Monday, March 9, 2015

Ralph Knevet

Ralph Knevet (1601—1671) is an English poet and clergyman who saw himself as a disciple of George Herbert. His play Rhodon and Iris was first performed in 1631. His MS. Supplement of the Faery Queene in Three Books first appeared in 1633, showing his appreciation of Edmund Spenser. In the 1640s Knevet composed his Gallery to the Temple; in the preface he said of Herbert, "it was Hee who rightly knew to touch Davids harpe". 

In 1652 he became the Rector of Lyng, Norfolk, where he lived for the rest of his life. 

The Harp

---Some may occasion chance to carp
Saying that I have sung to Nero's harp,
And therefore am for David's most unfit,
Which piety requires, as well as wit;
---But thus, I my defence prepare,
---Showing how I have travelled far,
And by the streams of Babylon have sate,
Where I deplored my sad and wretched state;
---Upon a willow there I hung
---That harp to which I whilome sung:
This tree, which neither blossoms yields, nor fruit;
Did with this instrument unhappy suit:
---There let it hang, consume, and rot
---Since I a better harp have got,
Which doth in worth as far surpass the other,
As Abel in devotion, did his brother.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His latest poetry collection, Conspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C.S. Lewis, is available from Wipf & Stock as is his earlier award-winning collection, Poiema.