Georgian Society for East Yorkshire

Hull poet William Mason's Birthday

William Mason

William Mason

Monday, 12th February 1725

On this day in 1725 the poet William Mason was born in the Vicarage of Holy Trinity, Kingston-upon-Hull.

His most popular poem was "Musaeus, a Monody on the Death of Mr. Pope" published in 1747, which begins:

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Sorrowing I catch the reed, and call the muse;

If yet a muse on Britain's plain abide,

Since rapt MUSAEUS tun'd his parting strain:

With him they liv'd, with him perchance they dy'd.

For who e'er since their virgin train espy'd,

Or on the banks of Thames, or that mild plain,

Where Isis sparkles to the sunny ray?

Or have they deign'd to play,

Where Camus winds along his broider'd vale,

Feeding each white pink, and each daisie pied,

That mingling paint his rushy-fringed side?

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The poem runs to over twenty pages and includes pastiches of various great English writers lamenting the death of Alexander Pope.

He also wrote the historical tragedies "Elfrida" (1752) and "Caractacus" (1759) which later formed the basis of opera libretti.

Gwen Staveley's book on Mason may be ordered via our new postal order form (download below).

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