Waller was born in Coleshill, now in Buckinghamshire, to a prosperous family and was educated
at Eton and King's College, Cambridge which he left, as was common in families of higher
status, without taking a degree, in order to study law at Lincolns Inn, London. He had become an active Member of Parliament by 1624 being elected for various constituencies until 1629 when Parliament was prorogued.
He inherited a large estate at Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, upon attaining his majority and
married in 1631, without permission, a ward of court who, however, died in childbirth in
His royalist sympathies during the Civil War led to his arrest, imprisonment and, upon
payment of a large fine, banishment spent mostly in France with an interlude travelling in
Switzerland and Italy. He married Mary Bracey in 1644 by whom he had several children.
Upon revocation of his banishment in 1651, he returned to Beaconsfield and, in 1655, accepted
a position as Trade Commissioner under Cromwell but resumed his royalist loyalties after the Restoration in 1660. He entered Parliament again in 1661 where he remained an active member until 1679.
His poetry is thought to have begun as early as 1623 and was first published in 1645, several
editions of his poems being published during his exile. Publications continued until 1686 to
which works were added posthumously. He is credited with the development of the heroic
couplet form and was influential in shaping the subsequent course of English poetry.
Upon the death of his wife in 1677, he retired to his Beaconsfield estate where he died.