began his working life as a farm labourer. Almost entirely self‐educated, he took to writing verse, and came to the notice of Queen Caroline, who gave him a pension and made him a yeoman of the guard in 1733. In 1746 he was ordained but some years later, in a fit of despondency, he drowned himself. His best‐known poem, The Thresher's Labour (in heroic couplets), is a vividly realistic portrayal of the unremitting toil of the labourer's life. See also Primitivism.