Circa 1525–1577

Introduction

portrait

Born: Circa 1525, West­mor­land, Eng­land.

Died: Oc­to­ber 7, 1577, Wal­cot Hall, Bar­nack, Cam­bridge­shire, Eng­land.

Buried: In the Whet­stone fa­mi­ly vault at St. John the Bap­tist Church, Bar­nack, Cam­bridge­shire.

Biography

George was the son of Sir John Gas­coigne.

He seems to have spent a part of his ear­ly life in West­mor­land. Ed­u­cat­ed at Tri­ni­ty Col­lege, Cam­bridge, he en­tered the Mid­dle Tem­ple as a law stu­dent be­fore 1548.

However, he ne­glect­ed his stu­dies and led a life of reck­less ex­tra­va­gance and dis­si­pa­tion, for which his father dis­in­her­it­ed him. In 1555, he moved to Gray’s Inn, but seems to have left it al­so.

In 1557–58, he rep­re­sent­ed Bed­ford in Par­lia­ment. In 1565, he re­turned to Gray’s Inn, and the fol­low­ing year, two plays by him were pre­sent­ed there (The Sup­pos­es, adapt­ed from the Ital­i­an of Ar­i­o­sto, and Jo­cas­ta, adapt­ed from the Phoe­nis­sae of Eu­ri­pi­des).

In 1572, he was again made a Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment for the bo­rough of Mid­hurst, but ob­ject­ions hav­ing been made to his char­ac­ter, he seems not to have tak­en his seat.

Not long af­ter, he en­tered the ser­vice of Will­iam of Or­ange, who com­miss­ioned him a cap­tain. Dur­ing that ser­vice, he was tak­en pri­son­er by the Span­ish and re­turned to Eng­land.

During his ab­sence, his first book, A Hun­dredth Sun­drie Floures Bound Up in One Small Poe­sie, which he had left in the hands of a friend, was print­ed with­out his pe­rmis­sion. Af­ter his re­turn from Hol­land, he pub­lished in 1575 a cor­rect­ed and en­larged ed­i­tion.

Thereafter he seems to have led a li­ter­a­ry life, and was said to have been in some way at­tached to the court.

On the oc­ca­sion of Queen Eliz­a­beth’s vi­sit to Ke­nil­worth in the sum­mer of 1575, Gas­coigne was com­mis­sioned by Lei­ces­ter to de­vise the masques, and per­formed for the Queen’s en­ter­tain­ment.

Sources

Lyrics

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