1720 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William King

Giles Jacob, in Historical Account of the Lives and Writings of our most considerable English Poets (1720) 87-88.



A Gentleman well Descended, related to the noble Families of Clarendon and Rochester, and who had a small Paternal Estate near Reading in Berkshire. He was Educated as a King's Scholar under Dr. Busby, at Westminster-School, and Ejected from thence to Christ-Church College in Oxford. He chiefly applied himself to the Study of the Civil Law, and took his Degrees regularly; and upon his Commencing Doctor, he went up to the Commons, where he soon gained a Reputation and fell into good Business: but the natural Gaity of his Temper, and the Love of Company led him too much into those Pleasures and Freedoms that are inconsistent with the Practise of a Profession. This in some time occasioned him to withdraw into Ireland, where he officiated as Judge Advocate, and was well received and Countenanced by Men of the First Stations in that Kingdom. Here he might have made his Fortune, if the change of Climate had made any Alteration on his Mind, which it was so far from, that he returned back with only a few Merry Poems, and Humorous Essays. His Behavior was always Courteous and Obliging, his Conversation chearful, and his Wit pleasant and Entertaining. At last he Deserted all manner of business, and Subjected chiefly by his pen and the kindness of his Friends, (which he found too late as most Authors do, a weak support) and his Constitution being as low and shatter'd as his Fortunes, he died in the Year 1712. in Melancholy Circumstances near Ludgate. The chief of his Poems are,

I. The Art of Love. In Imitation of Ovid de Arte Amandi.

II. The Art of Cookery. In Imitation of Horace's Art of Poetry. This is an Excellent piece.

III. Apple-Pie. A Poem. This piece has a great deal of Humour in it.

IV. The FURMENTARY. A very Innocent and Harmless Poem, in Three Cantos.

V. ORPHEUS and EURIDICE. A Poem.

VI. MULLY of Mountown. A Poem.

Besides his Poetry, he writ several very Humerous pieces in Prose, viz.

I. A Journey to London in the Year 1698. After the Ingenious Method of that made by Dr. Lister to Paris in the same Year.

II. Animadversions on Mr. Molesworth's Account of Denmark.

III. Dialogues of the Dead. Relating to the Controversie concerning the Epistles of Phalaris.

IV. Useful Transactions. Being Satyrical Remarks upon the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. He was generally too fond of low Humour in his Writings, which he affected out of a Natural Propensity to Mirth.