Country House Poem
Country House Poem is a minor genre of verse which had some vogue country house poem in the 17th c. It was a type of complementary poem which extolled the good qualities of a patron and also the fruitfulness, sound management, and beauties of his house and estate.
A country house poem is a poem in which the author compliments a wealthy patron or a friend through a description of his country house. Such poems were popular in early 17th century England. The genre may be regarded as a sub-set of the Topographical poem.
A notable instance of Country house poem is Ben Jonson’s To Penshurst (1616). Penshurst Place in Kent belonged to the Sidney family (Sir Philip Sidney was born there). Jonson paid an elegant tribute to the gardens and landscape, the ‘high huswifery’ of its lady, the generosity of its lord, and the virtues of the whole household. Later examples of the genre are Thomas Carew’s To Saxham (1640) and Andrew Marvell’s Upon Appleton House (written c. 1650-52), which describes Thomas, Lord Fairfax‘s country house, where Marvell was a tutor between November 1650 and the end of 1652. The poem centers on Lord Fairfax’s daughter Maria.