1832 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Broome

William Clarke and Robert Shelton Mackenzie, in The Georgian Era: Memoirs of the most eminent Persons who have flourished in Great Britain (1832-34) 3:519-20.



WILLIAM BROOME, was born at Cheshire, about the year 1680, and educated upon the foundation of Eton; whence he was sent to St. John's College, Cambridge, where he studied for the church, and went by the name of the Poet, in consequence of his addiction to verse. He acquired great reputation by the part he took, with Ozell and Oldisworth, in translating the Iliad into prose; and being introduced to Pope, he was employed by him to assist him in his own version both of the Iliad and the Odyssey. In the former, he was only concerned with reference to the notes from Eustathius; but of the latter he wrote the second, sixth, eighth, eleventh, twelfth, sixteenth, eighteenth, and twenty-third books, together with all the notes. For this performance he only received 500, and probably complained to Pope of the smallness of the sum, who, in consequence, inserted his name in The Dunciad. Broome became D.D. in 1728, and was, in the same year, presented to the rectory of Pulham, in Norfolk. This he resigned on being appointed vicar of Eye, which he held with Oakley Magna, in Suffolk, both given him by Lord Cornwallis, to whom he was chaplain. He died, at Bath, on the 16th of November, 1745, and was buried in the abbey church.

Considering that Broome composed nearly one third of what is called Pope's Odyssey, he is entitled to no mean rank as a poetical translator; and, indeed, his lines will be found to come very near to those of Pope, both in smoothness of verse and elegance of diction. The following distich, by Henley, is a somewhat ludicrous compliment to Broome, at the expense of Pope:—

Pope came off clear with Homer; but they say
Broome went before, and kindly swept the way.

Broome published a volume of miscellaneous poems, and contributed to The Gentleman's Magazine a translation of the Odes of Anacreon. His original poetry does him little credit, and is full of plagiarisms.