1782 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Charles Jennens

Isaac Reed, in Biographia Dramatica; or, A Companion to the Playhouse (1782) 1:253-54.



CHARLES JENNENS. A non-conformist gentleman of considerable fortune in Leicestershire. In his youth he was so remarkable for the number of his servants, the splendor of his equipages, and the profusion of his table, that from this excess of pomp, he acquired the title of "Solyman the Magnificent." Not long before his death, he imprudently thurst his head into that hornet's nest an edition of Shakspeare; but his attempt, which was lame and impotent indeed, being treated with ridicule by the reigning editors, he pursued it with abated spirit, and after he had published Lear, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Macbeth, and Othello, in a manner which has since consigned them to the stalls and chandlers' shops, he died Dec. 20, 1773, at a stately mansion erected by himself at Gopsal in his native county. His name is recorded in this work on account of some of Handel's oratorios, for which he is said to have compiled the words, and particularly those for

The Messiah.