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And so ends the literary career of Nahum Tate.

Of his private life and habits, little can be ascertained. He was, we are told, of a downcast look, and very silent in company; but he has also been described as a "free and fuddling companion." He has been praised for his integrity and modesty.

There is nothing to justify Dr. Johnson's surmise that he was ejected from his office at the accession of George I. The date of Rowe's appointment is 1715, and it was in this year that Tate died in the Mint, Southwark, where he had taken refuge from his numerous creditors.

He appears to have been very industrious with his pen, but in worldly matters imprudent and unfortunate. His case is one among a thousand which prove the necessity of such institutions as the Athenæum Institute and the Guild of Literature and Art. Patronage was of some avail to Tate and other necessitous men of letters; but when improvidence has not even patronage to fall back upon, as is now the case, there would seem to be greater need for co-operative providence.

Had Tate lived in these days, his life would doubtless have been very badly written by a near relative, and the minutest details of his existence chronicled with precision. There was no such lust for biography when he died in the Mint. But gibbeted by the sarcasms of Pope, he has been much misrepresented by those who copied the sarcasms without reading his works. Sir Walter Scott, who doubtless knew them, gives a mention of him, severe, but fairer than that of many other writers. "He is one of those second-rate bards," he he says, 66 who, by dint of pleonasm and expletive, can find smooth lines if any one will supply ideas."

Neither he nor Shadwell deserve the treatment they have suffered even at the hands of recent writers. Miss

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Strickland calls the latter "the loathsome Laureate,' Religious and political prejudice can see nothing but what is detestable in the poet of the court of William and Mary. We are more surprised to read in Southey's "Life of Cowper"-" Nahum Tate, of all my predecessors, must have ranked the lowest of the Laureates if he had not succeeded Shadwell." Could Southey, with all his varied book lore, have been ignorant of the verses of Eusden? and is he not in this estimate somewhat polite and merciful to his immediate predecessor, Pye?


NICHOLAS ROWE was born at his maternal grandfather's seat, Little Beckford, in Bedfordshire, in 1673. The family from which he descended had long been settled at Lamerton in Devonshire, and the arms they bore had been won for them by a crusader from whom Rowe could trace his descent in a direct line. His father was the first of the house who neglected the cultivation of the ancestral estate, allured by the more brilliant temptations of professional life. He entered at the Middle Temple-rose to the degree of serjeant-at-law, and now lies in the Temple Church. Rowe was first sent to a private school at Highgate, from whence he was removed to Westminster, then flourishing under the rod of Dr. Busby. In 1688 he was elected a king's scholar. He gave early indications of superior ability, and no boy's faculties were allowed to lie dormant under the Doctor's energetic, though kind-hearted, supervision. His academical exercises we are told were above the average merit, and were produced with little labour. At sixteen, his father removed him from Westminster to the Middle Temple, and at that

early age he commenced with great resolution the study of the law. He had already made considerable progress in the acquisition of Greek, Hebrew, and Latin, and had dabbled in poetry. The way in which he applied himself to his legal studies showed that his mind was capable of grasping a large conception, his powers of application were great, and under the superintending advice of his father he might have become a legal luminary. But when he was but nineteen years of age his father died, and accident, indolence, or constitutional bias gave a different direction. to his career. He turned aside from the prospects of wealth and eminence that were opening upon him, declined the patronage of Treby, Lord Chief Justice, and devoted himself unreservedly to the cultivation of his literary


He first came forward as a candidate for poetical fame in his twenty-fifth year, when his tragedy, "The Ambitious Step-mother," was acted at the theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields. It is a sacred piece, taken from the first Book of Kings, the story turning upon the establishment of Solomon upon the throne. This performance exhibits great strength and sweetness of diction, and a loftiness of sentiment, conspicuous in all the after writings of Rowe, while the characters are maintained with discrimination, and when we reflect that Betterton, Booth, Mrs. Barry, and Mrs. Bracegirdle exerted their rare and varied powers in its representation, we cease to wonder at its decided success. This was followed by "Tamerlane," a political play, acted at the same theatre in 1702. Rowe always regarded this production with the fondest affection, and doubtless it excited the noisiest applause. He had always been a stanch supporter of the Hanoverian succession, and the imaginary virtues with which he encumbered Tamerlane were intended as a compliment to the reigning King, William III. Tamerlane was performed

by Betterton, and Bajazet, Emperor of the Turks, in whom it was presumed Louis XIV. was exhibited, by Verbruggen. It was for a time regularly acted every 4th of November, the anniversary of the landing of William III.; but at length, when that King was dead and the two monarchies were at peace, the impropriety of such a distorted caricature of a great, though rival Sovereign, became manifest even to national prejudice, and the representation was discountenanced.

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In the following year appeared "The Fair Penitent,' the plot taken almost entirely from "The Fatal Dowry of Massinger. This tragedy was so popular until within a very recent period, that it seems unnecessary to make any observations on its merit. The great fault of the play is that the action terminates with the fourth act. One of the characters, Lothario, was the foundation of the Lovelace of Richardson, which was more familiar to the readers of a past age than "Pendennis" or "Mr. Pickwick" are to those of the present.

A ludicrous incident happened in connection with the performance of this play the first season it was brought out. Lothario, after he is killed by Altamont in the fourth act, lies dead on the stage in the last. Such a situation is of course filled by one of the underlings in a theatre. Powell played Lothario, and Warren, his man, claimed the right of lying for his defunct master, and flattered himself he performed the part in a superior One evening, the fifth act began as usual, and was proceeding successfully, when, about the middle of the distressful pourtrayal, Powell, behind the scenes, called aloud for his man, quite forgetful of the important part he was performing. Warren, from his bier upon the stage, answered instantly, " Here, Sir!" Powell, who was of an impatient temper, annoyed at his non-appearance, vociferated with an insulting expression: "Come here



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