Lovibond, Edward (DNB00)

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LOVIBOND, EDWARD (1724–1775), poet, son of Edward Lovibond, a director of the East India Company, who died in July 1737 (Lond. Mag. vi. 397; cf. Chester, London Marriage Licenses, p. 862), was born at Hampton, Middlesex, in 1724. He was educated at Kingston-upon-Thames under Richard Wooddeson [q. v.] and at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he matriculated as gentleman-commoner on 15 May 1739 (Foster, Alumni Oxon. 1715–1888). Inheriting a competence from his father, he was enabled to ‘pass his days in the quiet enjoyment of the pleasures of rural life’ (cf. Ode to Youth). His fame as a poet rests on his contributions to the ‘World,’ a weekly newspaper, started in 1753 by Edward Moore [q. v.], and numbering Horace Walpole and Lord Chesterfield among its original contributors. On 25 July 1754 (No. 82) appeared his best-known piece, ‘The Tears of Old May Day,’ which long maintained a place in English anthologies, and was described at the time as ‘flowing with a plaintive melody which has only been surpassed by the inimitable Churchyard Elegy.’ The comparison indicates the poet from whom, with Mason, and possibly Dyer, Lovibond chiefly drew his inspiration, though in the case of ‘Julia's Printed Letter,’ his most ambitious and best effort, Pope's ‘Eloisa’ is evidently the model. His slighter pieces have the facile, if insipid, prettiness of Ambrose Phillips. Lovibond, who is said to have lived unhappily with his wife, Catherine, third daughter of Gustavus Hamilton of Redwood, King's County, Ireland, whom he married on 26 Dec. 1744 (Lodge, Peerage, 1789, v. 180), died at Hampton on 27 Sept. 1775 (Gent. Mag. 1775, p. 503). Horace Walpole bought some pictures and a fine Cowley ‘at Mr. Lovibond's sale’ in 1776 (Corresp., ed. Cunningham, vi. 349).

His only separate volume of verse, ‘Poems on Several Occasions,’ was published under the superintendence of his brother, Anthony Lovibond Collins, in 1785. It was reprinted in Anderson's ‘British Poets,’ 1794, together with a panegyric described by Croker (Boswell, Life of Johnson, p. 27) as ‘hyperbolical and ludicrous in the extreme.’ The life was subsequently abridged for Chalmers's ‘Biographical Dictionary.’ The poems reappeared in Chalmers's ‘British Poets’ (1820, xvi. 283), in Walsh's ‘British Poets’ (New York, 1822, vol. xxxvii.), and a selection in Campbell's ‘Specimens,’ p. 542.

[Anderson's Poets; Churton's Biog. Preface to T. Winchester's Dissertation, 1803; Bloxam's Magd. Coll. Regist. i. 138–9; Brydges's Censura Lit. vii. 333.]

T. S.