Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/De Vere, Aubrey

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DE VERE, Sir AUBREY (1788–1846), poet, eldest son of Sir Vere Hunt of Curragh Chase, co. Limerick, first baronet, by Eleanor, only daughter of William Cecil Pery, lord Glentworth, bishop of Limerick, was born 28 Aug. 1788. His father, created baronet 4 Dec. 1784, was descended from Vere Hunt, a Cromwellian officer who settled in Curragh in 1657, and whose grandmother, Jane de Vere, was daughter of Aubrey de Vere, second son of the fifteenth Earl of Oxford. Aubrey Hunt was at a private tutor's at Ambleside, and afterwards a contemporary of Byron and Peel at Harrow. He succeeded to the baronetcy on the death of his father, 11 Aug. 1818, and took the name of De Vere by letters patent of 15 March 1832. He married, 12 May 1807, Mary, eldest daughter of Stephen Edward Rice of Mount Trenchard, co. Limerick, and sister to the first Lord Monteagle. By her he had five sons, the third of whom was the distinguished poet, Aubrey Thomas de Vere (1814–1902), and three daughters. De Vere led the life of a quiet country gentleman, and his modesty prevented him from publishing much in his lifetime. He was a man of high patriotic feeling, attached to no party, and, though inclining to toryism, averse to the old-fashioned prejudices of his party. His sonnets show his chivalrous sentiment, and were pronounced by Wordsworth to be the ‘most perfect of our age’ (with perhaps a tacit exception). He died at Curragh Chase 5 July 1846.

He published: 1. ‘Julian the Apostate, a Dramatic Poem,’ 1822. 2. ‘The Duke of Mercia, an Historical Drama, the Lamentations of Ireland, and other Poems,’ 1823. 3. ‘The Song of Faith, Devout Exercises and Sonnets,’ 1842. 4. ‘Mary Tudor, an Historical Drama’ (written in 1844 and published posthumously), 1847. The two first were republished together in 1858. The ‘Sonnets’ were republished in 1875, and ‘Mary Tudor’ in 1884, with a memoir by his son, Aubrey de Vere, prefixed to each.

[Memoir as above; Gent. Mag. 1846, ii. 317; Burke's Peerage and Baronetage under ‘Vere.’]