Clement • Link
Apparently his reputation hasn't aged well, but he was very influential during his lifetime.
Alan Bedford • Link
A well-written critical essay on Cowley: http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=tru...
18 November 1663 Pepys bought and read "a little book of new poems of Cowley's"
Abraham Cowley - Verses Written on Several Occasions (1663)
Available in digital format via Early English Books Online http://www.lib.umich.edu/tcp/eebo/New_Text/New_...
Also From VERSES ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS (1663/1668)
Abraham Cowley (1618–1678)
Cowley, who helped to corrupt the taste of the age in which he lived, and had himself been corrupted by it, was a remarkable instance of true genius, seduced and perverted by false wit. But this wit, false as it was, raised his reputation to a much higher pitch than that of Milton. There is a want of elegance in his words, and of harmony in his versification; but this was more than atoned for, by his greatest fault, the redundancy of his fancy. His Latin poems, which are esteemed the best of his works, are written in the various measures of the ancients, and have much of their unaffected beauty. He was more successful in imitating the ease and gayety of Anacreon, than the bold and lofty flights of Pindar. He had many humble imitators in his Pindarics, whose verses differ as widely from his own, as the first and the last notes of a multiplied echo. His "Burning-Glasses of Ice," and other metaphors, which are not only beyond, but contrary to nature, were generally admired in the reign of Charles II. The standard of true taste was not then established. It was at length discovered, after a revolution of many ages, that the justest rules and examples of good writing are to be found in the works of ancient authors; and that there is neither dignity, nor elegance of thought or expression, without simplicity. Ob. 28 July, 1667, Æt. 49.
---A Biographical History of England. J. Granger, 1775.
COWLEY, ABRAHAM (1618-1667), poet: king's scholar at Westminster; published 'Poetical Blossoms,' 1633, and 'Sylva,' 1636; scholar of Trinity College, Cambridge, 1637; fellow, 1640; M.A.,1642; published 'Love's Riddle,' a pastoral drama, 1638; brought out, at Cambridge, 'Naufragium Joculare,' a Latin comedy, 1638, and 'The Guardian,' a comedy, 1641; ejected by the parliament, 1644; resided in St. John's College, Oxford; went to France, 1646; published 'The Mistress,' poems, 1647, and 'Miscellanies,' with other poems, including four books of the 'Davideis,' a sacred epic, 1656; cipher secretary to Queen Henrietta Maria, c.1647; royalist spy in England, 1656; M.D. Oxford, 1657; withdrew to France; published odes on the Restoration and against Cromwell, 1660-1; was refused the mastership of the Savoy, 1661; F.R.S.; published 'Verses upon several Occasions,' 1663; a competence provided for him by Earl of St. Albans and Duke of Buckingham; his collected works published 1668.
---Dictionary of National Biography: Index and Epitome. S. Lee, 1906.
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.