Pye, Henry James

Pye, Henry James

▪ British poet
born Feb. 20, 1745, London, Eng.
died Aug. 11, 1813, Pinner, Middlesex

      British poet laureate from 1790 to 1813.

      Pye was educated at Magdalen College, Oxford (M.A., 1766), served in Parliament from 1784 to 1790, and became a police magistrate. Fancying himself a poet, he published many volumes of verse; he was made poet laureate in 1790, perhaps as a reward for his faithful support of William Pitt the Younger (Pitt, William, The Younger) in the House of Commons. The appointment was looked on as ridiculous, and his birthday odes were a continual source of derision. His most elaborate poem was the epic Alfred (1801). Perhaps his most worthy piece is the prose work Summary of the Duties of a Justice of the Peace Out of Sessions (1808).

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