Denham was born in Dublin and attended Trinity College at Oxford, where he studied law at Lincoln's Inn. Called to the bar in 1639, he inherited his father's Surrey estate that same year. In 1641 he published two works, a tragedy in blank verse titled The Sophy and the poem that gave him enduring fame, Cooper's Hill, supposedly written on brown wrapping paper. The lengthy poem's description of the countryside surrounding Denham's home at Egham and nearby Windsor Castle greatly influenced verse of the next century describing topography. In recent decades, its political tone and content have been reevaluated as equally important as the topographical approach.
In November 1642, Denham became part of a temporary court that included other Royalist poets, such as Abraham Cowley, Richard Crashaw, and John Cleveland, when King Charles I moved with many of his followers to oxford. He withdrew from a contentious Parliament and growing Protestant forces. Queen Hen
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