Langhorne, John (DNB00)
|←Langhorne, Daniel||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 32
LANGHORNE, JOHN (1735-1779), poet, the younger son of the Rev. Joseph Langhorne of Winton in the parish of Kirkby Stephen, Westmoreland, and Isabel his wife, was born at Winton in March 1735. He was first educated at a school in his native village, and afterwards at Appleby. In his eighteenth year he became a private tutor in a family near Ripon, and during his residence there commenced writing verses. 'Studley Park' and a few other of his early efforts have been preserved (Chalmers, English Poets, xvi. 416-19). He was afterwards an usher in the free school at Wakefield, and while there took deacon's orders, and eked out his scanty income by taking Edmund Cartwright [q. v.] as a pupil during the vacations. In 1759 he went to Hackthorn, near Lincoln, as tutor to the sons of Robert Cracroft, and in the following year matriculated at Clare Hall, Cambridge, with the intention of taking the degree of bachelor of divinity as a ten-year man. He, however, left the university without taking any degree. Leaving Hackthorn in 1761, he went to Dagenham, Essex, where he officiated as curate to the Rev. Abraham Blackburn. In 1764 he was appointed curate and lecturer at St. John's, Clerkenwell, and soon afterwards commenced writing for the 'Monthly Review,' then under the editorship of Ralph Griffiths [q. v.] In December 1765 he was appointed assistant preacher at Lincoln's Inn by the preacher Dr. Richard Hurd, afterwards bishop of Worcester [q. v.] In the following year Langhorne published a small collection of 'Poetical Works' (London, 1766, 12mo, 2 vols.), which contained, among other pieces, 'The Fatal Prophecy: a dramatic poem,' written in 1765. In the same year (1766) he became rector of Blagdon, Somerset, and the university of Edinburgh is said to have granted him the honorary degree of D.D. in return for his 'Genius and Valour: a Scotch pastoral' (2nd edit. London, 1764, 4to), written in defence of the Scotch against the aspersions of Churchill in his 'Prophecy of Famine;' there is, however, no evidence of any such grant in the university registers. In January 1767, after a courtship of five years, he married Ann Cracroft, the sifter of his old pupils, who died in giving birth to a son on 4 May 1768, aged 32, and was buried in the chancel of Blagdon Church. At her desire he published after her death his correspondence with her before marriage, under the title of 'Letters to Eleanors.' Leaving Blagdon shortly after his wife's death he went to reside with his elder brother William [see infra] at Folkestone, where they made their joint translation of 'Plutarch's Lives . . . from the original Greek, with Notes Critical and Historical, and a new Life of Plutarch' (London, 1770, 8vo, 6 vols.) Though dull and commonplace, it was much more correct than North's spirited translation from the French of Amyot, or the unequal production known as Dryden's version, and though written more than 120 years ago, it still holds the field. Another edition was published in 1778, 8vo, 6vols.; the fifth edition corrected, London, 1792, and many others have followed down to 1879, Francis Wrangham edited four editions of this translation in 1810 (London, 12mo, 8 vols.), in 1818 (London, 8vo, 6 vols.), in 1819 (London, 8vo, 6 vols.), and in 1826 (London, 8vo, 6 vols.) It has also been published in Warne's 'Chandos Classics,' Ward and Lock's 'World Library of Standard Works,' Routledge's 'Excelsior Series,' and in Cassell's 'National Library.' On 12 Feb. 1772 Langhorne married, secondly, the daughter of a Mr. Thompson, a magistrate near Brough, Westmoreland. After a tour through France and Flanders he and his wife returned to Blagdon, where he was made a justice of the peace. His second wife died in giving birth to an only daughter in February 1776. He was installed a prebendary of Wells Cathedral in October 1777. His domestic misfortunes are said to have led him into intemperate habits. He died at Blagdon House on 1 April 1779, in the forty-fifth year of his age, and was buried at Blagdon.
Langhorne was a popular writer in his day, but his sentimental tales and his pretty verses have long ceased to please, and he is now best remembered as the joint translator of 'Plutarch's Lives.' His 'Poetical Works' were collected by his son, the Rev. John Theodosius Langhorne, vicar of Harmondsworth and Drayton, Middlesex (London, 1804, 8vo, 2 vols.) They will also be found in Chalmers's 'English Poets,' xvi. 415-75, and in several other poetical collections. A few of his letters to Hannah More are preserved in Roberts's 'Memoirs of Mrs. Hannah More,' 1835, i. 19-29. Besides editing a collection of his brother's sermons and publishing two separate sermons of his own, Langhorne was also the author of the following works: 1. 'The Death of Adonis, a pastoral elegy, from the Greek of Bion,' London, 1759, 4to. 2. 'The Tears of Music: a poem to the Memory of Mr. Handel, with an Ode to the River Eden,' London. 1760, 4to. 3. 'A Hymn to Hope,' London, 1761, 4to. 4. 