1812 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

George Keate

John Nichols, in Literary Anecdotes of the XVIII Century (1812-15) 2:332-33n.



This gentleman was descended from Sir George Hungerford, his great-grandfather, by Lady Frances Duche, only daughter of Francis Lord Seymour, and born at Trowbridge, about 1729 or 1730; educated at Kingston-school, under Mr. Woodison, whence he went to Geneva, and stayed there some years; and at his return was articled to work as a clerk to the late Mr. Palmer, steward to the Duke of Bedford; whence he removed, as a student, to the Inner Temple, and was called to the bar. He was elected F.R.S. 17.., and F.A.S. 1766. Soon after his return from his travels he published, 1. Ancient and Modern Rome, 1760; a Poem written at Rome, 1755. 2. An Account of the Government, History, and Laws, of Geneva, 1761, 8vo. 3. Epistle from Lady Jane Grey to Lord Guildford Dudley, 1762. 4. The Alps, a Poem, 1763. 5. Netley Abbey, 1764; enlarged 1769. 6. The Temple Student, an Epistle to a Friend, 1765, 4to. Whether the history of the Author, prefixed, be his own life (allowing for his death, there mentioned to sustain the disguise), cannot be ascertained. 7. A Poem on the death of Mrs. Cibber, 1766. 8. Ferney, an Epistle to M. de Voltaire, 1769, 4to. 9. The Monument in Arcadia, a Dramatic Poem, in Two Acts, 1773, 4to, founded on a picture of Poussin, representing some Arcadian shepherds and shepherdesses contemplating a monument, inscribed "Et in Arcadia ego." 10. Sketches from Nature, taken and coloured in a Journey to Margate. Published from the original Designs. In Two Volumes, 1779, 12mo. 11. Observations on the Roman Earthen-ware found in the Sea on the Borders of the Isle of Thanet, 1780, printed in Archeologia, vol. VI. p. 125. 12. Epistle to Angelica Kaufmann, 1781. 13. In this year he collected his Poetical Works, in two volumes, 12mo, with a dedication to Dr. Heberden, and an excellent likeness of himself, by Pott and Sherwin; and with additions, the principal of which was The Helvetiad, a Fragment, written at Geneva, 1756. 14. The Distressed Poet, a serio-comic Poem, in Three Cantos, 1787, stating the principal circumstances of his case in the long and vexatious law-suit which he was engaged in with an Architect who professed himself his friend. — He wrote several Prologues and Epilogues for Mr. Newcombe's scholars at Hackney. Some complimentary Verses by him are to be found in the European Magazine; and he had adapted Voltaire's Semiramis to the stage, which was superseded at Drury Lane, 1777, by Capt. Ayscough. — Perhaps, however, the Account of the Pelew Islands, which he drew up and published, 1788, 4to, is a more lasting monument to his fame than all the preceding volumes. Mr. Keate married, in 1769, a sister of Sir Charles Grave Hudson, of Wanlip, co. Leicester, bart.; and died June 28, 1797, leaving one daughter, Charlotte, who was married, June 9, 1795, to John Henderson, esq. of the Adelphi-terrace.