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William King

William King (1663 - 1712), poet. He was born in London, the son of Ezekiel King[?]. He was allied to the family of Clarendon.

From Westminster School, where he was a scholar on the foundation under the care of Dr. Busby, at the age of eighteen he was elected to Christ Church[?] in 1681; where he is said to have devoted himself to his studies with so much intensity and activity, that before he had eight years' standing he had read over, and made remarks upon, twenty-two thousand odd hundred books and manuscripts.

In 1688, the same year in which he was made Master of Arts, he published a confutation of Varillas's account of Wickliffe[?]; and, engaging in the study of the civil law, became Doctor in 1692, and was admitted advocate at Doctors' Commons.

He had already made some translations from the French, and written some humorous and satirical pieces and in 1694, Molesworth[?] published his "Account of Denmark," in which he treated the Danes and their monarch with great contempt. This book offended Prince George; and the Danish Minister presented a memorial against it.

In 1699 he published "A Journey to London," after the method of Dr. Martin Lister[?], who had published "A Journey to Paris." And in 1700 he satirised the Royal Society -- at least, Sir Hans Sloane, their president -- in two dialogues, entitled "The Transactioner."

In 1702 upon moving to Ireland, he was made Judge of the Admiralty, Commissioner of the Prizes, Keeper of the Records in Birmingham's Tower, and Vicar-General to Dr. Marsh, the primate.

King soon found a friend in Upton, one of the judges, who had a house called Mountown, near Dublin, to which King frequently retired; It was here he wrote the poem "Mully of Mountown".

In 1708, when Lord Wharton was sent to govern Ireland, King returned to London and published some essays, called "Useful Transactions." His "Voyage to the Island of Cajamai" is particularly commended. He then wrote the "Art of Love," a poem remarkable, notwithstanding its title, for purity of sentiment; and in 1709 imitated Horace in an "Art of Cookery," which he published with some letters to Dr. Lister.

In 1710 he became a supporter of the Church, on the side of Sacheverell[?]; and was supposed to have concurred at least in the projection of the Examiner. His eyes were open to all the operations of Whiggism; and he bestowed some strictures upon Dr. Kennet's adulatory sermon at the funeral of the Duke of Devonshire.

"The History of the Heathen Gods," a book composed for schools, was written by him in 1711. The same year he published "Rufinus," an historical essay; and a poem intended to dispose the nation to think as he thought of the Duke of Marlborough and his adherents.

In the autumn of 1712 his health declined and died on Christmas Day.



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