Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lesly, George

LESLY, GEORGE (d. 1701), divine and poet, a native of Scotland, was instituted to the rectory of Wittering in Northamptonshire in 1681, was presented to the vicarage of Olney, 1 Nov. 1687, and was buried in Olney Church on 17 March 1701 (manuscript note in Israel's Troubles; Lipscomb, Bucks, iv. 307).

Lesly wrote: 1. ‘Fire and Brimstone, or the Destruction of Sodom’ [1675], 8vo. 2. ‘Abraham's Faith,’ n.d. A morality, or, as the writer calls it, a ‘Tragi-Comedy,’ which ‘pleased myself and friends.

But if it please not others, let them cast
It out of doors, perhaps 't may be the last.’—Ep.

The characters include the Devil, a Midwife, Faith, Flesh and Despair. The two reprinted with additions in 3. ‘Divine Dialogues, viz. Dives's Doom, Sodom's Flames and Abraham's Faith … to which is added Joseph Reviv'd … the second edition,’ London, 1684. A dedication to Charles, Earl of Westmoreland, dated 14 June 1676, describes the work as ‘the frozen conception of one born in a cold climate.’ Hunter says he saw a first edition dated 1678. Together with this work is bound up in the British Museum copy ‘The Universal Medicine, a Sermon, together with four more,’ 2nd edit. 1684. 4. ‘Israel's Troubles and Triumph, or the History of the Dangers in and Deliverance out of Egypt … turned into English verse,’ 1699 (Jolley, Cat. iii. 1001). With the exception of No. 4, all these rare volumes are in the British Museum.

[Add. MS. 24492, f. 182 (Hunter's Chorus Vatum); Notes and Queries, 5th ser. xii. 308; Baker's Biog. Dram. i. 451; Lowndes's Bibl. Man. (Bohn), p. 1343.]

T. S.