1842 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Richard Blackmore

C. H. Timperley, in Encyclopaedia of Literary and Typographical Anecdote (1842) 2:604n.



Sir Richard Blackmore was a most indefatigable writer, whose numerous compositions may be arranged under the heads of medical, poetical, theological, and miscellaneous. He was the son of an attorney in the county of Wiltshire, and, after the usual routine, was entered at Edmund Hall, Oxford, where he resided thirteen years. His fret employment was that of a schoolmaster, which he soon relinquished for the study of physic, in which he acquired considerable celebrity, and was created a fellow of the royal college of physicians in 1687. In 1689 he was appointed physician in ordinary to king William, and knighted; he held the same office to queen Anne. He died in October, 1729, after a long life of industry, piety, and unblemished reputation. His principal work was his Creation, a philosophical poem, which appeared in 1712, in seven books, of which both the matter and style have been highly commended by Addison and Johnson; the latter affirming, that "this poem, if he had written nothing else, would have transmitted him to posterity among the first favourites of the English muse." The admiration which the works of Blackmore once enjoyed, is not wholly to he attributed to the low state of public taste, but in a great measure to the spirit of party. He being a zealous Whig, and a friend of the king, who knighted him, it became a kind of political duty with one party to read and praise his works, while another heartily despised them.