Philips, John

In Latin: In the church at Hereford lies the body, in this [church] is erected the portrait, and through all Britain is spread the fame of John Philips, who esteemed alike by all good and learned men, his immortal genius (cultivated with various kinds of learning), adorned and embellished with extraordinary candour of mind, and simplicity and nobility of manners. That early thirst of learning which (when a boy) siezed him at Winchester, he continually gratified while a student at Christ Church; in which seat of the muses, fire'd by the curious performances of his collegians, and intently familiar with the best of authors, he attempted poetry in the English language, happily drawn from the Greek and Latin spring, and well worthy an Attick or Roman ear. The jingle of verse in rhyme he gave up for that ancient, free and various manner, suited and attempered to things themselves, not always returning in the same round of measure, nor meeting in the same close of sound. In this single instance of fame he was second to Milton, but in the first, equal to him. Whenever he undertook to embellish any subjects, whether they were low, lofty or middling, he both discovered and imitated whatever was beautiful in others. To whatever subject he adapted his style, he was just in his expression, and curiously inventive of words. O Chaucer, father and founder of English poetry, suffer this, though a bold deviation from thy ancient law of rhyme, a place adjoining thee: for surely it will not misbecome thy dust, to be encircled by a chorus of bards every where around thee. Simon Harcourt, Knight, who (in regard he was valuable both for his character and writings) was, whilst living his encourager, after his death, in respectful remembrance of him, hath erected this monument. J. Philips, son of Stephen Philips D.D. archdeacon of Salop [Shropshire], was born at Bampton in Oxfordshire, 30 December 1676, died at Hereford 15 February 1708. [Translation courtesy of Westminster Abbey, adapted.]
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Year of death: 1708.
Age at death: 31 (classed as: ).