1756 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Elijah Fenton

Earl of Orrery to William Duncombe, 1756; Duncombe, Letters of Eminent Persons (1772; 1773) 2:39n.



Mr. Fenton was my tutor; he taught me to read English, and attended me through the Latin tongue from the age of seven to thirteen. When I became a man, a constant and free friendship subsisted between us. The fact which Mr. Warton asserts concerning him [in the Essay on Pope] is far from being true. He translated double the number of books in the Odyssey that Pope has owned. His reward was a trifle, an errant trifle. He has even told me, that he thought Pope feared him more than he loved him: he had no opinion of Pope's heart, and declared him, in the words of bishop Atterbury, "mens curva in copore curvo." Poor Fenton died of a great chair, and two bottles of port a day. He was one of the worthiest and modestest men that ever belonged to the court of Apollo. Tears arise when I think of him, though he has been dead above twenty years.