1814 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Boyse

Anonymous, "Select Anecdotes: Samuel Boyse" La Belle Assemblee NS 10 (Ocober 1814) 151.



This ingenious person, who had received the rudiments of education at a private school in Dublin, was sent to the university of Glasgow, where, before he was twenty, he married a tradesman's daughter in that city, who was of a very dissolute character, and soon ruined him. He was born in the year 1708, and in 1740 he was so reduced that he had not even a shirt or coat which he could appear in.

In 1742 he was in a spunging house; from whence, after a long continuance there, he obtained his liberty. His imprudence and wants, however, still increased, and in order to alleviate them he had recourse to the following expedients to obtain benefactions. Sometimes he would raise subscriptions on poems which he never meant to compose; at other times he would order his wife to write some passionate people, telling them he was at the point of death; and he has often been met by those very people in full health the day after.

While he resided at Reading, in the year 1745, his wife died; on which he tied a piece of black crape round the neck of a little dog, which he always used to carry about in his arms. When he was in liquor he always imagined her to be alive, and would use much invective against those with whom he thought she might then be in company. After he quitted Reading he grew more sober and decent, and great hopes were entertained of his reformation; but his health declined daily, and after a lingering illness, he died in an obscure lodging in Shoe-lane, in 1749, and was buried at the expence of the parish.