Whetstone, George

, is an author of whom very little is known. From the circumstance of his being a kinsman to serjeant Fleetwood, recorder of London, it is probable that he was of a good family. It appears that he first tried his fortune at court, where he consumed his patrimony in fruitless expectation of preferment. Being now destitute of subsistence, he commenced soldier, and served abroad, though in what capacity is unknown. Such, however, was his gallant behaviour, that his services were rewarded with additional pay. He returned from the wars with honour, but with little profit; and his prospect of advancement was so small, that he determined to turn farmer, but being unsuccessful in that undertaking, was under the necessity of applying to the generosity of his friends. This he found to be “a broken reed, and worse than common beggary of charity from strangers. Now craft accosted him in his sleep, and tempted him with the proposals of several professions; but for the knavery or slavery of them, he rejected all: his munificence constrained him to love money, and his magnanimity to hate all the ways of getting it.” At last he resolved to seek his fortune at sea, and accordingly embarked with sir Humphrey Gilbert in the expedition to Newfoundland, which was rendered unsuccessful by an engagement with the Spanish fleet. From this period, Mr. Whetstone seems to have depended entirely on his pen for subsistence. Where or when he died has not been ascertained. He is entitled to some notice as a writer whose works are in request as literary curiosities, but of little intrinsic value. Mr. Steevens pronounced him “the most quaint and contemptible writer, both in prose and verse, he ever met with.” He wrote, 1. “The Rock of Regard,” a poem in four parts. 2. “The Life of George Gascoigne,1577, 4to. A reprint of this may be seen in the late edition of the “English Poets,1810, 21 vols. 8vo. The only original copy known of late years, was purchased by Mr. Maione for forty guineas! 3. “Promus and Cassandra,” a comedy, 1578, 4to, on this play Shakspeare founded his | Measure for Measure.” 4. “Heptameron of civil discourses,1582, 4to. 5. “The remembrance of the life and death of Thomas, late earl of Sussex,1583, 4to. 6. “A mirrour of true honour, &c. in the life and death, &c, of Francis earl of Bedford,” &c. 1,585, 4to. 7. “The English mirror, wherein all estates may behold the conquest of error,1586. This contains much of the state history of the times. 8. “Censure of a dutiful subject of certain noted speech and behaviour of those fourteen noted traytors at the place of execution on the 20th and 21st of Sept.” no date. 9. A poem “on the life and death of sir Philip Sidney” by him, and supposed unique, a very few leaves only, was lately sold at Messrs. King and Lochee’s to Mr. Harding for 261. 5s. An account of some of these curiosities may be seen in our authorities. 1

1 Life drawn up by Mr. Steevens for Dr. Berkenhout. Warton’s Hist, of Poetry. Censura Lit. vols. II. IV. and V Bibliographer.