1782 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Penrose

James Pettit Andrews, Memoir in Penrose, Poems (1782) iii-vi.



Those who peruse the following Poems, may perhaps find themselves sufficiently interested in them, to wish for some account of their Author.

He was the son of the Reverend Mr. PENROSE, Rector of Newbury, Berks; a man of high character and abilities, descended from an ancient Cornish family, beloved and respected by all who knew him; Mr. PENROSE, jun. being intended for the church, pursued his studies with success, at Christ Church Oxon, until the summer of 1762, when his eager turn to the Naval and Military line overpowering his attachment to his real interest, he left his College, and embarked in the unfortunate expedition against Nova Colonia, in South America, under the command of Captain Macnamara. The issue was fatal. — The Clive, (the largest vessel) was burnt — And though the Ambuscade escaped, (on board of which Mr. PENROSE, acting as Lieutenant of Marines, was wounded) yet the hardships which he afterwards sustained in a prize sloop, in which he was stationed, utterly ruined his constitution. Returning to England, with ample testimonials of his gallantry and good behaviour, he finished, at Hertford College, Oxon, his course of studies; and, having taken Orders, accepted the curacy of Newbury, the income of which, by the voluntary subscription of the inhabitants, was considerably augmented. After he had continued in that station about nine years, it seemed as if the clouds of disappointment, which had hitherto overshadowed his prospects, and tinctured his Poetical Essays with gloom, were clearing away; for he was then presented by a friend, who knew his worth, and honoured his abilities, to a living worth near £500 per annum. It came however too late; for the state of Mr. PENROSE'S health was now such as left little hope, except in the assistance of the waters of Bristol. Thither he went, and there he died, in 1779, aged 36 years. In 1768, he married Miss Mary Slocock, of Newbury, by whom he had one child, Thomas, now on the foundation of Winton College.

Mr. PENROSE was respected for his extensive erudition, admired for his eloquence, and equally beloved and esteemed for his social qualities. — By the poor, towards whom he was liberal to his utmost ability, he was venerated to the highest degree. In oratory and composition his talents were great. — His pencil was ready as his pen, and on subjects of humour had uncommon merit. To his poetical abilities, the Public, by their reception of his Flights of Fancy, &c. have given a favourable testimony. To sum up the whole, his figure and address were as pleasing as his mind was ornamented.

Such was Mr. PENROSE; to whose memory I pay this just and willing tribute, and to whom I consider it as an honour to be related.

MULTIS ILLE BONIS FLEBILIS OCCIDIT—
NULLI FLEBILOR QUAM MIHI.

J. P. ANDREWS.
The GROVE, Nov. 1781.