Matthew Green - Encyclopedia




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MATTHEW GREEN (1696-1737), English poet, was born of Nonconformist parents. He had a post in the custom house, and the few anecdotes that have been preserved of him show him to have been as witty as his poems would lead one to expect. He died unmarried at his lodging in Nag's Head Court, Gracechurch Street, in 1737. His Grotto, a poem on Queen Caroline's grotto at Richmond, was printed in 1732; and his chief poem, The Spleen, in 1737 with a preface by his friend Richard Glover. These and some other short poems were printed in Dodsley's collection (1748), and subsequently in various editions of the British poets. They were edited in 1796 with a preface by Dr Aikin and in 1883 by R. E. A. Willmott with the poems of Gray and others. The Spleen is an epistle to Mr Cuthbert Jackson, advocating cheerfulness, exercise and a quiet content as remedies. It is full of witty sayings. Thomas Gray said of it: "There is a profusion of wit everywhere; reading would have formed his judgment, and harmonized his verse, for even his wood-notes often break out into strains of real poetry and music."

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