Brady, Nicholas (DNB00)

BRADY, NICHOLAS (1659–1726), divine and poet, son of Major Nicholas Brady, who served in the king's army in the rebellion, and Martha, daughter of Luke Gernon, a judge, was born at Bandon, county Cork, on 28 Oct. 1659. After he had for some time attended a school called St. Finberry's, kept by Dr. Tindall, he was sent to England at the age of twelve, and admitted into the college of Westminster in 1673. Thence he was elected to Christ Church, Oxford, where he matriculated 4 Feb. 1678-9, proceeding B.A. in Michaelmas term 1682. He then returned to Ireland, lived with his father at Dublin, and took his B.A. degree at the university there in 1685, proceeding M.A. the next year. Entering orders he was instituted prebendary of Kinaglarchy in the church of Cork in July 1688, and a few months later was presented to the livings of Killmyne and Drinagh in Cork diocese. He was also chaplain to Bishop Wetenhall. During the revolution he warmly upheld the cause of the Prince of Orange, and suffered some loss in consequence. His interest with James's general, MacCarthy, enabled him to save the town of Bandon, though James thrice commanded that it should be burnt. The people of the town having suffered considerable loss sent him with a petition to the English parliament praying for compensation. During his visit to London his preaching was much admired; he was chosen lecturer at St. Michael's, Wood Street, and, on 10 July 1691, was appointed to the church of St. Catherine Cree, where he remained until 1696. The sermon he preached on his resignation was printed, London, 1696, 4to. On his resignation he received the living of Richmond, Surrey, which he held until his death. From 1702 to 1705 he also held the rectory of Stratford-on-Avon, which he resigned on his appointment to the rectory of Clapham on 21 Feb. 1705-6. Although his ecclesiastical preferments brought him in an income of 600l. a year, his expensive habits, and especially his love of hospitality, obliged him to keep a school at Richmond. This school is mentioned in terms of praise in a paper of Steele's in the 'Spectator' (No. 168). On 15 Nov. 1699 the university of Dublin conferred on him the degrees of B.D. and D.D. in recognition of his abilities, and sent him the diploma of doctor by the senior travelling fellow of the society. Brady was chaplain to William III, to Mary, to Anne both as princess of Wales and as queen, and to the Duke of Ormonde's regiment of horse. In 1690 he married Letitia, daughter of Dr. Synge, archdeacon of Cork, and had by her four sons and four daughters. He died at Richmond 20 May 1726, and was buried in that church. His funeral sermon, preached by the Rev. T. Stackhouse, vicar of Beenham [q. v.], was published under the title of 'The Honour and Dignity of True Ministers of Christ,' London, 1726.

Brady's best known work is (1) the metrical version of the Psalms, which he undertook while minister of St. Catherine Cree in conjunction with Nahum Tate [q. v.] When their work was complete and had been submitted to and revised by the archbishop of Canterbury and the bishops, the authors petitioned the king that he would allow it to be used in the public services of the church, and accordingly William, on 3 Dec. 1696, made an order in council that it might 'be used in all churches … as shall think fit to receive the same.' The 'New Version,' as the work of Brady and Tate is called to distinguish it from the version of T. Sternhold and J. Hopkins, was well received by the whigs. Some of the stiffer tories among the clergy, however, objected to it, and their objections, which seem to have been that the new version was too poetical, that there was no need of change, and, as was hinted, that they were offended at the recommendation of the whig bishops and at the 'William R.' on the order allowing its use, were answered by 'A brief and full Account of Mr. Tate's and Mr. Brady's New Version, by a True Son of the Church of England,' London, 1698. The use of the 'New Version' was condemned by Bishop Beveridge [q. v.] in his 'Defence of the Book of Psalms … by T. Sternhold, J. Hopkins, and others, with critical observations on the New Version compared with the Old,' London, 1710, and Brady's share in the work was sneered at by Swift in his 'Remarks on Dr. Gibbs's Psalms.' Brady also wrote (2) a tragedy entitled 'The Rape, or the Innocent Impostors,' acted at the Theatre Royal in 1692, the prologue being spoken by Betterton, and the epilogue, the work of Shadwell, by Mrs. Bracegirdle. It was published in 4to the some year, with a dedication to the Earl of Dorset, but without the author's name. The plot is concerned with the history of the Goths and Vandals. It was slightly recast for representation in 1729, the Goths and Vandals being turned into Portuguese and Spaniards. In 1692 (3) an 'Ode for St. Cecilia's Day,' which will be found in Nichols's 'Select Collection of Poems,' v. 302. (4) 'Proposals for the publication of a translation of Virgil's Æneids in blank verse, together with a specimen of the performance.' This translation was published by subscription, being completed in 1726. Johnson says that 'when dragged into the world it did not live long enough to cry,' he had not seen it and believed that he had been informed of its existence by 'some old catalogue.' It is not in the library of the British Museum, and has not been seen by the present writer. (5) Two volumes of sermons, 1704-6, republished with a third volume by Brady's eldest son, Nicholas, vicar of Tooting, Surrey, in 1730, a volume of 'Select Sermons preached before the Queen and on other occasions,' 1713. A considerable number of sermons, most of them republished in collections, were also published separately. Among these was a sermon preached in Chelsea Church on the death of Thomas Shadwell, in November 1692 (London, 1693).

[Rawlinson MSS. 4to, 5305, fol. 16, 248-57; Cibber's Lives of the Poets, iv. 62; Nichols's Select Collection of Poems, v. 302; Biog. Brit. ii. 960; Welch's Alumni Westmon. (1852), 173, 183; Todd's Dublin Graduates, 62; Newcourt's Repertorium, i. 381; Dugdale's Warwickshire, 680; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. ii. 393; A brief and full Account (as above), 1698; Bishop Beveridge's Defence of the Book of Psalms, 1710; Swift's Works (Scott, 2nd ed.), xii. 261; Johnson's Works (Life of Dryden), ix. 431 (ed. 1806); Brady's Rape, 1692; Genest's History of the Stage, ii. 18, iii. 266; Biog. Dram. i. i. 58; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), iii. 809.]

W. H.