Medbourne, Matthew (DNB00)

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MEDBOURNE, MATTHEW (d. 1679), actor and dramatist, was a distinguished member of the company at the Duke's Theatre. He published (1667) 'St. Cecilie, or the Converted Twins,' a tragedy, dedicated to the queen consort, and (1670, reprinted 1707) 'Tartuffe, or the French Puritan, a Comedy, lately acted at the Theatre Royal, written in French by Molière, and rendered into English with much Addition and Advantage.' The first piece is said on the title-page to have been 'written by E. M.,' but according to Gildon it was supposed to have been the work of Medbourne, and a comparison of the two plays leaves no doubt as to their common origin. An epilogue to 'Tartuffe' by Lord Buckhurst (published in a 'Miscellany' of 1672) was spoken by Medbourne himself. According to an epilogue by Lord Buckhurst, written for the revival of Jonson's 'Every Man in his Humour,' it would appear that Medbourne was the author of ten plays, but no trace of the others remains. Medbourne was a Roman catholic, and his excessive zeal for his religion laid him under suspicion. He was arrested 26 Nov. 1678, upon the information of Titus Oates, and committed to Newgate, where he died 19 March 1679.

[Langbaine's Account of Dram. Poets, p. 366; Baker's Biog. Dram. i. 506.]

G. T. D.