1860 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Elijah Fenton

George Gilfillan, in Specimens with Memoirs of the less-known British Poets (1860) 3:24-25.



This author, who was very much respected by his contemporaries, and who translated a portion of the Odyssey in conjunction with Pope, was born May 20, 1683, at Newcastle, in Staffordshire; studied at Cambridge, which, owing to his nonjuring principles, he had to leave without a degree; and passed part of his life as a schoolmaster, and part of it as secretary to Charles, Earl of Orrery. By his tragedy of Mariamne he secured a moderate competence; and during his latter years, spent his life comfortably as tutor in the house of Lady Trumbull. He died in 1730.

His accomplishments were superior, and his character excellent. Pope, who was indebted to him for the first, fourth, nineteenth, and twentieth of the books of the Odyssey, mourns his loss in one of his most sincere-seeming letters. Fenton edited Waller and Milton, wrote a brief life of the latter poet, — with which most of our readers are acquainted, — and indited some respectable verse.