Henry Kirke White, an English poet, born in Nottingham, March 21, 1785, died in Cambridge, Oct. 19, 1806. He was the son of a butcher, and assisted his father until his 14th year, but learned French and began to write verses. He was apprenticed to a stocking weaver, but after a year was placed in an attorney's office, and besides the study of law applied himself to the Latin, Greek, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese languages, to some of the sciences, to drawing, and to playing the piano. He began to write for magazines in his 15th year, obtained several prizes, and published "Clifton Grove and other Poems" (1803). Becoming converted from religious indifference to earnest Christian faith, he sought a university education for the purpose of entering the ministry. In 1804 he obtained a sizarship at St. John's college, Cambridge, where for two years he was at the head of his class. He was then appointed a tutor in mathematics; but he had destroyed his health by too much study, and after a visit to London he returned to the college to die of consumption.
A tablet to his memory, with a medallion by Chantrey, was placed in All Saints' church, Cambridge, by Francis Boott, an American. Robert Southey published "The Remains of Henry Kirke White, with an Account of his Life" (2 vols., 1807; supplementary volume, 1822).