1792 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Mason

Anonymous, "Biographical List of Living English Poets" Gentleman's Magazine 62 (June 1792) 504.



William Mason, A.M. became very early in life distinguished. I believe he is a native of Hull, in Yorkshire, where his father resided as a clergyman. He was educated at St. John's College, Cambridge, whence, being introduced to Gray, by means, I think, of his Monody on Pope, he was by his interest elected a Fellow of Pembroke Hall (of which illustrious Spenser had formerly been a member), inheriting a good fortune (if I recollect from Archbishop Hutton), and being presented to the living of Aston in Yorkshire, by his patron the late earl of Holdernesse, where he has built an excellent parsonage-house, and having a prebend of York, &c, he leads in perfect independence the rural and quiet life a poet ought to lead, though there are those who have wished him rather less violent in the tendency of his political convictions. His Caractacus and Elfrida, his exquisite Elegy on Lady Coventry, his English Garden, his Translation of Fresnoy, &c. have gained him a general and deserved reputation.