John Philips

(30 December 1676 - 15 February 1709)
John Philips (1676-1709)

© National Portrait Gallery, London

John Philips (1676-1709)

Works in ECPA

alphabetical listing / listing in source editions

Source editions

  • Philips, John, 1676-1709. Cyder. A poem. In two books. London: Printed for Jacob Tonson, within Grays-Inn Gate next Grays-Inn Lane, 1708. [4],89,[1]p., plate; 8⁰. (ESTC T78745)
  • Bramston, James, 1694?-1744. The Crooked six-pence. With a Learned preface Found among Some Papers bearing Date the same Year in which Paradise Lost was published by the late Dr. Bently [poems only]. London: printed for R. Dodsley at Tully's-Head in Pall-Mall; and sold by M. Cooper at the Globe in Pater-Noster Row, 1743. x,24p. (ESTC T34436)

Biographical note

John Philips was born at Bampton, Oxfordshire, the son of the parish vicar, Stephen Philips (1638-84), and his wife Mary, née Cook (1640-1715). He was educated, from 1691, at Winchester College and, from 1697, at Christ Church, Oxford, where he studied botany and other sciences for a time. Philips began writing poetry as a student, and in 1701 his poem The Splendid Shilling, a burlesque in Miltonic verse, appeared in a pirated version. After another pirated edition, Philips published a corrected folio version in 1705. Addison later called it ‘the finest burlesque poem in the British language’ (Tatler, No. 249), it was anthologized throughout the 18th century. Through it, Philips was introduced to Henry St. John (later Viscount Bolingbroke), and was commissioned to write Blenheim, intended as an alternative to Addison's The Campaign. Philips left Oxford sometime after 1707, without taking a degree. Philips' poem Cyder, a georgic poem on the process of cider-making, with many local allusions to Herefordshire, was published by Tonson in 1708. It was an influence on Alexander Pope's Windsor-Forest (1713) as well as on the landscape poetry of Dyer and Thomson. Philips died at Hereford early in 1709. He was buried in Hereford Cathedral. An edition of Philips's Poems, with a Life by George Sewell, was published by Curll in 1713.


ODNB 22123; NCBEL 563; DMI 2019; DLB 95


  • Thomas, M. G. Lloyd, ed. The poems of John Philips. Oxford: B. Blackwell, 1927. Print.

Reference works


  • Cope, Kevin L. When the Past Presses the Present: Shillings, Cyder, Malts, and Wine. Kropf, Carl R., ed. Reader Entrapment in Eighteenth-Century Literature. New York: AMS Press, 1992. 15-43. Print.
  • Fairer, David. 'Where fuming Trees refresh the thirsty Air': the world of eco-georgic. Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 40 (2011): 201-18. Print.
  • Griffin, Dustin. The Bard of Cyder-Land: John Philips and Miltonic Imitation. Studies in English Literature 24 (1984): 441-460. Print.
  • Irvine, Robert P. Labor and commerce in Locke and early eighteenth-century English georgic. ELH 76(4) (2009): 963-988. Print.
  • McGuire, Kelly Ann. 'Dire compotation': eighteenth-century English georgics and the misuses of alcohol. Lumen 23 (2004): 255-273. Print.
  • Rogers, Pat. John Philips, Pope, and political georgic. Modern Language Quarterly 66(4) (2005): 411-442. Print.

Studies of individual works

  • Mounsey, Chris. Christopher Smart's 'The Hop-Garden' and John Philips's 'Cyder', a Battle of the Georgics? Mid-Eighteenth-Century Poetic Discussions of Authority, Science and Experience. British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies 22 (1999): 67-84. Print.
  • Mueller, Andreas K. E. Politics, politeness, and panegyrics: Defoe, Addison, and Philips on Blenheim. Philological Quarterly 94(1/2) (2015): 121-47. Print.
  • Pellicer, Juan Christian. Christopher Smart's 'The Hop-Garden': a satirical parody of John Philips's 'Cyder'?. Notes and Queries 51(4) (2004): 400-406. Print.
  • Pellicer, Juan Christian. Harleian georgic from Tonson's press: the publication of John Philips's 'Cyder', 29 January 1708. Library 7(2) (2006): 185-198. Print.
  • Pellicer, Juan Christian. The Politics of 'Cyder'. Goodridge, John and J. C. Pellicer, eds. Cyder. A Poem in Two Books. Cheltenham: Cyder Press, 2001. i-xvi. Print.