Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Brandon, Samuel

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764249Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 06 — Brandon, Samuel1886John Joseph Knight

BRANDON, SAMUEL (16th cent.), is the author of 'The Tragi-comœdi of the Virtuous Octavia,' 1598, 12mo. Concerning his life no particulars whatever are preserved. His solitary play is a work of some merit and of considerable value and rarity. The plot, taken from the life of Augustus by Suetonius, and that of Mark Antony by Plutarch, follows to some extent classical models. Its scene is Rome, and its catastrophe the death of Mark Antony. The fact that at the close the heroine, who oscillates between love for her husband and jealousy of Cleopatra, is still alive, is the excuse for calling it a tragi-comedy. Weak in structure and deficient in interest, the 'Virtuous Octavia' has claims to attention as poetry. It is written in decasyllabic verse with rhymes to alternate lines, and includes choruses lyrical in form and fairly spirited. Two epistles between Octavia and Mark Antony, 'in imitation of Ovid's style, but writ in long Alexandrins' (Langbaine, p. 30, ed. 1691), are added. These epistles 'are dedicated to the honourable, virtuous, and excellent Mrs. Mary Thin' (ib.) The play itself is dedicated to Lady Lucia Audelay. At the close of the work are the Italian words: 'L'acqua non temo dell' eterno oblio.'

[Langbaine's Dramatic Poets; Baker, Reed, and Jones's Biographia Dramatica; Collier's History of English Dramatic Poetry, 1879; Lowndes's Bibliographer's Manual.]

J. K.