Greene, Edward Burnaby (DNB00)

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GREENE, EDWARD BURNABY (d. 1788), poet and translator, was the eldest son of Edward Burnaby (d. 1759), one of the chief clerks of the treasury, by his wife Elizabeth Greene (d. 1754), daughter of Thomas Greene (d. 1740), a wealthy brewer of St. Margaret's, Westminster (will of Thomas Greene registered in P.C.C. 225, Browne). On the death of his aunt, Miss Frances Greene, on 30 Dec. 1740 (Gent. Mag. 1740, p. 50), he inherited his grandfather's fortune, 4,000l. a year, and his business; and in the following year an act of parliament was passed to enable him, then an infant, to assume the surname of Greene in addition to that of Burnaby. As Edward Greene Burnaby he entered Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, on 22 Sept. 1755, as a fellow-commoner under the tuition of Mr. Barnardiston (College Register), but did not take a degree. He then became a brewer, knowing-nothing of the business, and lived in considerable splendour at Westminster, and at Northlands, or Norlands, Kensington. He contracted an enormous debt, and in 1779 his property was sold, and he was forced to retire to a lodging. His valuable library was sold by Christie. Greene died on 12 March 1788 (Gent. Mag. 1788, pt. i. p. 276). He married, on 12 Feb. 1761, Miss Cartwright of Kensington (ib. 1761, p. 94), who died before him, leaving three children, Anne, Pitt, and Emma.

Greene's literary attempts, turgid translations from the Greek and Latin poets, and feeble imitations of Gray and Shenstone, brought him little save ridicule. The following is probably an incomplete list: 1. ‘An Imitation of the Tenth Epistle of the First Book of Horace,’ 4to, London, 1756. (See Boswell, Life of Johnson, ed. Hill, i. 517.) 2. ‘Cam. An Elegy,’ a satire on the appointment of the Duke of Newcastle as chancellor of the university. ByE.B.G[reene],4to, London, 1764 (another edition in vol. lxxxix. of ‘The British Poets,’ 12mo, London, 1822). 3. ‘The Laureat, a Poem inscribed to the Memory of Charles Churchill,’ by E.B.G[reene], 4to, London, 1765. 4. ‘An Essay on Pastoral Poetry,’ prefixed to ‘The Idylliums of Theocritus, translated from the Greek with notes … by Francis Fawkes,’ 8vo, London, 1767. 5. ‘The Works of Anacreon and Sappho; with pieces from Ancient Authors (Bion, Moschus, Virgil, Horace), and occasional Essays; … [E.B.G(reene)]. With the Classic, an introductory Poem,’ 8vo, London, 1768; the translation of Anacreon was included in the ‘édition polyglotte’ of that poet, 8vo, Paris (Lyon), 1835. 6. ‘Critical Essays:’ observations on Longinus; the influence of government on the mental faculties; and essays on the fourth, fifth, and sixth book of the ‘Æneid’ [by E.B.G(reene)], 8vo, London, 1770. 7. ‘Poetical Essays’ [E.B.G(reene)], 8vo, London, 1772. 8. ‘Hero and Leander, a Poem from the Greek of Musæus’ [by E.B.G(reene)],4to, London, 1773. 9. ‘Ode Pindarica [by Thomas Gray] pro Cambriæ vatibus, Latino carmine reddita’ [by E.B.G(reene)], 4to, London, 1775. 10. ‘The Latin Odes of Mr. Gray, in English Verse [translated by E.B.G(reene)], with an Ode [signed E.B.G.] on the death of a favourite Spaniel,’ 4to, London, 1775. 11. ‘The Pythian, Nemean, and Isthmian Odes of Pindar, translated into English Verse, with remarks’ [by E.B.G(reene)], 4to, London, 1778 (another edition, with the versions of G. West and H.J. Pye, 2 vols. 12mo, London, 1810 ; also in vol. vi. of ‘The Works of the Greek and Roman Poets,’ 16mo, London, 1813). This wretched version afforded no little mirth to the wits of the ‘Gentleman's Magazine’ (Gent. Mag. 1782, pp. 253, 342). 12. ‘Substance of Political Debates on his Majesty's Speech on the Address and Amendment, Nov. 25, 1779,’ 8vo, London, 1779. 13. ‘The Satires of Persius paraphrastically imitated’ [byE.B.G(reene)], 8vo, London, 1779. 14. ‘The Argonautic Expedition,’ translated from the Greek with notes, &c. [by E.B.G(reene)], 2 vols. 8vo, London, 1780. This was severely criticised by ‘D. H.’ (Richard Gough) in the ‘Gentleman's Magazine’ for August, September, and October 1782. 15. ‘Ode inscribed to Leonard Smelt, Esq., 1780,’ 4to, London, 1780. 16. ‘Whispers for the ear of the Author of Thelyphthora [Martin Madan] …,’ 8vo, London, 1781. 17. ‘Strictures upon a Pamphlet [by Edmund Malone]’ upon Chatterton's Rowley poems, 8vo, London, 1782. 18. ‘Ode to the Humane Society,’ 4to, London, 1784; printed gratuitously by John Nichols for the benefit of that institution (Nichols, Lit. Anecd. viii. 148-9). Greene contributed occasionally to the ‘Gentleman's Magazine;’ his best piece being a ‘Pastoral’ contributed to the number for June 1757.

[Nichols's Lit. Anecd. viii. ix.; Gent. Mag. 1738 p. 357, 1740 p. 50, 1754 p. 530, 1759 p. 497, 1788 pt. i. p. 276.]

G. G.