The son of an usher in a charity school, Cleveland was born in Loughborough, and educated at Hinckley Grammar School. Admitted to Christ's College, Cambridge, he graduated BA in 1632 and became a fellow of St John's College in 1634. At St John's Cleveland became college tutor and lecturer on rhetoric, and was much sought after. A staunch Royalist, he opposed the election of Oliver Cromwell as member for Cambridge in the Long Parliament, and lost his college post as a result in 1645. Joining Charles I, by whom he was welcomed, he was appointed to the office of Judge Advocate at Newark. In 1646, however, he lost this office, and wandered about the country dependent on the bounty of the Royalists. In 1655 he was imprisoned at Yarmouth, but released by Cromwell, to whom he appealed, and went to London, where he lived till his death. His best work is satirical, slightly reminiscent of Hudibras; his other poems are considered mediocre. The Poems were published in 1656.
- "Cleveland, John (CLVT627J)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Cousin, John William (1910). A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. London: J. M. Dent & Sons. Wikisource
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