Nahum Tate

From Academic Kids

Nahum Tate (1652July 30, 1715) was an Anglo-Irish poet and hymnodist. Born in Dublin, he is remembered chiefly for a number of achievements.

Tate wrote the words to a number of hymns, of which the most widely remembered is the Christmas carol As shepherds watched their flocks by night. Tate also wrote the libretto for Henry Purcell's opera, Dido and Aeneas in 1689. In 1682 Tate collaborated with John Dryden to complete the second half of Absalom and Achitophel.

Not all of his works have been remembered as kindly as these. He rewrote several of Shakespeare's plays, including King Lear, which he altered by supplying a happy ending in which Cordelia survives marries Edgar, and the Fool is written out of the play entirely. Tate's version was acted in preference to Shakespeare's for almost a century.

Tate also translated Syphilis sive Morbus Gallicus, Girolamo Fracastoro's Latin pastoral poem on the subject of the disease of syphilis into English heroic couplets.

Tate was named as poet laureate in 1692. His poems were sharply criticised by Alexander Pope in The Dunciad.

Reference

Selected Writings of the Laureate Dunces, Nahum Tate (Laureate 1692-1715), Laurence Eusden (1718-1730), and Colley Cibber (1730-1757) (Studies in British Literature, V. 40): Peter Heaney, editor.


Preceded by:
Thomas Shadwell
British Poet Laureate
1692–1715
Succeeded by:
Nicholas Rowe

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