1886 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Aaron Hill

Whitwell Elwin and William John Courthope, Note in Works of Pope, ed. Elwin and Courthope (1871-1889) 10:1n.



Aaron Hill, eldest son of George Hill, of Malmsbury Abbey, in Wiltshire, was born February 10, 1684-5. At his own desire, his mother allowed him, when he was only fourteen, to travel to the East, and his character in after years seems always to have retained a certain boyish impulsiveness. His life was a succession of hasty projects, crudely conceived, imperfectly executed, and doomed to invariable failure. In 1710 he was Director of the Haymarket Theatre, in which capacity he remained for some years, and wrote a poem called "The Art of Acting," and a serie of dramatic essays entitled "The Prompter." In 1713 he formed a company for making oil from beechnuts, 25,000 being subscribed in shares. He himself had the patent, but assigned it to the Company, which failed in 1716. Another of his projects, executed in 1727, and also unsuccessful, was using the Scotch woods for building the Navy. He floated trees down the Spey, but the difficulties of navigation proved insuperable. At a later period of his life he engaged, with little more profit to himself, in the art of making potash. He married in 1710 the daughter of Edward Norris, of Stratford in Essex, who brought him a fortune, which, however, does not seem to have been sufficient to relieve him from pecuniary embarrassments. She died in 1731, and he wrote the following epitaph for her tomb:—

Enough, cold stone! Suffice her long loved name!
Words are too weak to pay her virtues claim.
Temples and tombs and tongues shall waste away,
And power's vain pomp in mouldering dust decay;
Eternity, O Time, shall bury thee!

He himself died February 8, 1749, and was buried in the cloister of Westminster Abbey, near Lord Godolphin's monument.