Alsop, Anthony

, a poetical and miscellaneous English writer, was educated at Westminster school, and thence elected to Christ-church, Oxford, where he took the degree of M.A. March 23, 1696, and of B. D. Dec. 12, 1706. On his coming to the university, he was very soon distinguished by dean Aldrich, and published “Fabularum Æsopicarurn delectus,” Oxon. 1698, 8vo, with a poetical dedication to lord viscount Scudamore, and a preface in which he took part against Dr. Bentley in the famous dispute with Mr. Boyle. This book, Dr. Warton observes, is not sufficiently known. It was better known at one time, however, if we may credit bishop Warburton, who, in one of his letters to Dr. Hurd, says that “a powerful cabal gave it a surprising turn.” Alsop passed through the usual offices in his college to that of censor, with considerable | reputation; and for some years had the principal noblemen and gentlemen belonging to the society committed to his care. In this useful employment he continued till his merit recommended him to sir Jonathan Trelawny, bishop of Winchester, who appointed him his chaplain, and soon after gave him a prebend in his own cathedral, together with the rectory of Brightwell, in the county of Berks, which afforded him ample provision for a learned retirement, from which he could not be drawn by the repeated solicitations of those who thought him qualified for a more public character and a higher station. In 1717 an action was brought against him by Mrs. Elizabeth Astrey of Oxford, for a breach of a marriage contract; and a verdict obtained against him for 2,000l. which probably occasioned him to leave the kingdom for some time. How long this exile lasted is unknown; but his death happened, June 10, 1726, and was occasioned by his falling into a ditch that led to his garden-door, the path being narrow, and part of it giving way. A quarto volume of his was published in. 1752, by the late sir Francis Bernard, under the title of “Antonii Alsopi, sedis Christi olim alumni, Odarum libri duo.” Four English poems of his are in Dodsley’s collection, one in Pearch’s, several in the early volumes of the Gentleman’s Magazine, and some in the “Student.” He seems to have been a pleasant and facetious companion, not rigidly bound by the trammels of his profession, and does not appear to have published any sermons. Mr. Alsop is respectfully mentioned by the facetious Dr. King of the Commons (vol. I. p. 236.) as having enriched the commonwealth of learning, by “Translations of fables from Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic 5” and not less detractingly by Dr. Bentley, under the name of “Tony Alsop, a late editor of the Alisopean Fables.” Sir Francis Bernard, his editor, says, that among the various branches of philological learning for which he was eminent, his singularly delicate taste for the classic poets was the chief. This induced him to make use of the Sapphic numbers in his familiar correspondence with his most intimate friends, in which he shewed a facility so uncommon, and a style so natural and easy, that he has been, not unjustly, esteemed not inferior, to his nic;ter Horace. 1


Bernard’s Proposals for printing the Odes; issued July 27, 1 T-iS. Nichols’s Life of Bowyer, vol. II. p. H33.