Biography

Obituary from The Gentleman’s Magazine 89 (January 1819) 93-94.

 

At Somers Town, in his 81st year, Dr. John Wolcot, well known to the literary world under the name of Peter Pindar. β€” He did not suffer much pain, and though strongly attached to life, prepared for the expected stroke of death with resignation and firmness. It is needless to expatiate on the character of his works, as they are universally known. Nature has seldom afforded a more original genius, and his mind was stored with various knowledge. He was well acquainted with the Greek language, and was a sound scholar in Latin. He spoke French with facility, and had made considerable progress in Italian. He drew his imagery from Nature and Life, which he had observed with vigilance and accuracy. Perhaps hardly any Poet since Shakspeare has illustrated his works with more abundant allusions derived from the sources of Nature. He had seen much of the world in various parts, and excelled in the imitation as well as delineation of character. His satirical humour was exuberant; and in reference to our revered Sovereign, it is impossible to palliate, or rather, not strongly to reprobate, the freedom, to use the mildest word, which he took with the Royal Character; but such is the ignorance, malevolence, and bad taste of the world, that his works were more popular on that account than for the original humour, wit, tenderness, and often sublimity, by which they are characterised. He never attacked any person after be became acquainted with him. He retained his faculties to the last, and was able, till within a very few days of his death, to dictate verses from his bed, which were strongly marked by his former strength and humour. It is proper to add, that no man had more reverential notions of the wisdom and goodness of the Supreme Being as observable in the universe. He was a firm friend to the British Constitution, and held in horror the principles of democracy and the fury of a mob. He was a sound critic in poetry and painting; and his sketches of landscape evinced a degree of taste which, if poetry had not engrossed so much of his attention, might have rendered him no inferior artist. Peace to his manes!