1747 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Thomas Pope Blount

Anonymous, in Biographia Britannica (1747-66) 2:833-35.



An eminent writer towards the close of the XVIIth century. He was the eldest son of Sir Henry Blount beforementioned, and was fully educated under the eye of his father, who took care to acquaint him with the several branches of polite literature, most worthy the notice of a person of his rank, and so great was the improvement he made under so able an instructor, that, even in his junior years, he was considered both as a judicious and learned man, and on this account, as well as for other marks of worth and genius, he was, by King Charles II, advanced to the degree of a Baronet, by a Patent dated Jan. 27, 1679, in the thirtieth year of his Majesty's reign, and in the life-time of Sir Henry Blount his father. He was elected Burgess for St Alban's in Hertfordshire, in the Parliaments in the thirtieth and thirty-first of King Charles II, and was Knight of the shire in three Parliaments after the Revolution, having also the honour to be elected Commissioner of Accounts for the three last years of his life by the House of Commons. He always distinguished himself as a lover of liberty, a sincere friend to his country, and a true patron of learning. His strong affection for literature, and his perfect acquaintance with the best writers in all ages and sciences, appeared fully in the great work he composed, first for his own use and satisfaction, and then published in the universal language for the benefit of others [Censura celebriorum authorum]. His capacity for writing in another manner, and on a great variety of important and entertaining subjects, appears from his Essays, which, in point of learning, judgment, and freedom of thought, are certainly no way inferiour to those of the famous Montaigne. His extensive knowledge, and his great modesty, are equally conspicuous, in another learned piece of his, wherein he presents the publick with the fruits of his reading, as to Natural History, without depriving those from whom he drew his knowledge, of any part of their reputation, a conduct which few have imitated, and which we can scarce enough commend. What he has written on Poetry is in the same manner, and with the same modesty, at first probably drawn together for his own information, and in that respect a mark of his industry and judgment, afterwards sent abroad for publick use, which demonstrates his beneficence and ingenuous temper, as ready to communicate, as incapable of assuming to himself the merits of others. Having thus satisfied, in his riper years, the great expectations which his friends had of him in his youth, having been steady to one party, without violence towards others, after acquiring honour in several publick characters, esteem in private conversation, and affection in domestick life, he quietly ended his days at his seat in Tittenhanger, June 30, 1697, in the forty-eighth year of his age, and was buried the eighth of July following, in the vault of his family, at Ridge in Hertfordshire. He married Jane, daughter of Sir Henry Caesar, of Benington Place in the county of Hertford, Knight, and by her left issue five sons and nine daughters.