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His Dramas had their day, a short day, and are forgotten: his blank verse seems to my ear the echo of Thomson. His Life of Bacon is known as it is appended to Bacon's volumes, but is no longer mentioned. His works are such as a writer, bustling in the world, thewing himself in publick, and emerging occasionally from time to time into notice, might keep alive by his personal influence; but which, conveying little information, and giving no great pleasure, must foon give way, as the succession of things produces new topicks of conversation, and other modes of amusement.
W ILLIAM SHENSTONE,
the son of Thomas Shenstone and Anne Pen, was born in November 1714, at the Leafowes in Hales-Owen, one of those insulated districts which, in the division of the kingdom, was appended, for some reason not now discoverable, to a distant county; and which, though surrounded by Warwickshire and Worcestershire, belongs to Shropshire, though perhaps thirty miles distant from any other part of it.
He learned to read of an old dame, whom his poem of the School-mistress has delivered to posterity; and soon received such delight from books, that he was always calling for new entertainment, and expected that when any of the family went to market a new book should be brought him, which, when it came, was in fondness carried to bed and laid by him. It is said, that when his request had been neglected, his mother wrapped up a piece of wood of the same form, and pacified him for the night.
As he grew older, he went for a while to the Grammar-school in Hales-Owen, and was placed afterwards with Mr. Crumpton, an eminent school-master at
Solihul, where he distinguished himself by the quickness of his progress.
When he was young (June 1724) he was deprived of his father, and soon after (August 1726) of his grandfather ; and was, with his brother, who died afterwards unmarried, left to the care of his grandmother, who managed the estate.
From school he was sent in 1732 to, Pembroke-College in Oxford, a fociety which for half a century has been eminent for English poetry and elegant literature. Here it appears that he found delight and advantage; for he continued his name there ten years, though he took no degree. After the first four years he put on the Civilian's govn, but with
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out fhewing any intention to engage in the profession. . About the time when he went to Oxford, the death of his grandmother devolved his affairs to the care of the reverend Mr. Dolman of Brome in Staffordshire, whose attention he always mentioned with gratitude.
At Oxford he employed himself upon English poetry; and in 1737 published a small Miscellany, without his name.
He then for a time wandered about, to acquaint himself with life; and was sometimes at London, sometimes at Bath, or any other place of publick resort; but he did not forget his poetry. He published in 1740 his Judgement of Her. cules, addressed to Mr. Lyttelton, whose