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JOSEPH WARTON (1722-1800)

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Originally appearing in Volume V28, Page 336 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JOSEPH WARTON (1722-1800), English critic and poet, eldest son of Thomas Warton (see below), was baptized at Duns-fold, Surrey, on the 22nd of April 1722, and entered Winchester school on the foundation in 1735. William Collins was already there, and the two formed a friendship which was maintained through their Oxford career. They read Milton and Spenser together, and wrote verses, which, published in the Gentleman's Magazine, attracted the attention of Dr Johnson. Warton went to Oriel College, Oxford, in 1740, and took his B.A. degree in 1744. He took holy orders, and during his father's lifetime acted as his curate at Basingstoke. He then went to Chelsea, London; but eventually returned to Basingstoke. He married, became rector of Winslade (1748), of Tun worth (1754); in 1755 he was appointed a master in Winchester school, and headmaster in 1766.. He was not a successful schoolmaster, and when the boys mutinied against him for the third time he wisely resigned his position (1793). His leisure was devoted to literature. Warton was far from having the genius of Collins, but they were at one in their impatience under the prevailing taste for moral and ethical poetry. Whoever wishes to understand how early the reaction against Pope's style began should read Warton's The Enthusiast, the period; but its present magnificence it owes to the grand-duke Charles Alexander of Saxe-Weimar, with whom at certain seasons of the year it was a favourite residence. The most interesting part of the castle is the Romanesque Landgrafenhaus. This, besides a chapel, contains two magnificent halls known as the Sdngersaal (hall of the minstrels)—in which Wagner lays one act of his opera and the Festsaal (festival hall). The Slingersaal is decorated with a fine fresco, representing the minstrels' contest, by Moritz von Schwind, who also executed the frescoes in other parts of the building illustrating the legends of St Elizabeth and of the founding of the castle by Louis the Springer. The Festsaal has frescoes illustrating the triumphs of Christianity, by Welter. In the buildings of the outer court of the castle is the room once occupied by Luther, containing a much mutilated four-post bed and other relics of the reformer. The famous blot caused by Luther's hurling his ink-pot at the devil has long since become a mere hole in the wall, owing— it is said—to the passion of American tourists for " souvenirs." The armoury (Rustkammer) contains a fine collection of armour, including suits formerly belonging to Henry II. of France, the elector Frederick the Wise and Pope Julius II. The great watch-tower of the castle commands a magnificent view of the Thuringian forest on the one side and the plain on the other.
End of Article: JOSEPH WARTON (1722-1800)
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