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HOPKINS, CHARLES (1664?–1700?), poet, elder son of Ezekiel Hopkins [q. v.], bishop of Londonderry, was born about 1664 at Exeter and was taken early to Ireland. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and afterwards at Queens' College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. 1688. Returning to Ireland he engaged in military service. He subsequently settled in England, and gained some credit as a writer of poems and plays. His amiability endeared him to his friends, among whom were Dryden, Congreve, Dorset, Southern, and Wycherley. Dryden, in a letter to Mrs. Steward (7 Nov. 1699), described him as ‘a poet who writes good verses without knowing how or why; I mean, he writes naturally well, without art or learning or good sense.’ Giles Jacob (Poetical Register) says that he might have made a fortune in any scene of life, but that he was always more ready to serve others than to look after his own interests. By excess of hard drinking ‘and a too passionate fondness for the fair sex he died a martyr to the cause, in the thirty-sixth year of his age’ (ib.), about the beginning of 1700.

Hopkins is the author of 1. ‘Epistolary Poems; on several Occasions: With several of the Choicest Stories of Ovid's Metamorphoses and Tibullus's Elegies,’ London, 1694, 8vo, dedicated to Anthony Hammond. One of the epistles is addressed to Dorset; another to Walter Moyle. 2. ‘The History of Love. A Poem: in a letter to a Lady,’ London, 1695, 8vo, dedicated to the Duchess of Grafton; translations from Ovid's ‘Metamorphoses’ and ‘Heroides.’ 3. ‘The Art of Love: In two Books dedicated to the ladies,’ London, 8vo, a paraphrase of portions of Ovid's ‘Ars Amatoria.’ 4. ‘Whitehall; or the Court of England: A Poem,’ Dublin, 1698, 4to, dedicated to the Duchess of Ormonde; reprinted in Dryden's ‘Miscellany Poems’ under the title of ‘The Court Prospect.’ Hopkins was also the author of three tragedies, performed at Lincoln's Inn Fields: 5. ‘Pyrrhus, King of Epirus,’ 1695, 4to, to which Congreve contributed a prologue. 6. ‘Boadicea, Queen of Britain,’ 1697, 4to. 7. ‘Friendship Improved, or the Female Warrior,’ 1697, 4to. Before ‘Friendship Improved’ there is a dedicatory epistle, written from Londonderry (to Edward Coke of Norfolk), in which the author refers to his failing health: ‘My Muse is confined at present to a weak and sickly tenement; and the winter season will go near to overbear her, together with her household.’ In Nichols's ‘Collection of Poems’ are preserved some verses written by Hopkins ‘about an hour before his death.’

[Giles Jacob's Poetical Register; Baker's Biographia Dramatica, 1812; Scott's Dryden, 1821, xviii. 163.]

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