Sir John Davies was educated at Winchester and Queens College, Oxford. He left before taking his degree and went on to study law, qualifying as a barrister in 1595.
He received a knighthood from James I and later became Solicitor General of Ireland. He was appointed Lord Chief Justice of England but died before being able to take up this position.
A lot of Davies's poetry was written when he was in his twenties, his major work of that period being Orchestra, or, A Poem of Dancing. His Nosee Teipsum (Know Thyself), a philosophical poem, was published in 1599, possibly in regret for the violent event which had led to his temporary disbarment from the legal profession. His Hymns of Astraea, an acrostic poem which spells out Elisabetha Regina was published in the same year. He also produced a collection of satirical epigrams, Epigrams and Elegies which were burned on the orders of the Archbishop of Canterbury, as well as a number of sonnets.