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I P S.

n F the birth or early part of the

life of AMBROSE PHILIPS „I have not been able to find any account. His academical education he received at St. John's College in Cainbridge, where he first solicited the notice of the world by fome English verses, in the Collection published by the University on the death of queen Mary.

From this time how he was employed, or in what station he passed his life, is not yet discovered. He must have pub



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lished his Pastorals before the year 1708, because they are evidently prior to those of Pope.

He afterwards (1709) addressed to the universal patron, the duke of Dorset, a poetical Letter from Copenhagen, which was published in the Tatler, and is by Pope in one of his first Letters mentioned with high praise, as the production of a man who could write very nobly.

Philips was a zealous:Whig, and therefore easily found access to Addison and Steele; but his ardour feems not to have procured him any thing more than kind words.; :since he was reduced to translate the Perhan Tales for Tonfon, for which he was afterwards reproached, with this addition of contempt; that he worked


L 1 P S. 3 for half-a-crown. The book is divided into many sections, for each of which if he received half-a-crown, his reward, as writers then were paid, was very diberal; but half-a-crown had a mean found.

He was employed in promoting the principles of his party, by epitomising Hacket's Life of. Archbishop. Williams. The original book is written with such depravity of genius, such naixture of the fop and pedant, as has not often appeared. The Epitome is free enough from affectation, but has little spirit of vigour.

In 1712 he brought upon the stage The Diffrest Mother, almost a translation of Racine's Andromaque. Such a work

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requires no uncommon powers; but the friends of Philips exerted every art to promote his interest. Before the appearance of the play a whole Spectator, none indeed of the best, was devoted to its praise ; while it yet continued to be acted, another Spectator was written, to tell what impression it made upon Sir Roger; and on the first night a select audience, says Pope *, was called together to applaud it. .

It was concluded with the most fuccessful Epilogue that was ever yet spoken on the English theatre. The three first nights it was recited twice; and not only continued to be demanded through the run, as it is termed, of the play, but whenever it is recalled to the stage, where by peculiar fortune, though a copy from the French, it yet keeps its place, the Epilogue is still expected, and is still spoken. · The propriety of Epilogues in general, and consequently of this, was questioned by a correspondent of the Speciator, whose Letter was undoubtedly admitted for the sake of the Answer, which foon followed, written with much zeal and acrimony. The attack and the defence equally contributed to stimulate çuriosity and continue attention. It may be discovered in the defence, that Prior's Epilogue to Phedra had a little excited jealousy; and something of Prior's plan 1 A3

* Spence.



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