1764 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Whitehead

David Erskine Baker, in Companion to the Play-House (1764) 2:Sig. Hh5.



William Whitehead, Esq; Poet-Laureat to their Majesties King George II. and III. succeeded to the Laurel on the Death of Mr. Colley Cibber. — He is greatly esteemed as a polite and elegant Writer, to which his Travels abroad, and particularly into Italy, the native Soil of the Muses, have perhaps not a little contributed.

On his Return to England, about the Year 1749, he gave the Town a new Tragedy, intitled The Roman Father, founded on the celebrated Story of the Horatii and Curiatii; it was acted with tolerable Success at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane, 1750. — In 1754, he brought upon the Stage another Tragedy, entitled Creusa, Queen of Athens; which had a tolerable Run, notwithstanding it came out too late in the Year to bring crowded Audiences; however, the Appearance the Boxes made, was sufficient to keep both the Poet and Players in Countenance. — In 1762, he likewise brought upon the same Theatre, a Comedy, entitled, The School for Lovers, formed on a Plan laid down by M. De Fontenelle, and, like most of the French Productions of this Kind, is rather a Conversation-Piece than a Comedy. — The Conversation is, however, natural, decent and moral; and, if the Work does not abound with all that Variety of Business, Plot, Scenery, Character and Humour, which are requisite to gratify the Taste of an English Audience, it is, nevertheless, not an uninteresting Performance, and may certainly rank among those which are distinguished by the Appellation of General Comedy. — Mr. Whitehead has also published several detached Poems, which have been well received, besides his Anniversary Odes, &c. written, ex Officio, as Poet Laureat.