D.K. Money, The English Horace: Anthony Alsop and the tradition of British Latin verse, Oxford University Press, 1998. Courtesy

Anthony Alsop (?1670 - 10 June 1726) was an English poet who wrote mostly in Latin.


Alsop was born at Darley Dale in Derbyshire.[1]

He was educated at Westminster and at Christ Church, Oxford, where he earned an M.A. degree 23 March 1696, and a Bachelor of Divinity degree 12 December 1706. He was a favorite with Henry Aldrich, Dean of Christ Church; became censor of the college; and was tutor to the "principal noblemen and gentlemen" belonging to it.[2]

Aldrich entrusted him with the publication of a selection from Æsop, entitled Fabularum Æsopicarum Delectus, Oxon. 1698, as part of the series of classical works which the dean printed for new-year presents to his students. It contains 237 fables in Latin verse, with the original Greek of the first 158, the Hebrew of the next 10, the Arabic of the next 8, whilst the other 60 are in Latin only. The previous publication of Boyle's Phalaris in the same series had just given the occasion of the famous controversy with Bentley. In the preface to his ‘Æsop’ Alsop refers to Bentley as a man "in volvendis lexicis satis diligentem," and gives an elegant version of the fable of the dog in the manger, with an intimation, in the phrase 'singularis humanitas,’' of its applicability to Bentley. (The fable is given in Monk's Bentley, i. 97.) This was followed up by the combined assault of the Christ Church wits upon Bentley, who refers contemptuously to Alsop.[2]

Joseph Warton, in his essay on Pope (ii. 320), speaks of the 60 fables as "exquisitely written."[2]

Bishop Trelawny afterwards gave Alsop a prebend in Winchester, with the rectory of Brightwell in Berkshire.[2]

In 1717 an action was brought against him for breach of promise of marriage, and a verdict for 2,000l. damages was given against him. He had to leave the country in consequence, but returned after a time.[2]

On 16 June 1726 a bank gave way as he was walking in his garden, when he fell into the river and was drowned.[2]


Alsop left many Latin odes in manuscript. In 1748 a proposal for publishing them was issued by Francis Bernard, who says that he has been "not unjustly esteemed inferior only to his master Horace." They were published in 1752, with a dedication to the Duke of Newcastle. The classical taste which they display seems to have been combined with the facetious qualities of a college don, not too rigidly decorous, and as fond of smoking as his patron Aldrich, 1 of the odes being composed, as he intimates, with a pipe in his mouth.[2]

He is mentioned in the 4th book of The Dunciad v. 224 —

Let Freind affect to speak as Terence spoke,
And Alsop never but like Horace joke

— lines which, as Pope told Joseph Spence, are intended to have in them more satire than compliment.[2]

Alsop published some slight poems in English in magazines, of which 4 addresses to "Chlorinda" appeared in Robert Dodsley’s 1763 Collection of Poems in Six Volumes; by Several Hands (volume vi).[3] Some of his poems are in the Gentleman's Magazine,’ volumes v. viii. ix..[2]

Critical reputationEdit

The 2 books of Alsop's odes were not reprinted, and he was virtually forgotten until a biographical and critical study of him with a modern edition of the Latin and English poems (D.K. Money, The English Horace: Anthony Alsop and the tradition of British Latin verse), was published by Oxford University Press in 1998.[1]



  • Antonii Alsopi Odarum libri duo (edited by Francis Bernard). Londini: 1752.
  • D.K. Money, The English Horace: Anthony Alsop and the tradition of British Latin verse. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.


  • Fabularum Aesopicarum delectus. Oxoniae, E theatro Sheldoniano, 1698; Edinburgi: Apud Jacobum Watson, 1710.

Except when noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[4]

See alsoEdit


  • "Anthony Alsop" in The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Eighteenth-Century Writers and Writing, (Oxford 2011)


  1. 1.0 1.1 Anthony Alop, Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation. Web, Mar. 30, 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Stephen, 345.
  3. Anthony Alsop, Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive. Web, Mar. 30, 2012.
  4. Search results = au:Anthony Alsop, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Mar. 30, 2020.

External linksEdit


PD-icon.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain, the Dictionary of National Biography (edited by Leslie Stephen). London: Smith, Elder, 1885-1900. Original article is at: Alsop, Anthony

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.