1816 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Gifford

Anonymous, in Biographical Dictionary of Living Authors (1816) 127-28.



WILLIAM GIFFORD. From a truly interesting biographical account of this gentleman, prefixed to his translation of Juvenal, it appears, that he is a native of Ashburton, Devonshire, and was born in 1757. At the age of thirteen he became an orphan, by the loss of both his parents; was then placed on board a coaster at Brixton, by his god-father, who afterwards bound him apprentice to a shoemaker, with whom he worked till his twentieth year. About this time some poetical trifles which he had produced, attracted the notice of a gentleman who interested himself so warmly in his behalf, that a subscription was raised expressly for the purpose of purchasing the remainder of his apprenticeship, and maintaining him for a short time, while he improved himself in writing and English grammar. Such, however, was his assiduity under the master provided for him, that his patrons extended their views, and determined to send him to the university. The office of Bib. Lect. at Exeter College, Oxford, was procured for him, and thither he removed. About this time he commenced his translation of Juvenal, which he proposed to publish by subscription; but afterwards relinquished that plan, and returned the money which he had received. Accident introduced him to the acquaintance of the late Earl Grosvenor, whose son, the present Earl, he accompanied in two successive tours to the continent, and by whom he was finally placed in ease and independence. His first avowed work was devoted to the chastisement of the Della Crusca school. He is understood to have been the editor of the Anti-Jacobin, or Weekly Examiner, as he is at present of the Quarterly Review.