Feltham - Encyclopedia




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FELTHAM, or [[Felltham, Owen]] (d. 1668), English moralist, was the son of Thomas Feltham or Felltham of Mutford in Suffolk. The date of his birth is given variously as 1602 and 1609. Hs is famous chiefly as the author of a volume entitled Resolves,Divine, Moral and Political, containing one hundred short and pithy essays. To later issues of the Resolves Feltham appended Lusoria, a collection of forty poems. Hardly anything is known of his life except that T. Randolph, the adopted "son" of Ben Jonson, addressed a poem of compliment to him, and became his friend, and that Feltham attacked Ben Jonson in an ode shortly before the aged poet's death, but contributed a flattering elegy to the J onsonus Virbius in 1638. Early in life Feltham visited Flanders, and published observations in 1652 under the title of A Brief Character of the Low Countries. He was a strict highchurchman and a royalist; he even described Charles as "Christ the Second." hallam stigmatized Feltham as one of our worst writers. He has not, indeed, the elegance of Bacon, whom he emulated, and he is often obscure and affected; but his copious imagery and genuine penetration give his reflections a certain charm. To the middle classes of the 17th century he seemed a heaven-sent philosopher and guide, and was only less popular than Francis Quarles the poet.

Eleven editions of the Resolves appeared before 1700. Later editions by James Cumming (London, 1806; much garbled; has account of Feltham's life and writings), and O. Smeaton in "Temple Classics" series (London, 1904).

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