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Short poem

Selected Poetry of Gilbert White (1720-1793)

from Representative Poetry On-line
Prepared by members of the Department of English at the University of Toronto
from 1912 to the present and published by the University of Toronto Press from 1912 to 1967.
RPO Edited by Ian Lancashire
A UTEL (University of Toronto English Library) Edition
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries
© 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto

Index to poems

Me far above the rest Selbornian scenes, The pendent forests, and the mountain-greens
Strike with delight; there spreads the distant view,
That gradual fades till sunk in misty blue:
Here nature hangs her slopy woods to sight,
Rills purl between and dart a quivering light.
        (The Invitation to Selborne)
  1. A Harvest Scene
  2. The Invitation to Selborne
  3. The Naturalist's Summer-Evening Walk
  4. On the Dark, Still, Dry Warm Weather, Occasionally Happening in the Winter Months

Notes on Life and Works

The 1813 edition of White's Selborne (viii-ix) gives the following biography:

GILBERT WHITE was the eldest son of John White of Selborne, Esq. and of Anne the daughter of Thomas Holt, rector of Streatham in Surry. He was born at Selborne on July 18, 1720; and received his school-education at Basingstoke, under the Rev. Thomas Warton, vicar of that place, and father of those two distinguished literary characters, Dr. Joseph Warton, master of Winchester school, and Mr. Thomas Warton, poetry-professor at Oxford. He was admitted at Oriel College, Oxford, in December 1739, and took his degree of bachelor of arts in June 1743. In March 1744 he was elected fellow of his college. He became master of arts in October 1746, and was admitted one of the senior proctors of the university in April 1752. Being of an unambitious temper, and strongly attached to the charms of rural scenery, he early fixed his residence in his native village, where he spent the greater part of his life in literary occupations, and especially in the study of nature. This he followed with patient assiduity, and a mind ever open to the lessons of piety and benevolence which such a study is so well calculated to afford. Though several occasions offered of settling upon a college living, he could never persuade himself to quit the beloved spot, which was, indeed, a peculiarly happy situation for an observer. He was much esteemed by a select society of intelligent and worthy friends, to whom he paid occasional visits. Thus his days past, tranquil and serene, with scarcely any other vicissitudes than those of the seasons, till they closed at a mature age on June 26, 1793.

Biographical information

Given name: Gilbert
Family name: White
Birth date: 18 July 1720
Death date: 26 June 1793
Nationality: English
Family relations
          father: John White
          wife: Anne White
          Oriel College, Oxford (B.A.): December 1739 to June 1743
          Oriel College, Oxford (M.A.) to October 1746
Literary period: Georgian
Residence: Selborne, Surrey: 1720 to 1793
First RPO edition: 2002