Charles Jennens was born in Leicestershire and entered Balliol College Oxford in 1716, aged sixteen. The librettist of Handel's Messiah and other works, Jennens was a wealth, high-Tory gentleman who engaged in a literary quarrel with Samuel Johnson and George Steevens over editing Shakespeare — in which he proved no match for the scholars. In his Literary Anecdotes of the XVIII Century (1812-15) John Nichols reprints a vituperative character by Steevens and a copy of Jennens's will.
L'Allegro, Il Penseroso, ed il Moderato. 1740.
Belshazzar. An oratorio. 1745.
King Lear ... collated with the old and modern editions. 1770.
The tragedy of King Lear as lately published, vindicated. 1772.
Hamlet ... collated. 1773.
Macbeth ... collated. 1773.
Othello ... collated. 1773.
Julius Caesar ... collated. 1774.