1844 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Whitehead

Robert Chambers, in Cyclopaedia of English Literature (1844; 1850) 2:118.



WILLIAM WHITEHEAD (1715-1785) succeeded to the office of poet-laureate, after it had been refused by Gray. He was the son of a baker in Cambridge, and distinguished himself at Winchester school, on leaving which he obtained a scholarship at Clare-hall, in the university of his native town. He was afterwards tutor to the son of the Earl of Jersey. Whitehead had a taste for the drama, and wrote "The Roman Father," and "Creusa," two indifferent plays. After he had received his appointment as laureate, he was attacked by Churchill, and a host of inferior satirists, but he wisely made no reply. In the family of Lord Jersey he enjoyed comfort and happiness, till death, at seventy, put a period to his inoffensive life.