Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 46.djvu/80

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Pomfret
Pomfret
74

he was a member of the committee for ejecting scandalous ministers in the four northern counties of Cumberland, Durham, Northumberland, and Westmoreland. From that year until 1660, when he was driven from the living, he held the rectory of the portions of Clare and Tidcombe at Tiverton. The statement of the Rev. John Walker, in ‘The Sufferings of the Clergy,’ that he allowed the parsonage-house to fall into ruins, is confuted in Calamy's ‘Continuation of Baxter's Life and Times’ (i. 260–1). Polwhele sympathised with the religious views of the independents, and after the Restoration he was often in trouble for his religious opinions. After the declaration of James II the Steps meeting-house was built at Tiverton for the members of the independent body; he was appointed its first minister, and, on account of his age, Samuel Bartlett was appointed his assistant. He was buried in the churchyard of St. Peter, Tiverton, on 3 April 1689. His wife was a daughter of the Rev. William Benn of Dorchester. Their daughter married the Rev. Stephen Lobb [q. v.]

Polwhele was the author of:

  1. ‘Aὐθέντης, or a Treatise of Self-deniall,’ 1658; dedicated to the mayor, recorder, and corporation of Carlisle.
  2. ‘Original and Evil of Apostasie,’ 1664.
  3. ‘Of Quencing [sic] the Spirit,’ 1667.
  4. ‘Choice Directions how to serve God every Working and every Lord's Day,’ 1667; published by Thomas Mall as an addition to his ‘Serious Exhortation to Holy Living.’
  5. ‘Of Ejaculatory Prayer,’ 1674; dedicated to Thomas Skinner, merchant in London, who had shown him great kindness.

A catalogue of the ‘names of the princes with Edward III in his wars with France and Normandy,’ transcribed by him ‘att Carlisle the 21st Aug. 1655,’ from a manuscript at Naworth Castle, is in Rawlinson MS. Bodl. Libr. Class B 44, fol. 47.

[Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Cornub. ii. 517–518, iii. 1316–17; Dunsford's Tiverton, pp. 331, 371–2; Harding's Tiverton, vol. ii. pt. iv. pp. 47, 70; Calamy's Abridgment of Baxter's Life and Times, ii. 239, and Continuation, i. 260–1; Palmer's Nonconf. Memorial (1802 ed.), ii. 79–80; Greene's Memoir of Theophilus Lobb, p. 5.]

W. P. C.

POMFRET, Earl of. [See Fermor, Thomas William, fourth Earl, 1770–1833.]

POMFRET, Countess of. [See Fermor, Henrietta Louisa, d. 1761.]

POMFRET, JOHN (1667–1702), poet, born at Luton, Bedfordshire, in 1667, was the son of Thomas Pomfret, vicar of Luton, who married, at St. Mary's, Savoy, Middlesex, on 27 Nov. 1661, Catherine, daughter of William Dobson of Holborn (Harl. Soc. Publ. 1887, xxvi. 287). The father graduated M.A. from Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1661, became chaplain to Robert Bruce, second earl of Elgin and first earl of Ailesbury [q. v.], and is probably identical with the Thomas Pomfret, author of the ‘Life of Lady Christian, Dowager Countess of Devonshire’ (privately printed 1685). The poet was educated at Bedford grammar school and at Queens' College, Cambridge, graduating B.A. in 1684, and M.A. in 1688. He took orders upon leaving Cambridge, and, having influential connections, he was instituted to the rectory of Maulden in Bedfordshire on 12 Dec. 1695, and to the rectory of Millbrook in the same county on 2 June 1702. He dabbled in verse at least as early as 1694, when he wrote an elegy upon the death of Queen Mary. This was published in 1699, with other pieces in heroic couplets, remarkable chiefly for their correctness, under the title of ‘Poems on Several Occasions.’ One of the longer poems, called ‘Cruelty and Lust,’ commemorates an act of barbarity said to have been perpetrated by Colonel Kirke during the western rebellion. Pomfret's treatment of the situation is prosaically tame. The sale of these ‘miscellany poems’ was greatly stimulated by Pomfret's publication in 1700 of his chief title to remembrance, ‘The Choice: a Poem written by a Person of Quality’ (London, fol.), which won instant fame. Four quarto editions appeared during 1701. In the meantime Pomfret issued ‘A Prospect of Death: an Ode’ (1700, fol.), and ‘Reason: a Poem’ (1700, fol.). A second edition of his poems, including ‘The Choice,’ appeared in 1702 as ‘Miscellany Poems on Several Occasions, by the author of “The Choice.”’ A third edition was issued in 1710; the tenth appeared in 1736, 12mo, and the last separate edition in 1790, 24mo. When the scheme for the ‘Lives of the Poets’ was submitted by the booksellers to Dr. Johnson, the name of Pomfret (together with three others) was added by his advice; Johnson remarks that ‘perhaps no poem in our language has been so often perused’ as ‘The Choice.’ It is an admirable exposition in neatly turned verse of the everyday epicureanism of a cultivated man. Pomfret is said to have drawn some hints from a study of the character of Sir William Temple (cf. Gent. Mag. 1757, p. 489). The poet's frankly expressed aspiration to ‘have no wife’ displeased the bishop of London (Compton), to whom he had been recommended for preferment. Despite the fact that Pomfret was married, the bishop's sus-