John Langhorne, an English poet, born at Kirkby-Stephen, Westmoreland, in March, 1735, died in Wells, Somersetshire, April 1, 1779. He took orders, and went to Cambridge, where he supported himself by teaching in a gentleman's family. On account of an unfortunate attachment to the daughter of his employer he left his situation and went to London, where he wrote for periodicals, obtained the curacy of St. John's, Clerkenwell, and was appointed assistant preacher of Lincoln's Inn. In 1765 he published a short poem entitled "Genius and Valor," to defend the Scotch against the aspersions of Churchill; for this he received the degree of D. D. from the university of Edinburgh in 1766, and in 1767 he married the lady to whom he had previously paid unsuccessful suit. She belonged to a wealthy family, and the living of Blagden in Somersetshire was purchased for her husband; but within a year she died in childbed. Langhorne then removed to Folkestone, where, in conjunction with his brother William, who held a curacy in that town, he wrote his translation of Plutarch's "Lives" (1771), the work by which he is best known.
He married again, and lost his second wife also in childbed in 1776. In 1777 he obtained a prebend in the cathedral of Wells. He was a voluminous writer of tales, short poems, and sermons, which are little valued. A collection of his poems with a memoir of the author was published by his son in 1802, in 3 vols. 8vo.