Online Encyclopedia

SIR ROBERT HOWARD (1626–1698)

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V13, Page 834 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SIR ROBERT HOWARD (1626–1698)  ,
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English dramatist,
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sixth son of Thomas Howard, 1st
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earl of Berkshire, was born in 1626 . He was knighted at the second
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battle of
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Newbury (1644) for his
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signal courage on the Royalist side . Imprisoned in Windsor Castle under the
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Commonwealth, his
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loyalty was rewarded at the Restoration, and he eventually became auditor of the
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exchequer . His best
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play is a
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comedy, The Committee, or the Faithful Irishman (1663; printed 166), which kept the stage, long after its
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interest as a
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political satire was exhausted, for the character of Teague, said to have been
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drawn from one of his own servants . He was an early
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patron of Dryden, who married his
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sister, Lady Elizabeth Howard, and in the
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Indian Queen, a tragedy in heroic verse (1664; pr . 1665) Howard had assistance from Dryden, although the fact was not made public until the production of Dryden's Indian Emperor . The magnificence of the spectacle, and the novelty of' the costume of feathers, presented by Mrs . Aphra Behn, that was' worn by Zempoalla, the Indian queen, made 'a
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great sensation . The scenery and accessories were unusually brilliant, the richest ever seen in England, according to Evelyn . In 1665 Howard published Foure New Plays, in the preface to which he opposed the view maintained by Dryden in the dedicatory
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epistle to The
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Rival Ladies, thatrhyme was better suited to the heroic tragedy than blank verse . Howard made an exception in favour of the
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rhyme of Lord Orrery, but by his silence concerning Dryden implicated him in the general censure . Dryden answered by placing Howard's sentiments in the mouth of Crites in his own Essay on Dramatic Poesy (1668) .

The controversy did not end here, but Dryden completely worsted his adversary in the 1668 edition of The Indian Emperor . Howard died on the 3rd of

September 1698 . His
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brother, James Howard, wrote two comedies, All Mistaken, or the Mad Couple, a comedy (1667; pr . 1672), and The English Mounsieur (1666; pr . 1674), the success of which seems to have been partly due to the acting of Nell Gwynn .

End of Article: SIR ROBERT HOWARD (1626–1698)
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