1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Blackmore, Sir Richard

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BLACKMORE, SIR RICHARD (c. 1650-1729), English physician and writer, was born at Corsham, in Wiltshire, about 1650. He was educated at Westminster school and St Edmund Hall, Oxford. He was for some time a schoolmaster, but finally, after graduating in medicine at Padua, he settled in practice as a physician in London. He supported the principles of the Revolution, and was accordingly knighted in 1697. He held the office of physician in ordinary both to William III. and Anne, and died on the 9th of October 1729. Blackmore had a passion for writing epics. Prince Arthur, an Heroick Poem in X Books appeared in 1695, and was followed by six other long poems before 1723. Of these Creation . . . (1712), a philosophic poem intended to refute the atheism of Vanini, Hobbes and Spinosa, and to unfold the philosophy of Locke, was the most favourably received. Dr Johnson anticipated that this poem would transmit the author to posterity "among the first favourites of the English muse," while John Donne went so far as to describe it as "a philosophical poem, which has equalled that of Lucretius in the beauty of its versification, and infinitely surpassed it in the solidity and strength of its reasoning." These opinions have not been justified, for the poem, like everything else that Blackmore wrote, is dull and tedious. His Creation appears in Johnson's and Anderson's collections of the British poets. He left also works on medicine and on theological subjects.