Sir Charles Sedley
Biography of Sir Charles Sedley
English wit and dramatist, was born about 1639, and was the son of Sir John Sedley of Aylesford in Kent. He was educated at Wadham College, Oxford, but left without taking a degree.
He was member of parliament for New Romney in Kent, and took an active and useful part in politics.
Sedley is famous as a patron of literature in the Restoration period. Famous for his wit, he was a member of the intimate circle of young rakes at the court of Charles II.
As a writer, he gained a deserved reputation alike for the clearness and ease of his prose and for a certain poetic gift, more appreciable in his occasional lyrics than in the serious parts of his dramas.
He wrote several plays, his first comedy, written in 1668, The Mulberry Garden is based, in part, on Molière’s L’École des Maris and is written in that mixture of prose and heroic couplets which Etherege introduced in his Comical Revenge. Bellamira or The Mistress written in 1687 a licentous comedy is supposedly his best which, though founded on the Eunuchus of Terence, presents a lively, if coarsely realistic, picture of the reckless pursuit of pleasure of Sedley’s day.
He has written two tragedies Antony and Cleopatra (1667) and The Tyrant King of Crete (1702). He also produced a play The Grumbler (1702), an adaptation of Le Grondeur of Brueys and Palaprat. He also wrote amorous lyrics.
Phyllis is my only joy, his famous song is widely known.
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The Knotting Song
"Hears not my Phyllis how the birds
Their feathered mates salute?
They tell their passion in their words:
Must I alone be mute?"
Phyllis, without frown or smile,
Sat and knotted all the while.
"The god of love in thy bright eyes
Does like a tyrant reign;