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Thomas May, poet and historian, was de scended of an ancient family at Mayfield, in Sussex, and born in 1595. Having received his juvenile education near home, he afterwards entered at Sidney College, Cambridge, where he proceeded batchelor of arts in 1612. About three years after, he became a member of Gray's Inn; and was soon introduced to the acquaintance of some of the principal courtiers and wits of his time-as sir Kenelm Digby, sir Richard Fanshaw, sir John Suckling, sir Aston Cokaine, Thomas Carew, En. dymion Porter, Ben Jonson, and others of higher quality : for he was countenanced by Charles and his queen.

He subsequently conceived a disgust at the court, however, probably from a disappointment in his expectation of being successor to Ben Jonson as poet-laureat, William d'Ave. nant being appointed in his stead. We afterwards find him in the republican army commanded by Fairfax, and in the post of a secretaryship under the parliament. He died in 1650.

1. May first appeared, in a literary character, as a poet and dramatist. He also translated Virgil's Georgics, with annotations ; as likewise, “ Select Epigrams of Martial.” But his most important translation was that of ** Lucan's Pharsalia," with a “Continuation" of that poem, in English and Latin, to the death of Julius Cæsar.

2. By his inajesty's command, he wrote a metrical history of “The Reign of Henry the Second;" to which he added in prose, “The Description of Henry II. with a short Survey of the Changes of his Reign.” Also,“ The single and comparative Characters of Henry and Richard, his Sons."

3. But his most considerable work is " Thre History of the Parliament of England ;" which may be considered rather as a brief history of the “ Civil Wars” which arose during its sitting. He represents this work as a task inposed upon him, and which he undertook with reluctance. “For (says he) I wished more than life, that for the public's sake, my theme could rather have been the prosperity of these nations, the honour and happiness of the king, and such a blessed condition of both, as might have reached all the ends for which govern. ment was first ordained in the world." The full title is, “The History of the Parliament of England, which began November 3, 1640, with a short and necessary View of some precedent Years : written by Thomas May, Esq. secretary for the parliament; published by au. thority';" folio, 1647. To this first edition is prefixed a preface (never reprinted) in which the following passage deserves transcription, as it explains the situation of the author at the commencement of the civil wars, as likewise his means of informatior.

That (says he) which of all other is most likely to be differently related, is concerning the actions of war and soldiery; and in the time of this war it is a thing of extraordinary difficulty, I might say, of im. possibility, for those of one party to be truly informed of all the councils, or very performances and actions of commanders and soldiers on the other side,

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the world, and of whom I have always had a great esteem, as a man, who besides his eminent parts, learning, and knowledge, hath been always looked upon as a man of probity, and of a life free from scandal."

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Thomas May, poet and historian, was descended of an ancient family at Mayfield, in Sussex, and born in 1595. Having received his juvenile education near home, he afterwards entered at Sidney College, Cambridge, where he proceeded batchelor of arts in 1612. About three years after, he became a member of Gray's Inn; and was soon introduced to the acquaintance of some of the principal courtiers and wits of his time-as sir Kenelm Digby, sir Richard Fanshaw, sir John Suckling, sir Aston Cokaine, Thomas Carew, En. dymion Porter, Ben Jonson, and others of higher quality : for he was countenanced by Charles and his queen.

He subsequently conceived a disgust at the court, however, probably from a disappoint

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