Born on December 30, 1676, at Bampton, Oxfordshire, John Philips was educated at Winchester from 1691 and Christ Church, Oxford, from 1697. Of his poems, The Splendid Shilling (1701), at first published anonymously, and Cyber (1708) were the most highly regarded in his time. The first imitated Milton, and the second Virgil's Georgick. He also wrote Cerealia (1706) and a poem on the Battle of Blenheim (1705), against the Tories' poem, The Campaign, written by Joseph Addison. Philips died of tuberculosis at 33 years old on February 15, 1709, at Hereford. Edmund Smith wrote "Poem on the Death of Mr. John Philips" that year, and there is a memorial to this shy, gentle Master of Arts in Westminster.