1832 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Charles Gildon

William Clarke and Robert Shelton Mackenzie, in The Georgian Era: Memoirs of the most eminent Persons who have flourished in Great Britain (1832-34) 3:511.



CHARLES GILDON, was born at Gillingham, in Dorsetshire, in 1665; and was sent, by his parents, who were Roman catholics, to fit himself for a priest of that persuasion, at the College of Douay, in Hainault. Popery, however, was neither consonant to his reason, nor priesthood to his inclination; and, on his return to England, in 1679, he plunged into dissipation and extravagance, and added to the disarrangement of his affairs by an imprudent marriage in his twenty-third year. Necessity, at length, induced him to turn author, when he produced, in succession, a variety of pieces in prose and verse, of which the principal are, The Post Boy robbed of his Mail, or the Packet broke open; Canons, or the Vision; The Laws of Poetry; The Deist's Manual; and, his best work, The Complete Art of Poetry. He also composed three tragedies, entitled, respectively, The Roman Bride's Revenge; Phaeton, or the Royal Divorce; and Love's Victim, or the Queen of Wales: all of which were acted, but soon forgotten. According to Boyer, he also wrote an English Grammar; and the same authority, In recording his death, which occurred on the 12th of January, 1723-4, speaks of him as a person of great literature, but a mean genius, which is, perhaps, the only praise that can be accorded to him. Pope gave him a place in his Dunciad, in revenge for some remarks made by the subject of our memoir upon The Rape of the Lock.