Thomas Warton

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Thomas Warton
Thomas Warton by Reynolds.jpg
Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom
In office
20 April 1785 21 May 1790
Monarch George III
Preceded by William Whitehead
Succeeded by Henry James Pye
Personal details
Born(1728-01-09)9 January 1728
Basingstoke, Hampshire, England
Died21 May 1790(1790-05-21) (aged 62)
Oxford, England
NationalityEnglish
Alma mater Trinity College, Oxford
OccupationLiterary historian, critic, and poet

Thomas Warton (9 January 1728 – 21 May 1790) was an English literary historian, critic, and poet. From 1785 to 1790 he was the Poet Laureate of England. He is sometimes called Thomas Warton the younger to distinguish him from his father Thomas Warton the elder . His most famous poem remains The Pleasures of Melancholy, a representative work of the Graveyard poets.

History of literature

The history of literature is the historical development of writings in prose or poetry that attempt to provide entertainment, enlightenment, or instruction to the reader/listener/observer, as well as the development of the literary techniques used in the communication of these pieces. Not all writings constitute literature. Some recorded materials, such as compilations of data are not considered literature, and this article relates only to the evolution of the works defined above.

Literary criticism study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature

Literary criticism is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often influenced by literary theory, which is the philosophical discussion of literature's goals and methods. Though the two activities are closely related, literary critics are not always, and have not always been, theorists.

Poet person who writes and publishes poetry

A poet is a person who creates poetry. Poets may describe themselves as such or be described as such by others. A poet may simply be a writer of poetry, or may perform their art to an audience.

Contents

Life

Warton was born in Basingstoke, Hampshire, the son of poet Thomas Warton, the Elder, and younger brother of Joseph Warton. As a youngster, Warton demonstrated a strong predilection toward writing poetry, a skill he would continue to develop all of his life. [1] In fact, Warton translated one of Martial's epigrams at nine, and wrote The Pleasures of Melancholy at seventeen.

Basingstoke town in Hampshire, England

Basingstoke is the largest town in the modern county of Hampshire. It is situated in south central England, and lies across a valley at the source of the River Loddon. It is located 30 miles (48 km) northeast of Southampton, 48 miles (77 km) southwest of London, and 19 miles (31 km) northeast of the county town and former capital Winchester. According to the 2016 population estimate the town had a population of 113,776. It is part of the borough of Basingstoke and Deane and part of the parliamentary constituency of Basingstoke. Basingstoke is often nicknamed "Doughnut City" or "Roundabout City" because of the number of large roundabouts.

Hampshire County of England

Hampshire is a county on the southern coast of England. The county town is the city of Winchester. Its two largest cities, Southampton and Portsmouth, are administered separately as unitary authorities; the rest of the county is governed by Hampshire County Council.

Joseph Warton 18th-century English literary critic

Joseph Warton was an English academic and literary critic.

His early education was given to him by his father. At sixteen years of age he enrolled at Winchester College, later moving to Trinity College, Oxford. He graduated from Oxford in 1747, where he subsequently became a Fellow. Warton was selected as Poet Laureate of Oxford in 1747 and again in 1748. His duty in this post was to write a poem about a selected patroness of the University, which would be read to her on a specially appointed day. [1]

Winchester College school in Winchester, Hampshire, England

Winchester College is an independent boarding school for boys in the British public school tradition, situated in Winchester, Hampshire. It has existed in its present location for over 600 years. It is the oldest of the original seven English public schools defined by the Clarendon Commission and regulated by the Public Schools Act 1868.

Trinity College, Oxford college of the University of Oxford

Trinity College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. The college was founded in 1555 by Sir Thomas Pope, on land previously occupied by Durham College, home to Benedictine monks from Durham Cathedral.

Dr Samuel Johnson - authorJames Boswell - biographerSir Joshua Reynolds - hostDavid Garrick - actorEdmund Burke - statesmanPasqual Paoli - Corsican independentCharles Burney - music historianThomas Warton - poet laureateOliver Goldsmith - writerprob. ''The Infant Academy'' (1782)Puck by Joshua Reynoldsunknown portraitservant - poss. Dr Johnson's heirUse button to enlarge or use hyperlinksThomas Warton
'A literary party at Sir Joshua Reynolds's'. [1] Use a cursor to see who is who.
  1. ^ 'A literary party at Sir Joshua Reynolds's, D. George Thompson, published by Owen Bailey, after James William Edmund Doyle, published 1 October 1851

Warton was appointed Professor of Poetry at the university in 1757, a post that he held for ten years. [2]

In 1771 he was appointed rector of Kiddington in Oxfordshire, a post he held until his death.

