William Somervile

(2 September 1675 - 17 July 1742)

Works in ECPA

Source editions

  • A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes. By Several Hands. Vol. IV. London: printed by J. Hughs, for R. and J. Dodsley, 1763 [1st ed. 1758]. 6v.: music; 8⁰. (ESTC T131163; OTA K104099.004)
  • A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes. By Several Hands. Vol. V. London: printed by J. Hughs, for R. and J. Dodsley, 1763 [1st ed. 1758]. 6v.: music; 8⁰. (ESTC T131163; OTA K104099.005)

Biographical note

William Somervile, son of Robert Somervile (1647-1705) of Edstone, Warwickshire, and Elizabeth (1644-1742), née Wolseley, was born at Colwich, Staffordshire, into a gentry family. He was educated at Winchester College (1690-1694) before entering New College, Oxford, of which he later became a Fellow. In 1696 he entered the Middle Temple to study law, but after the death of his father he returned to his family estate, living the life of a gentleman and country magistrate. Somervile's poetry circulated in manuscript long before it was printed. His poems were collected by Bernard Lintot for publication in 1726 as Occasional Poems, Translations, Fables, Tales, &c. Somervile is mainly remembered as the author of The Chace (1735), a blank verse georgic, in four volumes, about hunting, which was frequently reprinted. He was a close friend and neighbour of William Shenstone. In later life, Somervile had severe finanical difficulties. He died impoverished at Edstone in 1742.

Bibliography

DMI 2182; ODNB 26026; NCBEL 568

Editions

  • The Works of the English Poets, from Chaucer to Cowper; including the Series Edited, with Prefaces, Biographical and Critical, by Dr Samuel Johnson: and the most approved translations. The Additional Lives by Alexander Chalmers, F.S.A. Vol. XI. London: J. Johnson et al., 1810. 147-240. Google Books edition. Web. 24 Feb. 2012. https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=RfZLAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA147

Reference