Whitehead, William

(1715-1785)
   Born at Cambridge, where his father was a baker, he was educated at Winchester College and Clare Hall, Cambridge, from where he gradated B.A. (1739) and M.A. (1743); he was elected a fellow in 1742. He became tutor to the young Viscount Villiers, son of the Earl of Jersey, abandoning his fellowship, which would have necessitated taking holy orders. From 1754 to 1756 he accompanied Lord Villiers and Lord Nuneham, the eldest son of the Earl of Harcourt, on a tour of the Continent. Whitehead succeeded playwright and poet Colley Cibber as poet laureate in 1757 after Thomas Gray declined the honor. He died in London. Several of his plays were performed at Drury Lane, with David Garrick in the lead role. His poetry publications: The Dan416 ger of Writing Verse, 1741. Creusa, Queen of Athens, 1754. A Charge to the Poets, 1762. The School for Lovers, 1762. A Trip to Scotland, 1770. Some of his poems: "Ann Boleyn to Henry the Eighth," "Fatal Constancy," "Hymn to Venus," "Inscription, For a Cold Bath," "The Answer," "The Youth and the Philosopher, A Fable," "To Mr. Garrick."
   Sources: Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite DVD, 2006. English Poetry: Author Search. Chadwyck-Healey Ltd., 1995 (http://www.lib.utexas.edu:8080/search/epoetry/author.html). Microsoft Encarta 2006 (DVD). Microsoft Corporation, 2006. The National Portrait Gallery (www.npg.org.uk). Plays and Poems, by William Whitehead, 2 Volumes (no publisher), 1774. The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The Oxford Book of Satirical Verse. Geoffrey Grigson, ed. Oxford University Press, 1980. The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000.

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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