1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ellis, George

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ELLIS, GEORGE (1753–1815), English author, was born in London in 1753. Educated at Westminster school and at Trinity College, Cambridge, he began his literary career by some satirical verses on Bath society published in 1777, and Poetical Tales, by “Sir Gregory Gander,” in 1778. He contributed to the Rolliad and the Probationary Odes political satires directed against Pitt’s administration. He was employed in diplomatic business at the Hague in 1784; and in 1797 he accompanied Lord Malmesbury to Lille as secretary to the embassy. On his return he was introduced to Pitt, and the episode of the Rolliad, which had not been forgotten, was explained. He found continued scope for his powers as a political caricaturist in the columns of the Anti-Jacobin, a weekly paper which he founded in connexion with George Canning and William Gifford. For some years before the Anti-Jacobin was started Ellis had been working in the congenial field of Early English literature, in which he was one of the first to arouse interest. The first edition of his Specimens of the Early English Poets appeared in 1790; and this was followed by Specimens of Early English Metrical Romances (1805). He also edited Gregory Lewis Way’s translation of select Fabliaux in 1796. Ellis was an intimate friend of Sir Walter Scott, who styled him “the first converser I ever saw,” and dedicated to him the fifth canto of Marmion. Some of the correspondence between them is to be found in Lockhart’s Life. He died on the 10th of April 1815. The monument erected to his memory in the parish church of Gunning Hill, Berks, bears a fine inscription by Canning.