1782 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Shenstone

Isaac Reed, in Dodsley, A Collection of Poems (1782) 1:260-61n.



William Shenstone, Esq; was born at the Leasowes, in the parish of Hales Owen, and county of Salop, Nov. 1714. He was taught to read by the old dame whom he has delivered to posterity in the present poem [The School-Mistress], after which, he went some time to the grammar-school in Hales Owen, then to Mr. Compton, an eminent schoolmaster at Solihul, and in 1732 was entered a commoner of Pembroke College, Oxford. He continued his name at the University ten years, but took no degree, nor made the slightest effort to engage in any profession. After spending a few years with great inattention to his fortune, and much to the injury of it, he, about the year 1745, went to reside upon his estate, which he ornamented with so much taste, that it became one of the chief objects of curiosity, to those whom business or pleasure called to that part of the kingdom. Unfortunately for Mr. Shenstone, his income was not equal to the expence which his improvements demanded. He embarrassed his circumstances, and dragged out the latter part of his life discontentedly, and in distress. It is said, that if he had lived a little longer, he would have been assisted by a pension, which death prevented him from enjoying. He died at the Leasowes, of a putrid fever, about five on Friday morning, Feb. 11, 1763, and was buried in the churchyard of Hales Owen.