Humphreys, Samuel (DNB00)

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HUMPHREYS, SAMUEL (1698?–1738), poet and miscellaneous writer, born about 1698, was well educated, and adopted a literary life. He was best known as author of a life of Prior, prefixed to an edition of his poems (1733–66), verses on Canons inscribed to the Duke of Chandos (1728), and the words to Handel's oratorios, 'Esther' (1732), 'Deborah' (1733), 'Athaliah ' (1733). It is said that 'the admired Mr. Handel had a due esteem for the harmony of his numbers; and the great Mæcenas, the Duke of Chandos, showed the regard he had for his musé by so generously rewarding him for celebrating his grace's seat at Canons' (Daily Post). He died in a 'large old house' at Canonbury, where he had rooms, on 11 Jan. 1738 (cf. Gent. Mag. September 1743, p. 491). He was buried, 'in a private but decent manner, in Islington churchyard.' His other writings were: 'Malpasia, a Poem Sacred to the Memory of … Lady Malpas,' 1732; 'Ulysses, an Opera,' 1733; and 'Annotations on the Old and New Testament,' 1735. He also translated the following dramas and operas: 'Poro, Re dell' Indie,' 1731; 'Rinaldo,' 1731; 'Venceslao,' 1731; 'Catone,' 1732; 'Eyio,' 1732; 'Sosarme Re di Media,' 1732. His 'Peruvian Tales' (1734), said to be translated from the French, and continued by Samuel Kelly, had considerable popularity (republished in 1817). He also translated the 'Spectacle de la nature,' by Antoine Noel, abbé de la Pluche, London, 1733 (Halkett and Laing, Dict. of Anonymous Lit. p. 2465), and pieces by Crébillon and La Fontaine.

[Nichols's History and Antiquities of Canonbury (with quotation from Daily Post); Bibliotheca Topographica Britannica, ii. 32 sq.; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. vi. 71; Grove's Dict. of Music, i. 758; Preface to Peruvian Tales, 1817 edition; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

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