1775 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Oldmixon

Anonymous, "John Oldmixon" Sentimental Magazine 3 (June 1775) 248.



John Oldmixon, a poet and historian, in the beginning of the present century, was descended from the ancient family of Oldmixons in Somersetshire, but we have no account either of his birth, or the place of his education. The first production we meet with of his is Amyntas, a pastoral, acted at the Theatre Royal. His next theatrical piece was intitled, the Grove, or Love's Paradise, acted at the Theatre Royal in 1700; and his next, the Governor of Cyrus, a tragedy. He wrote an Essay on Criticism in prose, and an Imitation of Bohour's Art of Logic and Rhetoric, in which he very unjustly censures Mr. Addison, and cites the Spectator as abusing Dr. Swift by name, where there is not the least hint of it, and is so injurious as to charge Mr. Addison with writing No. XLIII. of the Tatler, which says of his own simile, "That is as great as ever entered into the mind of man." This simile is in Addison's poem, intitled, The Campaign; and the letter which contains the above words, was wrote by Sir Richard Steele. Mr. Oldmixon, in the same letter, and in many letters in the Flying-Post, frequently reflects on Mr. Pope, for which that gentleman gave him a place in the Dunciad, where representing the dunces diving for the prize of Dulness, he says;

In naked majesty Oldmixon stands,
And, Milo-like, surveys his arms and hands,
Then sighing thus: "And am I now three-score?
Ah, why, ye gods! should two and two make four?"
He said, and climb'd the stranded lighter's height,
Shot to the black abyss, and plung'd downright.
The senior's judgment all the crowd admire,
Who but to sink the deeper, rose the higher.

Mr. Oldmixon being employed by bishop Kennet in publishing the historians in his collection, perverted Daniel's chronicle in numberless places. Yet this very man advanced a fact to charge three eminent persons with interpolating the lord Clarendon's History, which fact was disproved by Dr. Atterbury, bishop of Rochester, the only survivor of them; and the particular part he pretended to be falsified, has been since produced in the noble author's own hand. He also wrote two volumes of poems, published 1714. A History of the Stuarts, in folio. A critical History of England, in two volumes, octavo. The Life of Queen Anne, &c. He was, during his whole life, a virulent party writer, and at length obtained a small post in the revenue at Liverpool, where he died in an advanced age.