A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Wills, James

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Wills, James (1790-1868). -- Poet and miscellaneous writer, younger s. of a Roscommon squire, was ed. at Trinity Coll., Dublin, and studied law in the Middle Temple. Deprived, however, of the fortune destined for him and the means of pursuing a legal career by the extravagance of his elder brother, he entered the Church, and also wrote largely in Blackwood's Magazine and other periodicals. In 1831 he pub. The Disembodied and other Poems; The Philosophy of Unbelief (1835) attracted much attention. His largest work was Lives of Illustrious and Distinguished Irishmen, and his latest publication The Idolatress (1868). In all his writings W. gave evidence of a powerful personality. His poems are spirited, and in some cases show considerable dramatic qualities.