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Born at Abberley, in Worcestershire Educated at Oxford — Dryden's

high Character of him His early Encouragement Buried at Abberley Works and Character.

WILLIAM WALSH, the son of Joseph Walsh, Esq., of Abberley, in Worcestershire,' was born in 1663, as appears from the account of Wood, who relates that at the age of fifteen he became, in 1678, a gentleman commoner of Wadham College.

He left the university without a degree, and pursued his studies at London and at home. That he studied, in whatever place, is apparent from the effect; for he became, in Mr. Dryden's opinion, the best critic in the nation.

He was not, however, merely a critic or a scholar, but a man of fashion, and, as Dennis remarks, ostentatiously splendid in his dress. He was likewise a member of Parliament and a courtier, knight of the shire for his native county in several parliaments; in another the representative of Richmond in Yorkshire ; and gentleman of the horse to Queen Anne, under the Duke of Somerset.

Some of his verses show him to have been a zealous friend to the Revolution ; but his political ardour did not abate his reverence or kindness for Dryden, to whom he gave a Dissertation on Virgil's Pastorals, in which, however studied, he discovers some ignorance of the laws of French versification.3

" By Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Brian Palmes, of Linley, in the county of York. 2 William Walsh, of Abberley, Esq., who has so long ho

me with his friendship, and who, without flattery, is the best critic of our nation.-DRYDEN: Postscript to Virgil.

3 The ‘Dissertation' was written, not by Walsh, but by Dr. Knightly Chetwood. See Malone's 'Dryden,' iv. 547.


In 1705 he began to correspond with Mr. Pope, 4 in whom he discovered very early the power of poetry. Their letters are written upon the pastoral comedy of the Italians, and those pastorals which Pope was then preparing to publish.”

The kindnesses which are first experienced are seldom forgotten. Pope always retained a grateful memory of Walsh's notice, and mentioned him in one of his latter pieces 6 among those that had encouraged his juvenile studies.

“ Granville the rolite, And kuowing Walsh, would tell me I could write." In his . Essay on Criticism' he had given him more splendid praise; and, in the opinion of his learned commentator," sacrificed a little of his judgment to his gratitude. 8

The time of his death I have not learned. It must have happened between 1707, when he wrote to Pope, and 1711, when Pope praised him in his Essay. The epitaph' makes him forty-six years old : if Wood's account be right, he died in 1709.10


4 Walsh was the grandson of Elizabeth Blount, daughter of Sir George Blount, Bart., of Sodington, in Worcestershire. Edward Blount, the correspondent of Pope, was of this family, but in no way related to Martha and Theresa Blount.

“ Another of my earliest acquaintance was Walsh. I was with him at his seat in Worcestershire for a good part of the summer of 1705, and showed him my 'Essay on Criticism' in 1706. Walsh died the year after.”.- l'ore: Spence by Singer, p. 194.

l'ope's fourth Pastoral, “To the Memory of Mrs. Tempest' is built on Walsh’s ‘Delia, a Pastoral Eclogue upon the Death of Mrs. Tempest, who died upon the day of the late storm:' printed in Tonson's 5th Miscellany, 8vo., 1704, before Pope and Walsh were acquainted. The turn Pope's Pastoral takes was made at the request of Walsh. See Walsh's letter to Pope of 9th Sept., 1706.

Epistle to Arbuthnot, first published in 1734. ? Joseph Warton. See his Essay on Pope, i. 205, 4th ed.

8 About fifteen I got acquainted with Mr. Walsh. He used to encourage me much, and used to tell me that there was one way left of excelling, for though we had several great poets, we never had any one great poet that was correct; and he desired me to make that my study and aim.-Pope : Spence by Singer, p. 280.

* On a flat stone in the church of Abberley, in Worcestershire.

10 He died without issue at Marlborough, in Wiltshire, 15th March, 1707, i. c, 1707-8.






He is known more by his familiarity with greater men, than by anything done or written by himself.

His works are not numerous. In prose he wrote [1691] · A Dialogue concerning Women, being a Defence of the Sex,' which Dryden honoured with a preface."

• Esculapius, or the Hospital of Fools, published after his death.

“A Collection of Letters and Poems, amorous and gallant,' was published in the volumes called Dryden's Miscellany," and some other occasional pieces.

To his Poems and Letters is prefixed a very judicious preface upon Epistolary Composition and Amorous Poetry.

In his 'Golden Age Restored’ there was something of humour while the facts were recent, but it now strikes no longer. In his imitation of Horace, the first stanzas are happily turned, and in all his writings there are pleasing passages. He has, however, more elegance than vigour, and seldom rises higher than to be pretty."


" In Mr. Robert Bell's 'Life of Dryden' (12mo., 1852) are five letters from Dryden to Walsh–

-one on this very Dialogue. 12 This is not the case. They were published separately in 1692, in one volume. A short passage from the poem on Retirement was remembered by Johnson, and is quoted in Boswell, p. 221, ed. 1848.

13 Walsh, a name yet preserved among the minor poets.-Jouisson : Life of Pope.

All we know of Walsh is his 'Ode to King William,' and Pope's Epithet of • Knowing Walsh.'--Brron: Life, i. 196, ed.

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