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About Samuel Garth
Sir Samuel Garth FRS (1661 – 18 January 1719) was an English physician and poet.
Garth was born in Bolam in County Durham and matriculated at Peterhouse, Cambridge in 1676, graduating B.A. in 1679 and M.A. in 1684. He took his M.D. and became a member of the College of Physicians in 1691. He settled as a physician in London and soon acquired a large practice. He was a zealous Whig, the friend of Addison and, though of different political views, of Pope. He ended his career as physician to George I, who knighted him in 1714.
For a while, he owned the manor of Edgcott in Buckinghamshire. He died on 18 January 1719.
In 1697 he delivered the Harveian Oration, in which he advocated a scheme dating from some ten years back for providing dispensaries for the relief of the sick poor, as a protection against the greed of the apothecaries. In 1699 he published a mock-heroic poem, The Dispensary, in six cantos, which had an instant success, passing through three editions within a year. In this he ridiculed the apothecaries and their allies among the physicians.
He is also remembered as the author of Claremont, a descriptive poem. He translated the Life of Otho in the fifth volume of Dryden's Plutarch, and also edited a translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses, to which Addison, Pope, and others contributed. His intervention ensured an honourable burial for John Dryden and he pronounced a eulogy at the funeral in Westminster Abbey.