QUARLES, cwērlz: Name of writers of sacred poetry.
1. Francis Quarles was born at the manor-house of Stewards at Romford (12 m. n.e. of London) May 8, 1592; d. at London Sept. 8, 1644. He was educated at Christ Church, Cambridge (B.A., 1608), studied law at Lincoln's Inn was cup-bearer to Princess Elizabeth on her marriage to the elector palatine in 1613; became secretary to James Ussher, archbishop of Armagh, Ireland, in 1629 lived in retirement at Roxwell, Essex, 1633-39 and was chronologer to the city of London, 16391644, with residence in that city. He was a stanch royalist and in the revolution his manuscripts were destroyed. His first attempts at verse were Biblical paraphrases such as A Feast of Wormes set forth in a Poeme of the History of Jonah, published with Hymne to God and Pentelogia (London, 1620), Hadassa: History of Queen Esther (1621), Job Militant (1624), Sion's Elegies wept by Jeremie the Prophet (1624), Sion's Sonnets sung by Solomon the King (1625), and Historie of Samson (1631); all of which were bound together with an Alphabet of Elegies (1625) in one volume entitled Divine Poems (London; 1633 and often). The work which won him immediate and phenomenal popularity was Emblemes (1635, 1634); it was issued in five books, the forty-five prints in the last three of which, as well as the verses either translated or closely paraphrased, were from Hermann Hugo's Pia Desideria Emblematis (Antwerp, 1624). This was followed by Hieroglyphikes of the Life of Man (1638). The last two were published together (1736, and often). His Divine Fancies, Digested into Epigrams, Meditations and Observations in four books (1632), and his metrical version of six Psalms (xvi., xxv., li., lxxxviii., cxiii., and cxxxvii.) to be taken out to John Winthrop and John Cotton in America were published in the Bay Psalm Book (q.v.). The fruit of his retirement in London (1639-44) consisted of prose manuals of piety, the first of which, Enchiridion, Containing Institutions Divine and Moral (300 essays, 1640; 400 essays, 1641; and numerous other editions) was almost as popular as the Emblems. It was followed by Barnabas and Boanerges; or Wine and Oyle for afflicted Soules (1644), and Barnabas and Boanerges; or Judgment and Mercy for Afflicted Soules (1646); the two consisting of meditations, soliloquies, and prayers were published together (1667). He wrote also a number of royalist pamphlets, such as The Loyall Convert (1644), published with two others as The Profest Royalist (1645). The Complete Works, including his poetic romance, Argulus and Parthenia, and many posthumous publications was issued by A. B. Grosart (3 vols., 1880-81). The ruling theme of Quarles was the wretchedness of man's earthly existence. Though his leading works were immensely popular in their time, yet they obtained but few admirers among persons of literary distinction. James Montgomery (1827) and later writers have done him partial justice and he is now more favorably known; but even they charge him with "base phraseology, labored faults, and deforming conceits." His quips and quaintnesses belong to his age and there is no volume of his verse that is not illumined by occasional flashes of poetic fire. H. D. Thoreau writes of him: "He uses language sometimes as greatly as Shakespeare."
2. John Quarles, son of the above, was born in Essex in 1624; d. of the plague in London in 1665. He matriculated at Exeter College, Oxford, 1643; bore arms for the king at Oxford and was banished. Taking refuge in Flanders he wrote Fons Lachrymarum (London, 1648). Subsequently in London he published many poems, to one of which, Divine Meditations (1655), was appended Several Divine Ejaculations from which Thomas Darling adapted two hymns for his Hymns for the Church of England (1857), namely, "O King of kings, before whose throne," and "O thou who sitt'st in heaven and seest."