English poet and composer. Campion was son of the attorney and diplomatic courier John Campion: he was raised in affluence and entered Cambridge in 1581. Leaving three years later, probably without a degree, he joined Gray's Inn, a gentleman's society that engaged in amateur and semi-professional music-making. There he composed and performed masques and other music for noble and royal audiences, including Queen Elizabeth.
Apart from his poetry, he published five volumes of ayres, mainly to his own texts, beginning in 1601 with a volume compiled jointly with his close associate Philip Rosseter ; he also wrote masques and occasional music, little of which survives. An important composer, he was the only English composer to experiment with musique mesurée and the first to imitate the Florentine monodists, criticizing intricate counterpoint and naive word painting. He was best at epigrammatic, dance-like pieces, in which sense he was the opposite of Dowland .