GIFFORD, Wrimr.e.m, an English poet, translator, and critic, was b. at Ashburton, in Devonshire, in April, 1756. At the age of 15 lie was apprenticed to a shoemaker, but exhibiting a very decided bias towards learning and poetry, he was enabled, through the kindness of some friends, to acquire an education, and to proceed to Exeter college, Oxford. Gifford's first publication appeared in 1794, being a satirical poem, entitled the Darla, directed against the Della Cruscana (q.v.). It crushed them in a moment, like the fall of a rock. Flushed with success, Gifford next year produced the illaviad, which satirized the offenses in the high places of the drama. In his third satire, Gifford assailed Peter Pindar (Dr. Wolcot); and the coarse and witty doctor, the breath of whose nostrils was literary warfare, rushed to the fray with A Cut at a Cobbler, and bespat tered his opponent with mud from the kennels. Canning and his friends having at this time set up the Anti-Jacobin., Gifford was appointed editor, and through the influence he acquired among the leaders of at least one section of the political world, he was appointed to offices, the joint emoluments of which amounted to S900 per annum. In 1802, he translated Juvenal, and appended to his work a sketch of the poet's life. He .edited the works of Massinger, Ford, Shirley, and Ben Jonson, and in his notes assailed former editors with the utmost ferocity. In 1808, he was appointed editor of the Quar
teerly Rerkw, started by sir Walter Scott and his friends in opposition to the Edinburgh. The periodical under his charge attained great influence, and he continued his editorial duties till within two years of his death. He died in London, Dec. 31, 1826.
Gifford possessed much satirical acerbity and poison, but as a poet lie holds no rank whatever. As annotator and editor of the old English dramatists, he did good service, but his labors in this field are disfigured by suspicion and malignity. As a critic, he was bitterly partial and one-sided, and his praise and blame depended on the political leanings of the writer. Leigh Hunt was to be pursued like a wild-beast, because he was a liberal; and the flower-garden of Endymion, every rose of which was fed by the dews of paradise, was to be trampled upon with critical hoof, because Keats was known to have written a sonnet in praise of Hunt, and was understood to be his private friend. Gifford had been rudely nurtured; lie lived in a time of great political uncharity; and if a portion of the bitterness he displayed may be set down to natural disposition and turn of mind, the larger part, perhaps, must be explained by the pressure of the times in which he lived.