Joseph Warton

(1722 - 1800 / England)

Biography of Joseph Warton

Joseph Warton poet

English critic and poet, eldest son of Thomas Warton (see below), was baptized at Dunsfold, Surrey, on the 22nd of April 1722, and entered Winchester school on the foundation in 1735. William Collins was already there, and the two formed a friendship which was maintained through their Oxford career. They read Milton and Spenser together, and wrote verses, which, published in the Gentleman’s Magazine, attracted the attention of Dr Johnson. Warton went to Oriel College, Oxford, in 1740, and took his B.A. degree in 1744. He took holy orders, and during his father’s lifetime acted as his curate at Basingstoke. He then went to Chelsea, London; but eventually returned to Basingstoke. He married, became rector of Winslade (1748), of Tunworth (1754); in t755 he was appointed a master in Winchester school, and headmaster in 1766. He was not a successful schoolmaster, and when the boys mutinied against him for the third time he wisely resigned his position (1793).

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Verses on a Butterfly

Fair Child of Sun and Summer! we behold
With eager eyes thy wings bedropp'd with gold;
The purple spots that o'er thy mantle spread,
The sapphire's lively blue, the ruby's red,
Ten thousand various blended tints surprise,
Beyond the rainbow's hues or peacock's eyes:
Not Judah's king in eastern pomp array'd,
Whose charms allur'd from far the Sheban maid,
High on his glitt'ring throne, like you could shine

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