In his "History of Epidemics in Britain," Creighton1 points out that the gradual rise of smallpox to prominence in England at about the end of the Elizabethan period and in the first years of the Stuarts cannot fail to strike anyone who is occupied with the English records of disease as a whole.
The first mention of smallpox in English literature proper occurs in a collection of lyrical poems published in 1602. The verses were written by Thomas Spillman2:
Upon His Ladies Sicknesse of the Small Pockes
Cruel and unpartiall Sicknesse, Sword of that Arch-Monarke Death, That subdues all strength by weaknesse, Whom all Kings pay tribute breath.
Are not these thy steps I tracke, In the pure snow of her face, When thou didst attempt to sacke Her liues fortresse and it rase?
Th'Heavenly Honny thou didst sucke, From her Rose Cheekes might suffize; Why then didst