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Laurence Eusden
Laurence Eusden (1720).jpg
Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom
In office
10 December 1718 – 27 September 1730
Monarch George I
Preceded by Nicholas Rowe
Succeeded by Colley Cibber
Personal details
Born 1688
Spofforth, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Died 27 September 1730
Coningsby, England

Laurence Eusden (bapt. 6 September 1688 – 27 September 1730) was an English poet who became Britain's youngest Poet Laureate in 1718.


Laurence Eusden was born in Spofforth in the West Riding of Yorkshire in 1688 (date unknown) to the Rev. Laurence Eusden, rector of Spofforth, Yorkshire. Eusden was baptized on 6 September 1688. He received his education at St Peter's School, York, and at Trinity College, Cambridge. He became a minor fellow of his college in 1711, and in the next year was admitted to a full fellowship.

Early on, Eusden had decided upon building a career through influence. For someone like him, well-educated, with a fellowship at Trinity, but without family money and without well-placed relations, there was no other way to advance in the world. He began to write, with the intention of using his ability to attract notice to himself. And with Newcastle's marriage he succeeded, as he was made Poet Laureate in 1718 by the Lord Chamberlain, Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle, as a reward for a flattering poem on Pelham-Holles' marriage.

Eusden, who was thirty years-old at the time of his appointment was also the youngest Poet Laureate. Eusden secured this post due to the death of the previous Poet Laureate, Nicholas Rowe, and the recommendation of Joseph Addison. Upon his appointment, Eusden produced Birthday and New Year Odes for twelve years.

The last few years of his life were unhappy. He was ordained as a cleric in the 1720s, and assumed the office of rector of Coningsby, Lincolnshire, but his elevation to Poet Laureate brought him derision from his social and literary peers. Eusden died at Coningsby on 27 September 1730. He was buried at his church, St Michael and All Angels, in Coningsby.

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