1782 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Hawkins of Oxford

Isaac Reed, in Biographia Dramatica; or, A Companion to the Playhouse (1782) 1:210-11.



WILLIAM HAWKINS. This gentleman is son to the celebrated serjeant Hawkins, whose excellent treatise on the crown law is in great estimation among the professors of that branch of jurisprudence. He is yet living, and received his education at the university of Oxford, where he was some time fellow of Pembroke College, and took the degree of master of arts April 10, 1744. On the resignation of the poetry professorship by Dr. Lowth, he succeeded him June 6, 1751. Besides his dramatic works, he is the author of several other performances, particularly 3 vols. of miscellanies 8vo. 1758, a translation of part of Virgil, and some sermons. He is at present rector of Little Casterton in Rutlandshire, and hath written the three following plays,

1. Henry and Rosamond. T. 8vo. 1749.
2. The Siege of Aleppo. T. 8vo. 1758.
3. Cymbeline. T. 8vo. 1759.

The last of these is only an alteration of a tragedy of the immortal Shakspeare; in which indeed it were to be wished that he had either fixed on the story only, and made the conduct and language of it entirely his own,, or else that he had taken somewhat less liberty with his original, since, as it now stands, there appears too great a dissimilarity between the different parts of it, to render it perfectly pleasing, either as the work of Shakspeare, or of Mr. Hawkins.

The other pieces, which may more properly be called his own, are far from wanting merit.