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Revising the siege of York: from royalist to Cromwellian in Payne Fisher's "Marston Moor"

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Early online date14 Sep 2016
Accepted/In press9 Jun 2016
E-pub ahead of print14 Sep 2016


King's Authors


This is the first article dedicated to Payne (or Fitzpayne) Fisher (1615/6–1693), Cromwell’s forgotten laureate, who had a successful career as a Latin poet during the short-lived English Commonwealth (1649–1653) and Protectorate (1653–1659). The article examines in detail the four surviving versions of Fisher’s breakthrough success, the long Latin poem Marston Moor, first published in print in 1650, with a revised edition in 1656, but circulated in a much shorter manuscript form – of which two closely related examples are extant – from around 1648. Fisher fought at Marston Moor on the losing royalist side, and this remarkable poem evolves from a royalist elegy in its earliest versions, to a panegyric of Parliamentarian military strength effective enough to secure Fisher a series of commissions throughout the 1650s. The article charts each stage of these revisions, and the poetic strategies of the work, with a particular focus upon Fisher’s use of epic similes.

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