William Mason (poet)

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William Mason
William Mason
William Mason by William Doughty, oil on canvas, 1778.
Born 12 February 1724 (1724-02-12)
Kingston upon Hull
Died 7 April 1797 (1797-04-08) (aged 73)
Occupation English poet, editor and gardener
The death of Alexander Pope from Museus, a threnody by Mason, published in 1747

William Mason (12 February 1724 – 7 April 1797) was an English poet, editor and gardener.


He was born in Hull and educated at Hull Grammar School and St John's College, Cambridge.[1] He was ordained in 1754 and held a number of posts in the church.

In 1747 his poem "Musaeus, a Monody on the Death of Mr. Pope" was published to acclaim and quickly went through several editions.[2] Summarizing this poem, a threnody, William Lyon Phelps writes:

Among his other works are the historical tragedies Elfrida (1752) and Caractacus (1759) (both used in translation as libretti for 18th century operas: Elfrida - Paisiello and LeMoyne, Caractacus - Sacchini (as Arvire et Évélina) and a long poem on gardening, The English Garden (three volumes, 1772–82). His garden designs included one for the 2nd Earl of Harcourt. He published the Poems of Mr Gray, a friend who was a great influence on his own work, in 1775. In 1785 he was William Pitt the Younger's choice to succeed William Whitehead as Poet Laureate but refused the honour.

Memorial inscriptions for Mason may be found at the parsonage he built at Aston near Rotherham,[clarification needed] at Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey and in York Minster.[3]

See also


  1. "William Mason (M742W)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Singer, S. W. (1822). The Life of William Mason, M.A. (in "The British Poets including Translations. In One Hundred Volumes"). Chiswick: C. Whittingham, College House. Vol. LXXVII, p. 5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Phelps, William Lyon (1904). The Beginnings of the English Romantic Movement. Boston: Ginn and Co. p. 69.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


External links

  •  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1893). [https%3A%2F%2Fen.wikisource.org%2Fwiki%2FMason%2C_William_%281724-1797%29_%28DNB00%29 "Mason, William (1724-1797)" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help). Dictionary of National Biography. 36. London: Smith, Elder & Co.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>