1776 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Oldham

John Nichols, Note in Original Works of William King (1776) 3:54n.



John Oldham, born Aug. 9, 1653, was a bachelor of Edmund Hall, Oxford; A.B. in 1674, and soon after usher to the free school at Croydon. In this situation, some of his poetry having been handed about, he was honoured with a visit by the earls of Rochester and Dorset, Sir Charles Sedley, and other persons of distinction. In 1678, he was tutor to the son of Judge Thurland, and in 1681 to a son of Sir William Hickes. By the advice of Sir William and the assistance of Dr. Lower, he applied for about a year to the study of physic; but, poetry being predominant, he hastened to London, and became a perfect votary to the bottle, yet without sinking into the debauchery of his contemporary wits. He was patronized by the earl of Kingston, who would have made him his chaplain if he would have qualified himself. He lived with the earl, however, till his death, which was occasioned by the small-pox, Dec. 1683. He was particularly esteemed by Mr. Dryden; who has done him great justice in "Verses to his Memory." His works have been frequently printed in one volume, 8vo; in 1722 in 2 vols. 12mo. with the Author's Life; and very lately, under the inspection of Capt. Thompson, in 3 vols. 12mo.