1808 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Christopher Anstey

Samuel Egerton Brydges, "Christopher Anstey Esq." Censura Literaria 6 (1808) 221-22.



Christopher Anstey was a man of wit and a scholar; and may be called the inventor of a particular species of colloquial verse, which has been very popular; but like every thing of a popular cast has for a time probably been valued too highly. He was born about 1825; and educated at Westminster-school, as I have heard from some of his schoolfellows; put perhaps changed to Eton, as he was afterwards of King's College, Cambridge, where he was refused his degree on account of some innocent irregularity, of which I have heard the particulars, though they have now escaped my memory [I think the cause assigned in Gent. Mag. 75, p. 780 is inaccurate, note]. He had a moderate patrimony at Trumpington, near Cambridge, where he resided part of his life. In 1766 came forth his New Bath Guide, or Memoirs of the Blunderhead family. It had a great circulation, as many well remember, and as noticed in Gray's Letters. The next year he printed a poem on the death of the Marquis of Tavistock. His Election Ball appeared about 1775; and in 1776 his Latin Epistle to C. W. Bampfylde on his designs for the Election Ball. In 1774 he also published The Priest Dissected. In 1779 came out his Poetical Paraphrase of the Thirteenth Chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians; and in 1780, Speculation, or a Defence of Mankind. He afterwards published one or two other trifles. The latter part of his life was spent at Bath, where his caustic humour constantly found food. He died at Harnage House, Wilts, the seat of his son-in-law, Henry Bosanquet, Esq. Aug. 3, 1805, aet. 81.