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HENRY ALDRICH (1647-1710)

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Originally appearing in Volume V01, Page 537 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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HENRY ALDRICH (1647-1710), English theologian and philosopher, was born in 1647 at Westminster, and was educated at the collegiate school there, under Dr Busby. In 1662 he entered Christ Church, Oxford, and in 1689 was made dean in succession to the Roman 'Catholic, John Massey, who had fled to the continent. In 1692 he was vice-chancellor of the University. In 1702 he was appointed rector of Wem in Shropshire, but continued to reside at Oxford, where he died on the 14th of December 1710. He was buried in the cathedral without any memorial at his own desire. Aldrich was a man of unusually varied gifts. A classical scholar of fair merits, he is best known as the author of a little book on logic (Compendium Artis Logicae), a work of little value in itself, but used at Oxford (in 'Mansel's revised' edition) till' long past the middle of the 19th century. Aldrich also composed a number of anthems and church services of high merit, and adapted much of the music of Palestrina and Carissimi to English words with great skill and judgment. To him we owe the well-known catch, " Hark, the bonny Christ Church bells." Evidence of his skill as an architect may be seen in the church and campanile of All Saints, Oxford, and in three sides of the so-called Peckwater Quadrangle of Christ Church, which were erected after his designs. He bore a great reputation for conviviality', and wrote a humorous Latin version during the Civil War he was himself editor of the New York Illustrated News. In 1865 he moved to Boston and was editor for ten years for Ticknor and Fields—then at the height of their prestige—of the eclectic weekly Every Saturday, discontinued in 1875. From 1881 to 1890 he was editor of the Atlantic Monthly. Meanwhile Aldrich had written much, both in prose and verse. His genius was many-sided, and it is surprising that so busy an editor and so prolific a writer should have attained the perfection of form for which he was remarkable. His successive volumes of verse, chiefly The Ballad of Babie Bell (1856), Pampinea, and Other Poems (1861), Cloth of Gold (1874), Flower and Thorn (1876), Friar Jerome's Beautiful Book (1881), Mercedes and Later Lyrics (1883) ,W yndham Towers (1889) , and the collected editions of 1865, 1882, 1897 and 19oo, showed him to be a poet of lyrical skill, dainty touch and felicitous conceit, the influence of Herrick being constantly apparent. He repeatedly essayed the long narrative or dramatic poem, but seldom with success, save in such earlier work as Garnaut Hall. But no American poet has shown more skill in describing some single picture, mood, conceit or episode. His best things are such lyrics as " Hesperides," " When the Sultan goes to Ispahan," " Before the Rain," "Name-less Pain," " The Tragedy," " Seadrift," " Tiger Lilies," " The One White Rose," " Palabras Carinosas," " Destiny," or the eight-line poem " Identity," which did more to spread Aldrich's reputation than any of his writing after Babie Bell. Beginning with the collection of stories entitled Marjorie Daw and Other People (1873), Aldrich applied to his later prose work that minute care in composition which had previously characterized his verse—taking a near, new or salient situation, and setting it before the reader in a pretty combination of kindly realism and reticent humour. In the novels, Prudence Palfrey (1874), The Queen of Sheba (1877), and The Stillwater Tragedy (188o), there is more rapid action; but the Portsmouth pictures in the first' are elaborated with the affectionate touch shown in the shorter humourous tale, A Rivermouth Romance (1877). In An Old Town by the Sea (1893) the author's birthplace was once more commemorated, while travel and description are the theme of From Ponkapog to Pesth (1883). Aldrich died at Boston on the 19th of March 1907. His Life was written by Ferris Greenslet (1908).
End of Article: HENRY ALDRICH (1647-1710)
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