'Solyman and Almena: an Oriental tale,' London, 1762, 12mo; another edition, London, 1781, 8vo; Cooke's edition, London, 1800, 12mo: reprinted with 'The Correspondence of Theodosius and Constantia,' in Walker's ' British Classics' (London, 1817, 8vo): appended to 'Elizabeth, or the Exiles of Siberia,' &c., London [1821 P], 8vo. 5. 'The Viceroy: a poem, addressed to the Earl of Halifax,' anon.' London, 1762, 4to. 6. 'Letters on Religious Retirement, Melancholy, and Enthusiasm,' London, 1762, 8vo; another edition, London, 1773, 8vo. 7. 'The Visions of Fancy, in four elegies,' London, 1762, 4to. 8. 'The Effusions of Friendship and Fancy, in screral letters to and from select friends,' anon., London, 1763, 8vo, 2vols.; 2nd edit., with additions, &c., London, 1766, 8vo, 2 vols. 9. 'The Enlargement of the Mind. Epistle I, to General Craufurd [epistle to W. Langhorne],' 2 parts, London, 1763-5, 4to. 10. 'The Letters that passed between Theodosius and Constantia after she had taken the Veil, now first published from the original manuscripts,' London, 1763, 8vo; 2nd edit. London, 1764, 8vo; 4th edit. London, 1766,8vo. 11. 'The Correspondence between Theodosius and Constantia from their first acquaintance to the departure of Theodosius, now first published from the original manuscripts, by the Editor of "The Letters that passed between Theodosius and Constantia after she had taken the Veil,"' London, 1764, 12mo. The whole of the correspondence both before and after taking the veil was frequently published together; 'a new edition,' London, 1770, 8vo, 2 vols.; London, 1778, 16mo, 2 vols.; London, 1782, 8vo; with the life of the author, London, 1807, 12mo; reprinted with the 'History of Solyman and Almena,' in Walker's 'British Classics,' London, 1817, 12mo, and in Dove's 'English Classics,' London, 1826, 12mo. 12. 'Sermons, by the Editor of "Letters between Theodosius and Constantia,"' London, 1764, 8vo, 2 vols. 13. 'Letters on the Eloquence of the Pulpit, by the Editor of the "Letters between Theodosius and Constantia,"' London, 1765, 8vo. 14. 'The Poetical Works of William Collins, with Memoirs of the Author, and Observations on his Genius and Writings,' London, 1765, 8vo; a new edition, London, 1781, 16mo. 15. 'Sermons preached before the Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn . . . Second edition,' London, 1767, 12mo, 2 vols.; 3rd edit. London, 1773, 8vo, 2 vols. 16. 'Precepts of Conjugal Happiness, addressed to a Lady on her Marriage' [in verse], London, 1767, 4to; 2nd edit. London, 1782, 4to. 17. 'Verses in Memory of a Lady, written at Sandgate Castle,' London, 1766, 4to. 18. 'Letters supposed to have passed between M. De St. Evremond and Mr. Waller, by the Editor of the "Letters between Theodosius and Constantia,"' London, 1769, 8vo. 19. 'Frederic and Pharamond, or the Consolations of Human Life,' London, 1769, 8vo. 20. 'The Fables, of Flora,' London, 1771, 4to; 5th edit. London, 1773, 4to; another edition, London, 1794, 12mo; appended to Edward Moore's 'Fables for the Ladies,' Philadelphia, 1787, l2mo. 21. 'A Dissertation, Historical and Political, on the Ancient Republics of Italy [translated], from the Italian of Carlo Denina, with original Notes,' &c., London, 1773, 8vo. 22. 'The Origin of the Veil: a poem,' London, 1773, 4to. 23. 'The Country Justice: a poem, by one of Her Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the county of Somerset,' 3 parts, London, 1774-7, 4to. 24. 'Milton's Italian Poems, translated and addressed to a gentleman of Italy,' London, 1776, 4to. 25. 'Owen of Carron: a poem,' London, 1778, 4to.
William Langhorne (1721-1772), poet and translator, born in 1721, elder brother of the above, was presented by the Archbishop of Canterbury, on 26 Feb. 1754, to the rectory of Hawkinge and the perpetual curacy of Folkestone, Kent, and on 19 May 1756 received the Lambeth degree of M.A. (Gent. Mag. 1864, 3rd ser. xvi. 637). He died on 17 Feb. 1772, and was buried in the chancel of Folkestone Church, where a monument was erected to his memory. Besides assisting his brother in the translation of 'Plutarch's Lives,' he wrote the following works: 1. 'Job: a poem, in three books [a paraphrase],' London, 1760, 4to. 2. 'A Poetical Paraphrase on part of the Book of Isaiah,' London, 1761, 4to. 3. 'Sermons on Practical Subjects and the most useful Points of Divinity,' London, 1773, 8vo, 2 vols. These volumes were published after his death, and were seen through the press by his brother, by whom the 'advertisement' is signed 'J. L.;' 2nd edit. 1778, 12mo, 2 vols.[Memoirs of the Author, prefixed to J. T. Langhorne's editioa of John Langhorne's Poetical Works, 1804, pp. 5-25; Life, prefixed to Cooke's edition of John Langhorne's Poetical Works (1789 ?) and to Jones's edition of the Correspondence of Theodosius and Constantia, 1807; Chalmers's English Poets, 1810, xvi. 407-13; Memoir of Dr. Edmund Cartwright, 1843, pp 0, 7, 12, 13, 19-21; Chalmers's Biog. Dict. 1815, xix. 515-24; Baker's Biog. Dramatica, 1812, i. 444; Georgian Era, 1834, iii. 522-3; Nicolson and Burn's Hist. of Westmorland end Cumberland, 1777, i. 549-50; Collinson's Hist. of Somerset, 1791, iii. 570; Hasted's Hist. of Kent, 1790, iii. 368, 383; Notes and Queries, 7th ser. x. 200, 267, 287, 333, 368, 377; Gent. Mag. 1766 xxxvi. 392, 1768 xxxviii. 247. 1772 xlii. 94, 95; Lowndes's Bibl. Manual (Bohn's edit.); Watt's Bibl. Brit. 1824; Brit. Mus. Cat.]