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Campion, Thomas

LAUREN SHOHET

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Subject Literature » Renaissance Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405194495.2012.x


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Thomas Campion (1567–1620) is unusual for his lasting contributions to both letters and music. He is known as a poet of both English and Latin verse, a composer of songs and airs, a script or of masques and entertainments, and a theorist of both music and verse. Interested in edgy new developments in English literature of the 1580s, when poets like Philip Sidney and prose writers like John Lyly sought to develop new literary aesthetics, Campion not only wrote poetry tapping into this innovative vein, but perhaps even more significantly showed ways to use newer styles of lyrics in English song. Campion was born in Holborn, London, to John and Lucy Campion; his mother was the daughter of a serjeant-at-arms of the royal court. His father died when Campion was nine, followed in the next few years by his mother's second husband and his mother herself. Campion was raised thereafter by his late mother's third husband, Augustine Steward, and shared university rooms with his stepbrother. Campion was educated at Peterhouse, Cambridge, though he left without taking a degree, and at Gray's Inn, then studied medicine at the University of Caen, receiving the degree of MD in 1605. He became well known for his English poems and short dramatic pieces from the early seventeenth century, including the major court masque King James presented for the marriage of his favourite courtier James Hay to Lady ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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