Bucke, Charles (DNB00)

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BUCKE, CHARLES (1781–1846), dramatist and miscellaneous writer, was born at Worlington in Suffolk, 16 April 1781. For more than thirty years he prosecuted his literary labours in the midst of great poverty. Ultimately he found a liberal benefactor in Mr. Thomas Grenville, from whom, it is believed, he regularly received 5l. a month. He also obtained several grants from the Literary Fund. His death occurred at Pulteney Terrace, Islington, 31 July 1846.

His works are: 1. ‘Amusements in Retirement, or the influence of science, literature, and the liberal arts on the manners and happiness of private life,’ 1816. 2. ‘The Italians, or the Fatal Accusation: a tragedy [in five acts and in verse]. With a preface containing the correspondence of the author with the committee of Drury Lane Theatre, P. Moore, Esq., M.P., and Mr. Kean,’ 7th edition 1819, 8th edition 1820. This tragedy was printed previously to its representation at Drury Lane Theatre on 3 April 1819. It was accepted by the committee of Drury Lane for representation in 1817, and announced in the bills to be performed immediately, Edmund Kean to take the principal character, Albanio; but from several causes it was delayed until 15 Feb. 1819, when Miss Porter's tragedy ‘Switzerland’ was presented. In the latter play Kean acted so badly that Bucke withdrew ‘The Italians.’ The public exposure of Kean created such a sensation that ‘The Italians’ had a rapid sale and passed through eight editions. 3. ‘The Fall of the Leaf and other poems,’ 1819. 4. ‘On the Beauties, Harmonies, and Sublimities of Nature, with occasional remarks on the laws, customs, manners, and opinions of various nations,’ 4 vols., London, 1821, 8vo; 3 vols., 1837; New York, 1843. Originally published anonymously in 1813, under the title ‘The Philosophy of Nature.’ The author left this work improved and enlarged in twenty manuscript volumes. 5. ‘Classical Grammar of the English Language,’ 1829. 6. ‘Julio Romano, or the Force of the Passions. An Epic Drama in six books,’ 1830. 7. ‘On the Life, Writings, and Genius of Akenside, with some account of his friends,’ 1832. 8. ‘The Book of Human Character,’ 2 vols., 1837. 9. ‘A Letter intended (one day) as a supplement to Lockhart's “Life of Sir Walter Scott,”’ London, 1838, 8vo (privately printed). 10. ‘The Life of John, Duke of Marlborough,’ 1839. 11. ‘Ruins of Ancient Cities, with general and particular accounts of their rise, fall, and present condition,’ 1840.

[Gent. Mag. new. ser. xxvii. 558; Addit. MS. 19167, f. 277; Cat. of Printed Books in Brit. Mus.; Lowndes's Bibl. Man. ed. Bohn, 304; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. x. 307, 4th ser. i. 267, 419, 420, 520.]

T. C.