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Birth: Mar. 13, 1616: Death: Nov. 23, 1699
Poet, Chaplain to King Charles II, and Master of Peterhouse College, Cambridge. A Royalist and High-Church Anglican, Beaumont was among the group of scholars ejected from their positions at Cambridge in 1644 for refusing to accept the "Solemn League and Covenant" demanded by Parliament. Returning to his native village of Hadleigh, he composed Psyche, or Love's Mystery, an allegorical epic that is thought to be the longest poem in the English language. In addition to Psyche, Beaumont wrote a commentary on the Book of Ecclesiastes, detailed notes on the Pentateuch, and a number of short Latin lyrics. In 1650 he and his wife, step-daughter of Matthew Wren, moved to her estate near Ipswich, where they remained until the Restoration, at which time Beaumont's loyalty to the monarchy was rewarded by his being made Doctor of Divinity and Royal Chaplain. In 1663 he was named Master of Peterhouse College, his Cambridge alma mater. He remained at Peterhouse as Regius Professor of Divinity until his death. (bio by: NM)
Cause of death: Gout
Includes a photo of the memorial tablet at Peterhouse:-
JOSEPH BEAUMONT, D.D., Master of Jesus 1662-1663. Born at Hadleigh, 16l5; educ. at Peterhouse; Fellow, 1636; ejected, 1644; Chaplain to Bishop Wren, 1650; D.D. by royal mandate, 1660. Obtained a dispensation from the Vice-Chancellor to eat meat in Lent, 1662, for his health's sake. Master of Jesus, April, 1662; Master of Peterhouse, April, 1663. Married Bishop Wren's step-daughter, 1650. Only one of their six children, Charles, survived youth. Mrs. Beaumont died in 1662; he died in 1699. Psyche first printed 1648; again, revised and enlarged by his son, 1702. He left a number of English and Latin poems to Peterhouse, with the injunction that none should be printed. Some were printed, with Psyche, 1749. In the biography prefixed to them the Rev. John Gee says: 'He was religious without bigotry, devout without superstition, learned without pedantry, judicious without censoriousness, eloquent without vanity, charitable without ostentation, generous without profusion, friendly without dissimulation, courteous without flattery, prudent without cunning, and humble without meanness.'