1720 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bp. Francis Atterbury

Giles Jacob, in Historical Account of the Lives and Writings of our most considerable English Poets (1720) 2-3.



This excellent Prelate, is the Son of the Reverend Dr. ATTERBURY, late Rector of Milton, near Newport-Pagnel in Buckinghamshire. He was bred at Westminster-School, and from thence elected (with the fairest Promises of the Great Man he has since made) to Christ-Church College in Oxford, where he accomplish'd himself in the most Polite Literature, and gain'd the greatest Reputation as an Orator and Divine. He was very much Courted and Admir'd by the politest Persons of the University on Account of his uncommon Abilities. His first Preferments were those of Lecturer of St. Brides, and Chaplain to the Rolls; then Canon Residentiary of Exeter, and Arch-Deacon of Torness: After this he was Dean of Carlisle, and preferr'd to the Deanery of Christ-Church, in Oxford; and in the Year 1713, he was made Dean of Westminster, and Bishop of Rochester. In his younger Years, before he had any Dignity confer'd on him in the Church, he wrote several fine Pieces of Latin Poetry, amongst which, his elegant Translation of Mr. DRYDEN'S Absolom and Achitophel is deservedly celebrated.

Amongst his English Performances, the following Epigram on a Lady's Fan, is worthy of the highest esteem.

Flavia the least and slightest Toy
Can with resistless Art employ:
This Fan, in meaner Hands would prove
An Engine of small Force in Love;
Yet she with graceful Air and Mien,
Not to be told, or safely seen,
Directs its wanton Motion so,
That it Wounds more than Cupid's Bow;
Gives Coolness to the Matchless Dame,
To ev'ry other Breast a Flame.