London: by R. Holt for Obadiah Blagrave, 1687. First Edition.
Printed: 1687 1613-1658 Octavo, 6 1/2 x 4 inches First edition A8, a4, B-Z8, Aa-Ll8 This edition has the "vera Effigies" engraving of Cleaveland This copy is in excellent condition internally It is bound in full contemporary calf, rebacked. ¶ As a poet Cleveland enjoyed great fame in his lifetime but nowadays his work is hardly known Opinions differ as to the quality of his poetry, some believing it due for revival and others finding it too much of its own time to bear close scrutiny and representation in ours His case bears some resemblance to that of his contemporary Abraham Cowley
¶Cleveland was the son of a Yorkshire clergyman who moved to the living of Hinckley, Leicestershire, in 1621 He was educated at Christ's College, Cambridge, and was made a fellow of St John's in 1634 He was a contemporary of Milton at Christ's College, and contributed a poem to the volume of elegies on the death of Edward King He opposed the election of Cromwell as MP for Cambridge in 1640 and was, like Cowley and Crashaw, ejected from his fellowship in 1645; but like them he had already (1643) left Cambridge After two years at Oxford he joined the Royalist garrison at Newark and served as judge-advocate until the surrender of the town in 1646
Now destitute, Cleveland made his way to London, existing on the kindness of friends, and sometimes contributing to Royalist journals He never compromised his loyalties, not even when arrested and imprisoned (1655-56) on the vague charge of being a dissident Royalist Indeed, in a personal appeal to Cromwell, he proclaimed his service to his king as a reason for his vindication His appeal succeeded, and upon his release Cleveland returned to London where he spent his last two years at Gray's Inn
¶Cleveland's first published work appeared in The Character of London-Diurnall; with Severall Select Poems (1644) The same title appeared in 1647, when the volume was entirely CLeveland's Editions of his work followed steadily, an enlarged one of 1651 continuing to be issued and read for ten years or more He was the author of amatory verse, of 'character' that depicted a type of contemporary man in order to reflect his times, and, perhaps most notably, of satires, particularly on Presbyterians The most admired are 'The Rebel Scot' and 'The King's Disguise'" (Stapleton's The Cambridge Guide to English Literature)