Edmund Waller

Edmund Waller, 1606–87, English poet. He studied at Eton and Cambridge and became a prominent speaker in Parliament at a young age. He married twice (1631 and 1644), but his early poems are addressed to "Sacharissa," Lady Dorothy Sidney, who refused to marry him. Although at first an antiroyalist, he later supported Charles I against Parliament and conceived "Waller's plot" (1643) to secure the city of London for the king. The plot was discovered, and Waller was fined and banished. He was pardoned in 1651 and after the Restoration was again in Parliament, where he served until his death. His verse is noted for its smoothness and polish, but aside from a few amatory poems his importance rests on his contributions in style, most notably the development of the heroic couplet. The first collection of his works appeared in 1645 and immediately went through several editions. His best-known lyrics are "Go, Lovely Rose" and "On a Girdle."

See his poems ed. by G. T. Drury (1893, repr. 1968); A. W. Allison, Toward an Augustan Poetic (1962).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Toward An Augustan Poetic: Edmund Waller's 'Reform' of English Poetry
Alexander Ward Allison.
University of Kentucky Press, 1962
Humor in British Literature, from the Middle Ages to the Restoration: A Reference Guide
Don L. E. Nilsen.
Greenwood Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: "Edmund Waller (1606-1687)" begins on p. 176
A History of English Literature
Emile Legouis; Louis Cazamian; Helen Douglas-Irvine.
Macmillan, vol.1, 1926
Librarian’s tip: "Edmund Waller" begins on p. 362
The English Renaissance, 1510-1688
V. de Sola Pinto.
Cresset Press, 1938
Librarian’s tip: "Edmund Waller" begins on p. 332
FREE! The Lives of the English Poets
Samuel Johnson.
Jones, 1825
Librarian’s tip: "Waller" begins on p. 67
Edmund Waller, English Precieux
Kaminski, Thomas.
Philological Quarterly, Vol. 79, No. 1, Winter 2000
Edmund Waller's Sacred Poems
Hillyer, Richard.
Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, Vol. 39, No. 1, Winter 1999
Poetry and Revolution: An Anthology of British and Irish Verse, 1625-1660
Peter Davidson.
Clarendon Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: "Edmund Waller" begins on p. 30 and "Edmund Waller" begins on p. 489
Restoration Verse, 1660-1715
William Kerr.
MacMillan, 1930
Librarian’s tip: "Edmund Waller (1606-87)" begins on p. 1
FREE! English Poetry (1170-1892)
John Matthews Manly.
Ginn, 1907
Librarian’s tip: "Edmund Waller (1606-1687)" begins on p. 174
The Bronze Treasury: An Anthology of 81 Obscure English Poets Together with Their Biographical Portraits
Harry Kemp.
The Macaulay Company, 1927
Librarian’s tip: "Edmund Waller 1605-1687" begins on p. 122
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