Roome, Edward (DNB00)

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ROOME, EDWARD (d. 1729), songwriter, the son of an undertaker for funerals in Fleet Street, was brought up to the law. He wrote ‘some of the papers called Pasquin, where by malicious innuendos he endeavoured to represent’ Alexander Pope ‘guilty of malevolent practices with a great man [Atterbury], then under prosecution of parliament.’ Pope retaliated by associating ‘Roome's funereal frown’ in the ‘Dunciad’ with the ‘tremendous brow’ of William Popple (1701–1764) [q. v.] and the ‘fierce eye’ of Philip Horneck (Dunciad, iii. 152). On 18 Oct. 1728 Roome succeeded his friend Horneck as solicitor to the treasury, and he died on 10 Dec. 1729. Fourteen months after his death was produced at Drury Lane (8 Feb. 1731) ‘The Jovial Crew,’ a comic opera, adapted from Broome's play of that name; the dialogue was curtailed, some parts omitted, and some excellent songs added (fifty-three in all), the work conjointly of Roome, Concanen, and Sir William Yonge. The opera, thus enlivened, had much success, and was frequently revived. Pope states that the following epigram was made upon Roome:

    You ask why Roome diverts you with his jokes,
    Yet, if he writes, is dull as other folks?
    You wonder at it. This, Sir, is the case:
    The jest is lost unless he prints his face!

[Baker's Biogr. Dram. 1812, i. 606; Genest's Hist. of the Stage, iii. 287–8; Elwin's Pope, iii. 100, iv. 54, 172, 344; The Jovial Crew, 1731, 4to (Brit. Mus. copy, with manuscript note by Isaac Reed); Hist. Reg. 1729, Chron. Diary, p. 68.]

T. S.