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Fiona Gibson


Samuel Croxall (c. 1690 – 1752) was an Anglican churchman, writer and translator, particularly noted for his edition of Aesop's Fables.

Samuel Croxall was born in Walton on Thames, where his father (also called Samuel) was vicar. He was educated at Eton and at St John's College, Cambridge, where he took his B.A. in 1711 and entered holy orders. Soon after graduating he began to emerge as a political pamphleteer, taking the Whig side on the question of the Hanoverian succession. In 1713 he published An original canto of Spencer: design'd as part of his Faerie Queene, but never printed, followed next year by Another original canto of Spencer. Croxall's satirical target was the Tory politician of the day, Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford, and the choice of poetical model was also politically motivated. In 1706 the Whig turncoat Matthew Prior had used the Spenserian stanza in An Ode, Humbly Inscrib'd to the Queen on the conduct of the War of the Spanish Succession; at the time of Croxall's poems, Prior was negotiating an unpopular peace on behalf of Harley and so the style he had adopted was being turned against him. This was further underlined by Croxall's next political poem, An ode humbly inscrib'd to the king, occasion'd by His Majesty's most auspicious succession and arrival, once more using the Spenserian stanza and published in 1715.

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