NAHUM TATE, a well known Psalmodist, was born in Dublin in 1652. His father, Dr. Faithful Tate, was also son to a Dr. Tate, a clergyman, and was born in the county of Cavan, and educated in the college of Dublin, where he took the degree of D.D. In 1641, being then minister of Ballyhays, in that county, he was a great sufferer by the rebels, against whom he had given some information, and in his way to Dublin was robbed by a gang, while about the same time his house at Ballyhays was plundered, and all his stock, goods, and books, burnt or otherwise destroyed. His wife and children were also so cruelly treated, that three of the latter died of the severities inflicted upon them. After this he lived for some time in the college of Dublin, in the provost's lodgings. He became then preacher of East Greenwich, in Kent, and lastly minister of St. Werburgh's church, in Dublin. He was esteemed a man of great piety; but, as Harris says, was thought to be puritanically inclined, as perhaps may be surmised from his own and his son's Christian names, names taken from the Scriptures being very common with a certain class of the puritans. He was living in 1672, but the time of his death we have not been able to fix. Besides two occasional sermons, he published, 1. "The doctrine of the three sacred persons of the Trinity," Lond. 1669, 8vo; and, 2. "Meditations," Dublin, 1672, 8vo.
His son, NAHUM, at the age of sixteen, was admitted of Dublin college, but does not appear to have followed any profession. It is observed by Warburton, in the notes to the Dunciad, that he was a cold writer, of no invention, but translated tolerably when befriended by Dryden, with whom he sometimes wrote in conjunction. He succeeded Shadwell as poet-laureat, and continued in that office till his death, which happened Aug. 12, 1715, in the Mint, where he then resided as a place of refuge from the debts which he had contracted, and was buried in St. George's church. The earl of Dorset was his patron; but the chief use he made of him was to screen himself from the persecutions of his creditors. Gildon speaks of him as a man of great honesty and modesty; but he seems to have been ill qualified to advance himself in the world. A person who died in 1763, at the age of ninety, remembered him well, and said he was remarkable for a down-cast look, and had seldom much to say for himself. Oldys also describes him as a free, good-natured, but intemperate companion. With these qualities it will not appear surprising that he was poor and despised. He was the author of nine dramatic performances, and a great number of poems; but is at present better known for his version of the Psalms, in which he joined with Dr. Brady, than any other of his works. His miscellaneous poems are enumerated in Cibber's "Lives," and by Jacob, who says Tate's poem on the Death of queen Anne, which was one of the last, is "one of the best poems he ever wrote." His share in the "Second Part of Absalom and Achitophel" is far from inconsiderable; and may be seen in the English Poets. He published also "Memorials for the Learned, collected out of eminent authors in history," &c. 1686, 8vo; and his "Proposal for regulating of the Stage and Stage Plays," Feb. 6, 1698, is among bishop Gibson's MSS. in the Lambeth library.