Page:Cousins's Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature.djvu/27

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
15
Dictionary of English Literature

the Civil War he sided with the royalists; went to Oxford and studied science, including astrology. The result of his studies in this region of mystery was his Theatrum Chymicum Britannicum, which gained him great repute and the friendship of John Selden. His last astrological treatise was The Way to Bliss, which dealt with the subject of "the philosopher's stone." He also wrote various works on antiquarian subjects, and a History of the Order of the Garter. A. held various posts under government, and presented to the University of Oxford a valuable collection of curiosities now known as the Ashmolean Museum. He also bequeathed his library to the University. His wife was a dau. of Sir W. Dugdale, the antiquary.

Asser (d. 909?).—Chronicler, a monk of St. David's, afterwards Bishop of Sherborne, was the friend, helper, and biographer of Ælfred. In addition to his life of Ælfred he wrote a chronicle of England from 849 to 887.

Atherstone, Edwin (1788-1872).—Poet and novelist. His works, which were planned on an imposing scale, attracted some temporary attention and applause, but are now forgotten. His chief poem, The Fall of Nineveh, consisting of thirty books, appeared at intervals from 1828 to 1868. He also produced two novels, The Sea Kings in England and The Handwriting on the Wall.

Atterbury, Francis (1662-1732).—Controversialist and preacher, was b. near Newport Pagnel, Bucks, and ed. at Westminster School and Oxford. He became the leading protagonist on the High Church side in the ecclesiastical controversies of his time, and is believed to have been the chief author of the famous defence of Dr. Sacheverell in 1712. He also wrote most of Boyle's Examination of Dr. Bentley's Dissertations on the Epistles of Phalaris, and pub. sermons, which, with his letters to Swift, Pope, and other friends, constitute the foundation of his literary reputation. During the reign of the Tories he enjoyed much preferment, having been successively Canon of Exeter, Dean of Christ Church, Dean of Westminster, and Bishop of Rochester. His Jacobite principles, however, and his participation in various plots got him into trouble, and in 1722 he was confined in the Tower, deprived of all his offices, and ultimately banished. He d. at Paris, Feb. 15, 1732, and was buried privately in Westminster Abbey.

Aubrey, John (1626-1697).—Antiquary, was a country gentleman who inherited estates in several counties in England, which he lost by litigation and otherwise. He devoted himself to the collection of antiquarian and miscellaneous observations, and gave assistance to Dugdale and Anthony à-Wood in their researches. His own investigations were extensive and minute, but their value is much diminished by his credulity, and want of capacity to weigh evidence. His only publication is his Miscellanies, a collection of popular superstitions, etc., but he left various collections, which were edited and publ. in the 19th century.

Austen, Jane (1775-1817).—Novelist, dau. of a clergyman, was b. at the rectory of Steventon near Basingstoke. She