Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Brome, Alexander

BROME, ALEXANDER (1620–1666), poet, born in 1620, was an attorney in the lord mayor's court, according to Langbaine, and in the court of king's bench, according to Richard Smith's ' Obituary,' published by the Camden Society. During the civil wars he distinguished himself by his attachment to the royalist cause, and was the author of many songs and epigrams in ridicule of the Rump. In 1653 he edited, in an 8vo volume, 'Five New Playes' by Richard Brome [q. v.] (to whom he was not related), and in 1659 five more 'New Playes,' 1 vol. 8vo. He published, in 1654, a comedy of his own, entitled 'The Cunning Lovers.' His 'Songs and Poems' were collected in 1661, 8vo, with commendatory verses by Izaak Walton and others, and a dedication to Sir J. Robinson, lieutenant of the Tower. The second edition, 'corrected and enlarged,' appeared in 1664. To this edition are prefixed a prose commendatory letter signed 'R. B.' (probably the initials of Richard Brathwaite), additional verses by Charles Strynings and Valentine Oldys, and a prose letter signed 'T. H.' Among the new poems in this edition are an epistle 'To his friend Thomas Stanley, Esq., on his Odes,' and 'Cromwell's Panegyrick.' A third edition, with a few additional poems and with elegies by Charles Cotton and Richard Newcourt, appeared in 1668, 8vo. Brome was a spirited song-writer, and his bacchanalian lyrics have always the true ring. Phillips, in his 'Theatrum Poetarum,' says that he 'was of so jovial a strain that among the sons of Mirth and Bacchus, to whom his sack-inspired songs have been so often sung to the spritely violin, his name cannot choose but be immortal; and in this respect he may well be styled the English Anacreon.' His satirical pieces are sprightly without being offensively gross. Brome was a contributor to, and editor of, a variorum translation of Horace, published in 1666. He had formed the intention of translating Lucretius, as we learn from an epigram of Sir Aston Cokaine (Poems, p. 204); but he did not carry out his project. Commendatory poems by Brome are prefixed to the first folio edition of Beaumont and Fletcher's works (1647), and to the second edition of Walton's 'Angler,' 1655. He died on 30 June 1666. An Alexander Brome, who died before 25 Sept. 1666, was a member of the New River Company. There are songs of Brome's in 'Wit's Interpreter,' 'Wit restored,' 'Wit and Drollery,' 'Westminster Drollery,' 'The Rump,' and other collections. The 'Covent Garden Drollery,' 1671, edited by A. B., has been wrongly attributed to Brome.

[Corser's Collectanea Anglo-Poetica, iii. 114119; Langbaine's Dramatic Poets -with Oldys's MS. annotations; Phillips's Theatrum Poetarum, 1675.]

A. H. B.