1912 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Preston

D. J. O'Donoghue, in Poets of Ireland (1912) 390.



A lawyer who was prominent in Dublin literary circles just previous to the passing of the Act of Union. He was born in Dublin in 1753, was educated at T.C.D., where he graduated B.A. 1770, M.A. 1773, and was called to the Irish Bar in 1777. He wrote many poems for Sentimental and Masonic Magazine (Dublin) in 1794, and was the author of various prologues and other pieces of a fugitive character. He is largely represented in Edkins' collections of 1789-90, and 1801, and his songs are quoted in Ellis's Songs of Ireland (1849). He was a member of the Royal Irish Academy, and became a "Judge of Appeals." He died in Dublin on February 2, 1807. The magazine above referred to, in a review of his poems in 1793, said: "It is worthy of notice that in a poem written as long ago as the year 1780, Mr. Preston had the liberality to inculcate most forcibly the policy and justice of emancipating the Roman Catholics of Ireland." Whitelaw and Walsh's History of Dublin has a good notice of him, but says he died in January (not February), 1807. Wrote a good deal of "Pranceriana," a collection of satires and skits on John Hely Hutchinson.