Read MR. HAMMOND of The Lives of the Poets of Great Britain and Ireland (1753) Vol. V, free online book, by Theophilus Cibber, on

This Gentleman, known to the world by the Love Elegies, which some years after his death were published by the Earl of Chesterfield, was the son of a Turkey merchant, in the city of London.  We cannot ascertain where he received his education; but it does not appear that he was at any of the universities.  Mr. Hammond was early preferred to a place about the person of the late Prince of Wales, which he held till an unfortunate accident stript him of his reason, or at least so affected his imagination, that his senses were greatly disordered.  The unhappy cause of his calamity was a passion he entertained for one Miss Dashwood, which proved unsuccessful.  Upon this occasion it was that he wrote his Love Elegies, which have been much celebrated for their tenderness.  The lady either could not return his passion with a reciprocal fondness, or entertained too ambitious views to settle her affections upon him, which he himself in some of his Elegies seems to hint; for he frequently mentions her passion for gold and splendour, and justly treats it as very unworthy a fair one’s bosom.  The chief beauty of these Elegies certainly consists in their being written by a man who intimately felt the subject; for they are more the language of the heart than of the head.  They have warmth, but little poetry, and Mr. Hammond seems to have been one of those poets, who are made so by love, not by nature.

Mr. Hammond died in the year 1743, in the thirty-first year of his age, at Stow, the seat of his kind patron, the lord Cobham, who honoured him with a particular intimacy.  The editor of Mr. Hammond’s Elegies observes, that he composed them before he was 21 years of age; a period, says he, when fancy and imagination commonly riot at the expence of judgment and correctness.  He was sincere in his love, as in his friendship; he wrote to his mistress, as he spoke to his friends, nothing but the true genuine sentiments of his heart.  Tibullus seems to have been the model our author judiciously preferred to Ovid; the former writing directly from the heart to the heart, the latter too often yielding and addressing himself to the imagination.

As a specimen of Mr. Hammond’s turn for Elegiac Poetry, we shall quote his third Elegy, in which he upbraids and threatens the avarice of Neaera, and resolves to quit her.

    Should Jove descend in floods of liquid ore,
  And golden torrents stream from every part,
    That craving bosom still would heave for more,
  Not all the Gods cou’d satisfy thy heart.

    But may thy folly, which can thus disdain
  My honest love, the mighty wrong repay,
    May midnight-fire involve thy sordid gain,
  And on the shining heaps of rapine prey.

    May all the youths, like me, by love deceiv’d,
  Not quench the ruin, but applaud the doom,
    And when thou dy’st, may not one heart be griev’d: 
  May not one tear bedew the lonely tomb.

    But the deserving, tender, gen’rous maid,
  Whose only care is her poor lover’s mind,
    Tho’ ruthless age may bid her beauty fade,
  In every friend to love, a friend shall find.

    And when the lamp of life will burn no more,
  When dead, she seems as in a gentle sleep,
    The pitying neighbour shall her loss deplore;
  And round the bier assembled lovers weep.

    With flow’ry garlands, each revolving year
  Shall strow the grave, where truth and softness rest,
    Then home returning drop the pious tear,
  And bid the turff lie easy on her breast.