Kiddington village in United Kingdom

Kiddington is a village on the River Glyme in the civil parish of Kiddington with Asterleigh about 7 miles (11 km) southeast of Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire. The village is just north of the A44 road between Woodstock and Chipping Norton.

In 1785, he was appointed Camden Professor of History, as well as poet laureate. He was a friend and rival of Samuel Johnson, and his poetry was greatly influenced by earlier English poets such as Chaucer, Drayton, Fairfax, and Spenser.

Samuel Johnson English poet, biographer, essayist, and lexicographer

Samuel Johnson, often referred to as Dr. Johnson, was an English writer who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, playwright, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer. He was a devout Anglican and a generous philanthropist. Politically, he was a committed Tory. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography describes Johnson as "arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history". He is the subject of James Boswell's The Life of Samuel Johnson, described by Walter Jackson Bate as "the most famous single work of biographical art in the whole of literature".

Among other important contributions, Warton, along with his brother, was among the first to argue that Sir Thopas, by Geoffrey Chaucer, was a parody. Warton contributed to the general project of the ballad revival. He was a general supporter of the poetry of Thomas Gray a fact that Johnson satirized in his parody "Hermit hoar, in solemn cell." Among his minor works were an edition of Theocritus, a selection of Latin and Greek inscriptions, the humorous Oxford Companion to the Guide and Guide to the Companion (1762); lives of Sir Thomas Pope and Ralph Bathurst; and an Inquiry into the Authenticity of the Poems attributed to Thomas Rowley (1782).

Poetry, criticism and historical works

In 1749, Warton penned The Triumph of Isis, a poem in praise of Oxford and the many students who had received their education there. Published anonymously, The Triumph of Isis rebutted William Mason's Isis, an Elegy published the previous year, which was anything but flattering to Oxford. [1]

Following the success of The Triumph of Isis, Warton wrote Newmarket, a Satire, which was followed by a collection of verses. His complete poetical works were included in an anthology that has been reissued. [3]

Warton's first major academic work was Observations on the Faerie Queene of Spenser , published in 1754. He is, however, best known for the three-volume The History of English Poetry (1774–81), which covered the poetry of the 11th through the 16th centuries. Although the work was criticized for its many inaccuracies, it is nonetheless considered a highly important and influential historical tome.

In 1782 he wrote The History and Antiquities of Kiddington, an early example of English local history. [4]

As a poet, Warton was more inclined toward light and humorous verse, odes and sonnets. His sonnets helped to revive the form, which had fallen out of fashion.

He is remembered for his interest in primitivism, which was an important stage toward romanticism.

A sonnet by Warton

To the River Lodon [a]

Ah! what a weary race my feet have run
Since first I trod thy banks with alders crowned,
And thought my way was all thro' fairy ground,
Beneath thy azure sky and golden sun;
Where first my muse to lisp her notes begun!
While pensive Memory traces back the round,
Which fills the varied interval between;
Much pleasure, more of sorrow, marks the scene.
Sweet native stream! those skies and suns so pure
No more return, to cheer my evening road!
Yet still one joy remains, that, not obscure,
Nor useless, all my vacant days have flowed,
From youth's gay dawn to manhood's prime mature;
Nor with the muse's laurel unbestowed.

[5]

Various works

Notes

a. ^ The River Lodon referred to by Warton is the stream running through the Parsonage House of his childhood, in Basingstoke. [6] The Loddon rises west of Basingstoke and is fed by springs in the town; it joins the Kennet at Reading.

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— From Sir John Harington, A New Discourse of a Stale Subject, called the Metamorphosis of Ajax

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References

  1. 1 2 3 Life of Thomas Warton, the Younger Archived 14 March 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  2. "He was ordained and eventually served as professor of poetry at Oxford from 1757 to 1767." Warton, Thomas, 1728–90, English poet and literary historian
  3. General Books LLC Archived 18 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine ISBN   1-154-89122-4, reissue of The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray, Thomas Parnell, William Collins, Matthew Green, and Thomas Warton, Routledge, 1853, London by Robert Aris Willmott.
  4. Warton, T. The History and Antiquities of Kiddington. 3rd edition (1815) in Google Books
  5. Chambers' Book of Days 21 May
  6. Gilfillan, Rev. George (1854). The Poetical Works of Goldsmith, Collins and T. Warton. Edinburgh: James Nichol.
Court offices
Preceded by
William Whitehead
British Poet Laureate
1785–1790
Succeeded by
Henry James Pye