DENHAM

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DENHAM, sir John, a poet, was born at Dublin, in 1615, the son of sir John Denham, chief baron of the exchequer in Ireland. He was educated in London and at Oxford. Although dissipated and irregular at the university, he passed his examination for a bachelor's degree, and then removed to Lincoln's Inn to study law. In 1641, he first became known by his tragedy of the Sophy. This piece was so much admired, that Waller observed, "Denham had broken out like the Irish rebellion, 60,000 strong, when no person suspected it." At the commencement of the civil war, he received a military command ; but, not liking a soldier's life, he gave it up, and attended the court at Oxford, where, in 1643, he published the first edition of his most celebrated poem, called Cooper's Hill. He was subsequently intrusted with several confidential commissions by the king's party, one of which was to collect pecuniary aid from the Scottish residents in Poland. He returned to England in 1552 ; but how he employed himself until the restoration, does not appear. Upon that event, he obtained the office of surveyor of the king's buildings, and was created a knight of the Bath, and a fellow of the newlyformed royal society. A second marriage, at an advanced age, caused him much disquiet, and a temporary derangement; but he recovered, and retained the esteem of the lettered and the courtly until his death, in 1688, when his remains were interred in Westminster abbey.