1798 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edward Jerningham

David Rivers, in Literary Memoirs of Living Authors (1798) 1:313-14.



This gentleman is descended from an ancient family in Norfolk, and is brother to Sir William Jerningham, Bart. of Coffey-Hall. He received his early education at the English College at Douay, completed his studies at Paris, and returned to England in 1762. His first attempt in Poetry was an Imitation of Gray's Elegy, in a poem called the Nunnery. He soon afterward wrote The Magdalens, at the time of the establishment of the Magdalen Charity, and it is said that the little Elegy was of service to the Institution. Mr. Jerningham was fortunate in an early introduction to Lady Hervey, Mother to the Earl of Bristol, on whose list of acquaintance were the names of Chesterfield, Lyttleton, Melcombe, Marchmont, Mansfield, Bolingbroke, &c. His subsequent poems, which have met with many admirers, after frequent republication were collected in two octavo volumes, in 1786; a third volume was collected and added in 1794. He is a favourite with the mournful Muse, and it has been observed that in indescribable something pervades his poems, which sooths, conciliates, and affects. Among these the Elegy, entitled The Nun, has obtained more celebrity than the rest. Mr. Jerningham's first dramatic production was an historical Interlude, entitled, Margaret of Anjou, represented at Drury Lane in 1777, for the benefit of Miss Younge and never printed. In 1794, he published The Siege of Berwick, a tragedy, in four acts, as performed at Covent Garden; which was thought an unfinished performance, and to which he afterward added a fifth act. In the year following he published The Welch Heiress, a comedy; and, in 1796, Peace, Ignominy, and Destruction, a Poem, inscribed to the Right Hon. Charles James Fox.