1860 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Mason

George Gilfillan, in Specimens with Memoirs of the less-known British Poets (1860) 3:304.



This gentleman is now nearly forgotten, except as the friend, biographer, and literary executor of Gray. He was born in 1725, and died in 1797. He tragedies, Elfrida, and Caractacus, are spirited declamations in dramatic form, not dramas. His odes have the turgidity without the grandeur of Gray's. His English Garden is too long and too formal. His Life of Gray was an admirable innovation on the form of biography then prevalent, interspersing, as it does, journals and letters with mere narrative. Mason was a royal chaplain, held the living of Ashton, and was precentor of York Cathedral. We quote the best of his minor poems [Epitaph on Mrs. Mason].