1809 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Duncombe

Nathan Drake, in Essays Illustrative of the Rambler (1809-10) 2:306-07.



WILLIAM DUNCOMBE was born in the year 1690, and at the age of sixteen was entered as a clerk in the navy office; but relinquished this employment for literature and domestic retirement in 1725. The year following he married the sister of Mr. Hughes, the poet, of whose poems he subsequently became the editor. As a man of letters, he is to be viewed as a poet, a translator, and an essayist. The miscellaneous poetry of Mr. Duncombe is not of sufficient importance to be particularized; but, as a dramatic writer, his Lucius Junius Brutus, though never popular, may be pronounced an effort of considerable merit. Of his translations, his Horace, in two volumes, executed with the assistance of his son, and published in 1757 and 1759, and afterwards in four volumes, in 1764, is entitled to no small praise. His essays, letters, &c. are numerous; but his contribution to the World is limited to No. 84, containing Prosperity and Adversity, an Allegory; a production alike excellent both with regard to its imagery and its moral. After a life singularly virtuous and innocent, Mr. Duncombe died in the year 1769.