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THE DRAMA.

ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE.

-Shakspeare.

FRANCIS BEAUMONT, This gentleman was descended from a very ancient family of that name, seated at Grace-Dieu, in Leicestershire.

His grandfather, John Beaumont, had been Master of the Rolls, and his father, Francis Beaumont, one of the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas. Nor was his descent less honourable on the side of his mother, whose name was Anne, the daughter of George Pierrepoint, of Home-Pierrepoint, in the county of Nottingham, Esq. and of the same family from which the present Duke of Kingston derives his ancestry.

Our poet, however, appears to have been only a younger son, Jacob mentioning a brother of his by the title of Sir Henry Beaumont, though Cibber with more propriety, in his Lives of the Poets, vol. I. p. 157, calls him Sir John Beaumont. He was born in the year 1585, and received his education at Cambridge, and he afterwards was entered a student in the Inner Temple. Although, out of fifty-three plays, which are collected together as the labours of Beaumont and Fletcher, Beaumont was concerned in much the greatest part of them, yet he did not live to complete his thirtieth year; he died in the beginning of March 1615, on the 9th day of which he was interred in the entrance of St. Benedict's Chapel, in Westminster-Abbey. He left behind him only one daughter, Mrs. Frances Beaumout, who must then have been an infant, as she died in Leicestershire since the year 1700. She had been possessed of several MS. poems of her father's writing, which were lost in her voyage from Ireland, in which kingdom she had resided for some time, in the family of the Duke of Ormond.

JOHN FLETCHER. This gentleman was not more meanly descended than his poetical colleague; his father, the Rev. Dr. Fletcher, having been first made Bishop of Bristol, by Queen Eliza

Vol. IV.

beth, and afterwards by the same monarch, in the

year 1593, translated to the see of London. Our poet 'was born in 1576, and was, as well as his friend, educated at Cambridge, where he made a great proficiency in his studies, and was accounted a very good scholar. His natural vivacity of wit, for which he was remarkable, soon rendered him a devotee to the Muses ; and his close attention to their service, and fortunate connection with a genius equal to his own, soon raised him to one of the highest places in the temple of poetical fame. As he was born near ten years before Mr. Beaumont, so he did also survive him by an equal number of years; the general calainity of a plague, which happened in the year 1625, involving him in its great destruction, he being at that time fortynine years

of

age.

THOMAS OTWAY. He was the son of the Rev. Mr. Humphrey Otway, Rector of Woolbeding, in Sussex, and was born the 3d of March, in the year 1651. He received his education at Wickeham school, near Winchester, and became a commoner of Christ Church, in Oxford, in 1669. But, on his quitting the university, and coining to London, he turned player.

His success as an actor was but indif. ferent, having made only one attempt in Mrs. Behn's tragedy of The Jealous Bridegroom; he was more valued for the sprightliness of his conversation and the acuteness of his wit; which gained him the friendship of the Earl of Plymouth, who procured him a Cornet's commission in the troops which then served in Flanders.

Otway, like the rest of the wits of every age, was hut a bad economist; and therefore it is no wonder that we generally find him in very necessitous circumstances, This was particularly the case with him at his return from Flanders. He was, moreover, averse to the military profession, and it is therefore not extraordinary, all things eonsidered, that Tom and his commission soon quar. relled and parted, never to ineet again.

After this, he had recourse to writing for the stage ; and now it was that he found out the only employınent that nature seems to have fitted him for. In comedy he has been deemed too licentious; which, however, was no great objection to those who lived in the profligatė days of Charles II. But in tragedy few of our English poets

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