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

LINLEY, GEORGE (1798–1865), verse-writer and musical composer, the son of a tradesman, was born at Leeds in 1798, and partly educated at Eastbury's quaker school. Linley contributed verses to the local newspapers, and published some pamphlets before leaving Leeds in early life. After a residence in Doncaster (see Modern Hudibras, p. 66) and Edinburgh, he finally settled in London, where he made some reputation as the writer and composer of songs and ballads. Among his most fashionable and popular ballads, composed between 1830 and 1847, were, ‘Thou art gone from my gaze,’ ‘Song of the roving gipsey,’ ‘Constance;’ and later, between 1852 and 1862, with a stronger vein of melody, ‘Minnie,’ ‘Old friends at home,’ and Burns's ‘Jolly Beggars.’ Linley's flowing style of composition was little suited to the stage, and his musical pieces produced at London theatres had small measure of success. He was also the author of some farces, and of satirical poems. His ‘Musical Cynics of London, a Satire; Sketch the First,’ London, 1862, a savage onslaught upon Chorley the critic, proved more fatal to the reputation of the author than to that of the victim. It contained smart and clever passages, and, like the ‘Modern Hudibras,’ 1864, was widely read, and passed through two editions. ‘The Showman,’ a work upon which Linley was engaged towards the end of his life, was not published. He died, after a lingering illness, at Kensington, London, on 10 Sept. 1865. He left a widow, a daughter, and three sons.

Linley wrote and composed several hundred songs between 1830 and 1865. The musical play, ‘Francesca Doria,’ for which he wrote the songs and the music, was produced at the Princess's Theatre, London, on 3 March 1849, and published in the same year. ‘The Toymakers,’ operetta by Linley, was brought out at Covent Garden Theatre by the English Opera Company on 19 Nov. 1861. ‘Law versus Love,’ comedietta in one act, by him, was performed at the Princess's Theatre on 6 Dec. 1862.

George Linley, junior (d. 1869), son of the above, published: 1. ‘The Goldseeker,’ and other poems, London, 1860. 2. ‘Old Saws newly set,’ London, 1864. He died 28 April 1869.

[Leeds Mercury, 29 Sept. 1865; Gent. Mag. 1865, pt. ii. p. 655; Linley's Works.]

L. M. M.