1782 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Gilbert West

Isaac Reed, in Dodsley, Collection of Poems (1782) 2:88-89n.



Gilbert West was the son of Dr. West, by a sister of Sir Richard Temple, afterwards Lord Cobham. He was educated at Eton and Oxford, but quitted an academical life by the recommendation of his uncle, who procured for him a commission in a troop of horse. He continued some time in the army, but finding himself more inclined to civil employment, he resigned his commission, and engaged in business under the Lord Townsend, then Secretary of State, with whom he attended the King to Hanover. In May 1729, he was nominated a Clerk Extraordinary of the Privy Council, and soon afterwards married. He then settled at Wickham, where he devoted himself to learning and to piety. On the 30th of March 1748, he was complimented by the University of Oxford with the degree of Doctor of Laws, by diploma, for his excellent book on the Resurrection. In 1752, he became one of the Clerks of the Privy Council, and his friend Mr. Pitt about the same time made him Treasurer of Chelsea Hospital. He did not long enjoy these posts. In 1755, he lost his only son, and the year after, March 26, a stroke of the palsy, says Dr. Johnson, "brought to the grave one of the few Poets, to whom the grave needed not to be terrible."