Babylon, by Samuel Pordage of Lincoln's Inn, Esq., author of the tragedy of “Herod and Mariamne.”’ This play had been licensed by L'Estrange on 2 Nov. 1677, and acted at the Duke's Theatre not long after the production at the Theatre Royal of Nathaniel Lee's ‘Rival Queens;’ and Statira and Roxana, the ‘rival queens,’ were principal characters in Pordage's stupid rhymed tragedy, in which Betterton, Norris, and Mrs. Gwyn appeared. The story is based upon ‘Cassandra’ and other romances of the day (ib. i. 213). In the dedication to the Duchess of York, Pordage said that ‘Herod and Mariamne’ had hitherto passed under the name of another, while he was out of England; but, as her royal highness was so pleased with it, Pordage could not forbear to own it.
Pordage brought out in 1679 the sixth edition of John Reynolds's ‘Triumphs of God's Revenge against the sin of Murther;’ he prefixed to it a dedication to Shaftesbury. In 1681 he wrote a single folio sheet, ‘A new Apparition of Sir Edmundbury Godfrey's Ghost to the E. of D—— in the Tower,’ and the printer was obliged to make a public apology for the reflections on Danby which it contained (Benskin's Domestick Intelligence, 21 July 1681). Between 1681 and 1684 he issued ‘The Remaining Medical Works of … Dr. Thomas Willis … Englished by S. P., Esq.’ There is a general dedication to Sir Theophilus Biddulph, bart., signed by Pordage; and verses ‘On the author's Medico-philosophical Discourses,’ in all probability by him, precede the first part.
Dryden's ‘Absalom and Achitophel’ appeared in November 1681, and among the answers which it called forth was Pordage's ‘Azaria and Hushai, a Poem,’ 1682, published on 17 Jan., according to a contemporary note. In this piece Azaria was the Duke of Monmouth, Amazia the king, Hushai Shaftesbury, and Shimei Dryden; and the poem, so far from being, as it is sometimes called, a malignant attack on Dryden, is comparatively free from personalities. ‘As to truth, who hath the better hold let the world judge; and it is no new thing for the same persons to be ill or well represented by several parties.’ Some lines, too, were devoted to L'Estrange, who was called Bibbai. On 15 March 1682 Dryden brought out ‘The Medal, a Satire against Sedition,’ an attack on Shaftesbury, and on 31 March Pordage published ‘The Medal revers'd, a Satyre against Persecution,’ with an epistle, addressed, in imitation of Dryden, to his enemies, the tories. Pordage said he did not believe that the authors of ‘Absalom and Achitophel’ and ‘The Medal’ were the same, yet, as they desired to be thought so, each must bear the reproaches of the other.
L'Estrange attacked Pordage in the ‘Observator’ for 5 April 1682 on account of ‘A brief History of all the Papists' bloudy Persecutions,’ calling him ‘limping Pordage, a son of the famous Familist about Reading, and the author of several libels,’ one against L'Estrange. Dryden, in the second part of ‘Absalom and Achitophel,’ published in November, described Pordage as
Lame Mephibosheth, the wizard's son.
In May John Oldham, in his ‘Imitation of the Third Satire of Juvenal,’ had ridiculed Pordage, and in another ‘Satire’ mentioned Pordage among the authors who had ‘grown contemptible, and slighted since.’ Besides the pieces already mentioned, Pordage is stated to have written a romance called ‘Eliana,’ but the date is not given, and no copy seems known.
Writing in 1691, Langbaine spoke of Pordage as lately, if not still, a member of Lincoln's Inn. The exact date of his death has not been ascertained. A Samuel Pordage, a stranger, who, like the poet, was born in the parish of St. Dionis Backchurch in 1633, was buried there in 1668. Pordage married about 1660 Dorcas, youngest daughter of William Langhorne, by whom he had a son, Charles, born in 1661, and other issue. When his father died in 1681 he left silver spoons to two of Samuel's children (Harl. MS. 1530, f. 34; will of John Pordage, P.C.C. 8 Cottle).
[Authorities cited; Foster's Marriage Licenses; Robinson's Merchant Taylors' Register; Gent. Mag. 1834, ii. 495; Censura Literaria, by Haslewood, viii. 247–51; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. vii. 443; Biogr. Dramatica; Scott's Dryden, ix. 372; Professor H. Morley's First Sketch of English Literature, pp. 716–19; Jacob, i. 204; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 149, 150, iii. 1098–1100.]
PORDEN, ELEANOR ANNE (1797?– 1825), poetess. [See Franklin.]
PORDEN, WILLIAM (1755–1822), architect, born in 1755 at Hull, was grandson of Roger Pourden, an architect of York. His early taste for the arts procured him the notice of the poet Mason, who introduced him to James Wyatt [q. v.] After studying architecture in Wyatt's office, he became the pupil of Samuel Pepys Cockerell [q. v.] On leaving the latter he was made secretary to Lord Sheffield, and by him appointed paymaster to the 22nd dragoons; but, on the reduction of this regiment soon afterwards, he resumed his former studies. In 1778 he