London, England, located within the precincts of Westminster Abbey. With origins before the 12th century, the educational tradition of Westminster probably dates back as far as 960, in line with the Abbey's history. Boys are admitted to the Under School at age seven and to the senior school at age thirteen; girls are admitted at age sixteen into the Sixth Form. The school has around 750 pupils; around a quarter are boarders, most of whom go home at weekends, after Saturday morning school. The school motto, Dat Deus Incrementum, is taken from the New Testament, specifically 1 Corinthians 3:6.

Trinity College, Cambridge constituent college of the University of Cambridge in England

Trinity College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in England. With around 600 undergraduates, 300 graduates, and over 180 fellows, it is the largest college in either of the Oxbridge universities by number of undergraduates. In terms of total student numbers, it is second only to Homerton College, Cambridge.

A Bachelor of Arts is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, sciences, or both. Bachelor of Arts programs generally take three to four years depending on the country, institution, and specific specializations, majors, or minors. The word baccalaureus should not be confused with baccalaureatus, which refers to the one- to two-year postgraduate Bachelor of Arts with Honors degree in some countries.

Prior to official publication, Randolph wrote several pieces before entering Westminster, including several epitaphs for people close to the family, the first written when he was 16 in the year 1621. While at Cambridge, he contributed what was probably his first official literary contribution: a poem that was included in a collection celebrating the marriage of King Charles to Princess Henrietta Maria. [1] Around 1626, Thomas' first dramatic production was produced at Cambridge: Aristippus or The Jovial Philosopher. He also revived the tradition of Saltings at Cambridge and his Salting is one of the few that have survived to our day. The revival was repeated the following year by a student one year below Randolph: John Milton. [1] Randolph continued writing throughout his educational career.

Saltings were festive ceremonies which, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, initiated Cambridge and Oxford freshmen into the academic and social communities of their individual colleges. Humorous speeches by one or more sophisters introduced first-year students to the assembled college society. Recently texts of several salting speeches have been identified. Relatively little is known about the conventions governing these entertainments; when the tradition died out in the mid-seventeenth century, most of the performance details were lost as well. Nevertheless, elements of the tradition are preserved in the texts and may be amplified by students' diaries, tutors' account books, and university statutes regulating the custom.

John Milton 17th-century English poet and civil servant

John Milton was an English poet, polemicist, man of letters, and civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under its Council of State and later under Oliver Cromwell. He wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, and is best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost (1667), written in blank verse.


He soon gave promise as a writer of comedy. Ben Jonson, not an easily satisfied critic, adopted him as one of his "sons." He addressed three poems to Jonson, one on the occasion of Thomas's formal "adoption" as a Son of Ben, another on the failure of Jonson's The New Inn, and the third an eclogue, describing Thomas's own studies at Cambridge. Randolph was one of the most popular playwrights of his time and was expected to become Poet Laureate after Ben Jonson. [1] It was his untimely death at age 29, two years before Jonson's death, that prevented this. After Cambridge, Randolph lived with his father at Little Houghton, Northamptonshire for some time, and afterwards with William Stafford of Blatherwycke Hall, where he died aged 29. He was buried in Blatherwycke church on 17 March 1635 and his epitaph was written by Peter Hausted, the author of The Rival Friends, on his monument, commissioned by Christopher Hatton, 1st Baron Hatton.

Ben Jonson 16th/17th-century English playwright, poet, and actor

Benjamin Jonson was an English playwright, poet, actor, and literary critic, whose artistry exerted a lasting impact upon English poetry and stage comedy. He popularised the comedy of humours. He is best known for the satirical plays Every Man in His Humour (1598), Volpone, or The Fox, The Alchemist (1610) and Bartholomew Fair (1614) and for his lyric and epigrammatic poetry; he is generally regarded as the second most important English playwright during the reign of James VI and I after William Shakespeare.

Sons of Ben were followers of Ben Jonson in English poetry and drama in the first half of the seventeenth century. These men followed Ben Jonson's philosophy and his style of poetry. These men, unlike Jonson, were loyal to the king.

Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom title awarded

The British Poet Laureate is an honorary position appointed by the monarch of the United Kingdom on the advice of the Prime Minister. The role does not entail any specific duties, but there is an expectation that the holder will write verse for significant national occasions. The origins of the laureateship date back to 1616 when a pension was provided to Ben Jonson, but the first official holder of the position was John Dryden, appointed in 1668 by Charles II. On the death of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who held the post between November 1850 and October 1892, there was a break of four years as a mark of respect; Tennyson's laureate poems "Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington" and "The Charge of the Light Brigade" were particularly cherished by the Victorian public. Five poets, Thomas Gray, Samuel Rogers, Walter Scott, Philip Larkin and Seamus Heaney, turned down the laureateship. The holder of the position as of 2019 is Carol Ann Duffy, who was appointed in May 2009 on a fixed ten-year term.

Randolph's reputation as a wit is attested by the verses addressed to him by his contemporaries and by the stories attached to his name. His earliest printed work is Aristippus, Or, The Joviall Philosopher. Presented in a private shew, To which is added, The Conceited Pedlar (1630). [lower-alpha 3] It is a gay interlude burlesquing a lecture in philosophy, the whole piece being an argument to support the claims of sack against small beer. The Conceited Pedlar is an amusing monologue delivered by the pedlar, who defines himself as an "individuum vagum, or the primum mobile of tradesmen, a walking-burse or movable exchange, a Socratical citizen of the vast universe, or a peripatetical journeyman, that, like another Atlas, carries his heavenly shop on shoulders." He then proceeds to display his wares with a running satirical comment.

Philosophy intellectual and/or logical study of general and fundamental problems

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. The term was probably coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers also pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust? Do humans have free will?

Sack (wine)

Sack is an antiquated wine term referring to white fortified wine imported from mainland Spain or the Canary Islands. There was sack of different origins such as:

The drama, The Jealous Lovers, was presented by the students of Trinity College, Cambridge, before the king and queen in 1632. [3] The Muse's Looking-Glass is hardly a drama. Roscius presents the extremes of virtue and vice in pairs, and last of all the "golden mediocrity" who announces herself as the mother of all the virtues. Amyntas, or The Impossible Dowry, a pastoral printed in 1638, with a number of miscellaneous Latin and English poems, completes the list of Randolph's authenticated work. Hey for Honesty, down with Knavery, a comedy, is doubtfully assigned to him. Randolph has been proposed as the author of the anonymous manuscript play, The Fairy Knight , though the attribution has not won much approval from critics.

His works were edited by W. C. Hazlitt in 1875.

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  1. A few sources list 15 June as his baptismal, not birth, date. However, the majority have it as listed. [1]
  2. Sources list 27 October as her marriage, to George Dilliard via Virginia Marriage Proposal Contract, Virginia Archives/>
  3. These are two separate works: Aristippus, or, The Joviall Philosopher, written circa 1626 and The Conceited Pedlar written in 1627. In 1630, they were published together as one book. [1]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 RICHEK, ROSLYN G. "THOMAS RANDOLPH (1605-1635): CHRISTIAN HUMANIST, ACADEMIC AND LONDON THEATER PLAYWRIGHT." Order No. 8215916 The University of Oklahoma, 1982. Ann Arbor: ProQuest. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.
  2. "Randolph, Thomas (RNDF624T)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. Chainey, Graham (1995). A literary history of Cambridge. Cambridge University Press. p. 38. ISBN   0-521-47681-X.