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Campion [Campian], Thomaslocked

  • Christopher R. Wilson


(b London, Feb 12, 1567; d London, March 1, 1620). English poet, composer, theorist and physician. Although he did not earn his living, like Dowland, Rosseter or Jones, as a professional musician, nor like Nashe, Greene or Drayton as a professional poet, Thomas Campion’s reputation mainly rests on his ayres, for which he wrote both music and poem. After John Dowland, he was the most prolific of the English lute-song composers with well over 100 songs to his name. His lyric verse, independently of its music, is of a literary interest comparable with the likes of Ben Jonson, Samuel Daniel and even Sir Philip Sidney. Indeed, Campion was first presented to the modern age by Bullen and Vivian primarily as a poet and not a musician. Today he is well known as a composer-poet, having received more critical attention from 20th-century commentators than most of his contemporaries, including Dowland. He was also an important exponent of the Stuart masque and a conspicuous theorist of both poetry and music. But, if we are to believe him, all his literary and musical exercises were ‘superfluous blossoms of his deeper Studies’ – his neo-classical Latin poetry....

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