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WILBERT WEST is one of
the writers of whom I regret my inability to give a sufficient account; the intelligence which my enquiries have obtained is general and scanty. · He was the son of the reverend Dr. Weft; perhaps him who published Pindar at Oxford about the beginning of this century. His mother was sister to Sir Richard Temple, afterwards 'lord Cobham. His father, purposing to educate him for the Church, sent him firft to Eaton, and afterwards to Oxford ; but he was seduced to a more airy mode
of life, by a commiffion in a troop of horse procured him by his uncle.
He continued some time in the army; though it is reasonable to suppose that he never sunk into a mere soldier, nor ever lost the love or much neglected the pursuit of learning; and afterwards, finding himself more inclined to civil employment, he laid down his commission, and engaged in business under the lord Townshend, then secretary of state, with whom he attended the king to Hanover.
His adherence to lord Townshend ended in nothing but a nomination (May 1729) to be clerk-extraordinary of the Privy Council, which produced no immediate profit; for it only placed him in a state of expectation and right of succession,
re a vacai
and it was very long before a vacancy admitted him to profit.
Soon afterwards he married, and settled himself in a very pleasant house at Wickham in Kent, where he devoted himself to learning, and to piety: Of his learning this Collection exhibits evidence, which would have been yet fuller if the differtations which accompany his version of Pindar had not been improperly omitted. Of his piety the influence has, I hope, been extended far by his Observations on the Resurrection, published in 1747, for which the University of Oxford created him a Doctor of Laws by diploma (March 30, 1748); and perhaps it may not be without effect to tell, that he read prayers every evening to his family. Crashaw is now not the A2
only maker of verses to whom may be given the two venerable names of Poet and Saint.
He was very often visited by Lyttelton and Pitt, who, when they were weary of faction and debates, used at Wickham to find books and quiet, a decent table, and literary conversation. There is at Wickham a walk made by Pitt; and, what is of far more importance, at Wickham Lyttelton received that conviction which produced his Difsertation on St, Paul.
Mr. West's income was not large; and his friends endeavoured, but without success, to obtain an augmentation. It is reported, that the education of the young prince was offered to him, but that he required a more extensive power
of superintendence than it was thought proper to allow him.
In time, however, his revenue was improved'; he lived to have one of the lucrative clerkships of the Privy Council (1752), and Mr. Pitt at last had it in his power to make him treasurer of: Chelsea Hospital.
He was now sufficiently rich; but wealth came too late to be long enjoyed: nor could it secure him from the calainities of life;. he loft (1755) his only fon; and the year after (March 26), a stroke of the palsy brought to the grave one of the few poets to whom the grave needed not to be terrible.
His poems are in this Collection neither selected nor arranged as I should