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Walsh, William

Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405156691.2011.x


Walsh, William (1662–1708), poet, was born at Abberley, Worcestershire, the son of Joseph Walsh (c.1619–1682) and his wife Elizabeth, née Palmes (1637–1719). He was educated at Wadham College, Oxford, and studied law at the Middle Temple. After the death of his father, Walsh had a substantial private income and did not need to practice as a lawyer. He was much involved in literary life in London. His prose Dialogue Concerning Women, being a Defence of the Sex (1691), carried a prefatory epistle by John *Dryden and was published by Jacob *Tonson, who also issued Walsh's miscellany of Letters and Poems, Amorous and Gallant (1692). The latter contained some 20 prose letters, alongside elegies, pastorals, and epigrams. Walsh's elegy on Queen Mary (1695) was addressed to the future Duke of *Buckinghamshire. Walsh published no criticism as such, but Dryden's identification of him as “without flattery, the best Critick of our Nation” (postscript to Dryden's translation of Virgil, 1697), testifies to the help and advice he gave to aspiring authors. In 1698 Walsh was elected MP for Worcestershire, in the Whig interest, and held minor court appointments; he was a natural member of the Whiggish society the Kit-Cat Club, run by Jacob Tonson. Among his other literary friends were William *Congreve and Sir John *Vanbrugh. Walsh contributed to Tom *Brown's Commendatory Verses (1700), a ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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