Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Perkins, Joseph

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PERKINS, JOSEPH (fl. 1711), poet, born in 1658, was the younger son of George Perkins of Slimbridge, Gloucestershire. He matriculated from Oriel College, Oxford, on 16 July 1675, and graduated B.A. in 1679. After leaving Oxford he obtained a post as chaplain in the navy, and sailed to the Mediterranean in the Norfolk under Admiral Edward Russell (afterwards Earl of Orford) [q. v.] He was very prolific in complimentary verse, and wrote Latin elegies on Sir Francis Wheeler (1697) and other naval worthies; he was, however, cashiered in the course of 1697 for having, it was alleged, brought a false accusation of theft against a naval officer. He wrote a highly florid Latin elegy upon the Duke of Beaufort, which was printed in 1701, and by flattering verses and dedications, together with occasional preaching, he was enabled, though not without extreme difficulty, to support a large family. His efforts to obtain preferment at Tunbridge Wells and at Bristol were unsuccessful. In 1707 he produced two small volumes of verse: ‘The Poet's Fancy, in a Love-letter to Galatea, or any other Fair Lady, in English and Latin’ (London, 4to), and ‘Poematum Miscellaneorum a Josepho Perkins Liber primus’ (no more printed) (London, 4to). Most of his miscellanies were in Latin, and he styled himself the ‘Latin Laureate,’ or, to air his Jacobite sympathies, the ‘White Poet.’ He tried to curry favour among the nonjurors, and wrote in 1711 ‘A Poem, both in English and Latin, on the death of Thomas Kenn’ (Bristol, 4to). The poet's elder brother, George, became in 1673 vicar of Fretherne in Gloucestershire; but he himself does not appear to have obtained a benefice, and nothing is known of him subsequent to 1711. In addition to the works named, two sermons and several elegies were separately published in his name.

An engraving of Perkins by White is mentioned by Bromley.

[Works in British Museum; Watt's Bibl. Brit.; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Rawl. MSS. iii. 199, iv. 102.]

T. S.