1780 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Joseph Trapp

John Nichols, in Select Collection of Poems with Notes Biographical and Historical (1780-82) 7:116-17n.



Dr. Joseph Trapp, born at Cherington in Gloucestershire, in 1669 [for 1679], was educated at Wadham College, where he took the degree of M.A. May 13, 1702. In 1708 he was chosen the first professor of poetry, soon after the foundation of that professorship by Dr. Birkhead, and published his lectures under the title of Praelectiones Poeticae; the first volume of which is dedicated to Mr. Secretary St. John; to whose father, in the early part of his life, he had been chaplain. His church preferments were, the rectory of Harlington in Middlesex, of Christ-church in Newgate-street, and St. Leonard, Fosterlane; with the Lectureships of St. Lawrence Jewry, and St. Martin in the Fields. He was created D.D. by diploma, Feb. 1, 1727; was long esteemed as an agreeable and pathetic preacher; and died Nov. 22, 1747. Four volumes of sermons are in print; as are his controversial treatises against the Papists and Methodists, which have much merit. He published a translation of Virgil, in blank verse, indifferently executed; and another of Paradise Lost in Latin, still worse. He was also the author of Abramule, a tragedy, in 1704; and of several occasional Miscellanies. He was chaplain to the lord chancellor of Ireland in 1711; and published in that year A Character of the present Set of Whigs; which Swift, who conveyed it to the printer, calls "a very scurvy piece;" see the Journal to Stella, May 14, 1711. In a short time after, he printed at Dublin a poem on the duke of Ormond, which was re-printed at London, "and the printer sold just eleven of them;" see Journal, Aug. 24, 1711. Having mentioned to Stella, that Trapp and Sacheverell had been to visit him; Swift adds, "Trapp is a coxcomb, and the other is not very deep; and their judgement in things of wit and sense is miraculous." Journal, March 17, 1711-12.