Settle, Elkanah

(1648-1724)
   Born in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, he left Trinity College, Oxford, without graduating. The success of his rhymed verse tragedy, Cambyses, King of Persia (1666)-acted at Lincoln's Inn Fields-was used by Rochester (see Rochester, John Wilmot) as a weapon to humiliate his rival John Dryden. A state of war then existed between Settle and Dryden, who satirized Settle as Doeg in Absalom and Achitophel (1682), and Settle replied with Absalom Senior (1682). Several tragedies followed, which won him favor at the court of Charles II. His best-known drama, also in rhymed verse, was The Empress of Morocco (1673). He was appointed city poet of London in about 1691 where one of his functions was to prepare yearly pageants for the lord mayor's shows. His fierce Protestantism led to his unanimous election as organizer-in-chief of the pope-burning procession on Queen Elizabeth's birthday (17 November 1680). However, his promising career was wrecked by his jealous rivalry of Dryden and his switching sides from Whig to Tory and back again. He died in poor circumstances in the Charterhouse, London. Some of his poems: "A Satyr Against Persecution," "An Epistle," "Another Epistle," "Celia Sings," "The Medal Reversed."
   Sources: Anthology of Poems on Affairs of State: Augustan Satirical Verse, 1660-1714. George de F. Lord, ed. Yale University Press, 1975. Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. English Poetry: Author Search. Chadwyck-Healey Ltd., 1995 (http://www.lib.utexas.edu:8080/search/epoetry/author.html). Songs from the British Drama. Edward Bliss Reed, ed. Yale University Press, 1925. 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 Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia).

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

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