Bickerstaffe, Isaac

(?1733-?1812)
   Irish playwright and poet, said to have been a page to Lord Chesterfield, the lord lieutenant of Ireland and to have become an officer in the royal marines, but was dismissed under discreditable (and unspecified) circumstances. His success came in London around 1755 with the writing of several comedies and opera librettos. He collaborated with Thomas Arne to produce the first comic opera, Love in a Village, produced at Covent Garden (1762). Between 1760 and 1771 Bickerstaffe produced many pieces for the stage, including The Maide of the Mill (1765). Suspected of a gay relationship, he fled to France; the rest of his life (and death) is obscure. He left behind him some amusing poems. Part of his Love in a Village (act I, sc. 5) about the jolly miller who lived on the River Dee is well known. Some of his other poems: "An Expostulation," "The Recruiting Serjeant."
   Sources: Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite DVD, 2006. Great Books Online (www.bartleby.com). List of Irish Poets and Dramatists (www.answers.com/topic/list-of-irish-dramatists). The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The Faber Book of Comic Verse. Michael Roberts and Janet Adam Smith, eds. Faber & Faber 1978. The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000.

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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