1812 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Morell

John Nichols, in Literary Anecdotes of the XVIII Century (1812-15) 1:651-56.



The Rev. Dr. Thomas Morell was born at Eton in Buckinghamshire, March 18, 1703. His father's name was Thomas, and his mother kept a boarding-house in the College. At the age of twelve he was admitted on the foundation at Eton school, and was elected thence to King's College, Cambridge, Aug. 3, 1722. He took his first degree in 1726, and became M.A. four years after. At Lady-day 1731 he was appointed to the Curacy of Kew, in Surrey; and was some time also Curate of Twickenham.

July 6, 1773, he was admitted ad eundem at Oxford; and in 1737 became. F.S.A. having just been instituted, on the presentation of his College, to the Rectory of Buckland, Hert.

In the following year he married Anne, daughter of Henry Barker, esq. of Chiswick; and in July 1743 became D.D.

In 1762, whilst resident of Turnham Green, being very fond of music, he was drawn, by his friend and neighbor Hogarth, who then lived at Chiswick, in the character of a Cynic Philosopher, with an organ near him, which was his instrument. It was engraved by James Basire, and is an admirable likeness. He was afterwards applied to by Hogarth, to superintend and revise the Analysis of Beauty.

He was a very early contributor to the Gentleman's Magazine; and in May 1770, p. 153, is a copy of his Latin verses, Eruditissimo Viro Thomae Ashton, S. T. P.

In 1775, he was appointed Chaplain to the Garrison at Portsmouth; and he several years preached Mr. Fairchild's anniversary Botanical Sermon on Whitsun Tuesday, at St. Leonard's Shoreditch. His detached publications are numerous [list omitted].

He devoted a long life to classical learning; and though his attainments or his keenness were not equal to those of a Porson, he rendered many services to classical readers. Nor should it be forgotten that the calls of Literature never rendered him neglectful of his duty as a Clergyman; and, as long as Learning is cultivated among us, the value of his labours will be known, and the public neglect of them, while he lived, will be lamented.

He was warm in his attachments; and was a cheerful and entertaining companion. He loved a jest, told a good story, was fond of musick, and would occasionally indulge his friends with a song. In his exterior appearance, however, he never condescended to study the Graces; and, unfortunately for himself, he was a total stranger to oeconomy.

A character of him may be found among Lord Lyttelton's Letters.