CAMBRIDGE, RICHARD OWEN (1717–1802), English poet, was born in London on the 14th of February 1717. He was educated at Eton and at St John’s College, Oxford. Leaving the university without taking a degree, he took up residence at Lincoln’s Inn in 1737. Four years later he married, and went to live at his country seat of Whitminster, Gloucestershire. In 1751 he removed to Twickenham, where he enjoyed the society of many notable persons. Horace Walpole in his letters makes many jesting allusions to Cambridge in the character of newsmonger. He died at Twickenham on the 17th of September 1802. His chief work is the Scribleriad (1751), a mock epic poem, the hero of which is the Martinus Scriblerus of Pope, Arbuthnot and Swift. The poem is preceded by a dissertation on the mock heroic, in which he avows Cervantes as his master. The satire shows considerable learning, and was eagerly read by literary people; but it never became popular, and the allusions, always obscure, have little interest for the present-day reader. He made a valuable contribution to history in his Account of the War in India...on the Coast of Coromandel from the year 1750 to 1760 . . . (1761). He had intended to write a history of the rise and progress of British power in India, but this enterprise went no further than the work just named, as he found that Robert Orme, who had promised him the use of his papers, contemplated the execution of a similar plan.
The Works of Richard Owen Cambridge, Esq., including several Pieces never before published, with an Account of his Life and Character by his Son, George Owen Cambridge (1803), includes, besides the Scribleriad, some narrative and satirical poems, and about twenty papers originally published in Edward Moore’s paper called The World. His poems are included in A. Chalmers’s English Poets (1816).