ABEL EVANS, though a man of genius, the friend of the first poets of the times, and applauded by them, is now hardly known. He was a man of remarkable wit and vivacity, and many of his repartees were long remembered and repeated at Oxford. He is generally styled Dr. Evans the epigrammatist, and was one of the Oxford wits enumerated in the following distich (wretchedly imitated in the Additions to Pope, vol. I. p. 163).
Alma novem genuit celebres Rhedycina poetas;
Bub, Stubb, Cobb, Crabb, Trapp, Young, Carey, Tickell Evans.
He is likewise mentioned in the Dunciad, book ii. ver. 116, in company with Dr. Young and dean Swift, as one of the authors whose works had been claimed by James More Smith. Dr. Evans was of St. John's college, Oxford, and took the degree of M.A. March 23, 1699; that of B.D. April 26, 1705, and D.D. May 16, 1711. He was bursar to his college; vicar of St. Gyles's, Oxford; and appears to have been intimate with Mr. Pope, to whom there are two letters by him in print, in one of which the initial letter W. (intended for his Christian name) is by mistake put instead of that by which he used to sign himself. The time of his death we have not been able to ascertain. A good specimen of his poems may be seen in Nichols's Select Collection; particularly "The Apparition, occasioned by the publication of Tindal's Rights of the Christian Church," an admirable satire on that infidel, "Vertumnus, an epistle to Mr. Jacob Bobart, 1713," and some of his best epigrams.