ELIJAH FENTON (1683-1730), English poet, was born at Shelton near Newcastle-under-Lyme, of an old Staffordshire family, on the 25th of May 1683. He graduated from Jesus College, Cambridge, in 1704, but was prevented by religious scruples from taking orders. He accompanied the earl of Orrery to Flanders as private secretary, and on returning to England became assistant in a school at Headley, Surrey, being soon afterwards appointed master of the free grammar school at Sevenoaks in Kent. In 1710 he resigned his appointment in the expectation of a place from Lord Bolingbroke, but was disappointed. He then became tutor to Lord Broghill, son of his patron Orrery. Fenton is remembered as the coadjutor of Alexander Pope in his translation of the Odyssey. He was responsible for the first, fourth, nineteenth and twentieth hooks, for which he received boo. He died at East Hampstead, Berkshire, on the 16th of July 1730. He was buried in the parish church, and his epitaph was written by Pope.
Fenton also published Oxford and Cambridge Miscellany Poems (1707); Miscellaneous Poems (1717); Mariamne, a tragedy (1723); an edition (1725) of Milton's poems, and one of Waller (1729) with elaborate notes. See W. W. Lloyd, Elijah Fenton, his Poetry and Friends (1894).
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