1781 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Gerard Langbaine

Thomas Warton, in History of English Poetry (1774-81; 1840) 2:261n.



The author of the Account of the English Dramatic Poets, was Gerard the son of doctor Langbaine, provost of Queen's college, Oxford. This book was first published under the title of Momus Triumphans, Lond. 1687, 4to. Five hundred copies were quickly sold; but the remainder of the impression appeared the next year with a new title, A new Catalogue of English Plays, containing comedies, &c. Lond. 1688, 4to. The author at length digested his work anew with great accessions and improvements, which he entitled as above, An Account of the English Dramatic Poets, &c. Oxon. 1691, 8vo. This book, a good ground-work for a new publication on the same subject and plan, and which has merit as being the first attempt of the kind, was reprinted by Curl, with flimsy additions, under the conduct of Giles Jacob, a hero of the Dunciad, Lond. 1719, 8vo. Our author, after a classical education, was first placed with a bookseller in London; but at sixteen years of age, in 1672, he became a gentleman commoner of University college in Oxford. His literature chiefly consisted in a knowledge of the novels and plays of various languages; and he was a constant and critical attendant of the play-houses for many years. Retiring to Oxford in the year 1690, he died the next year; having amassed a collection of more than a thousand printed plays, masques, and interludes.