Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Scrope, Carr

SCROPE or SCROOP, Sir CARR (1649–1680), versifier and man of fashion, was eldest son of Sir Adrian Scrope of Cockerington, Lincolnshire, knight of the Bath (d. 1667) [see under Scrope, Adrian]. His mother, Mary, daughter of Sir Robert Carr of Sleaford in the same county, died in 1685, and was noted in her day ‘for making sharp speeches and doing startling things’ (Cartwright, Sacharissa, pp. 234–6, 262–70, 282–7). Their son was born in 1649, and matriculated from Wadham College, Oxford, on 26 Aug. 1664, being entered as a fellow-commoner on 3 Sept. He was created M.A. on 4 Feb. 1666–7, and baronet on 16 Jan. 1666–7 (Cal. State Papers, 1666–7, p. 357).

Scrope came to London, and was soon numbered among the companions of Charles II and the wits ‘who wrote with ease.’ About November 1676 he was in love with Miss Fraser, lady-in-waiting to the Duchess of York; but her extravagance in dress—one of her costumes is said to have cost no less than 300l.—so frightened him that he changed his matrimonial intentions (Hist. MSS. Comm. 12th Rep. App. pt. v. p. 31). In January of the next year Catharine Sedley (afterwards Countess of Dorchester) [q. v.] quarrelled with him in the queen's drawing-room over some lampoon that she believed him to have written (ib. p. 37). Scrope fancied himself ridiculed as ‘the purblind knight’ in Rochester's ‘Allusion to the Tenth Satire of the First Book of Horace,’ and attacked his rival in a very free and satirical poem ‘in defence of satire,’ an imitation of Horace (bk. i. satire iv). Rochester retorted with a vigorous lampoon, which is printed in his works (ed. 1709, pp. 96–8), and Scrope made in reply a very severe epigram (Roxburghe Ballads, ed. Ebsworth, iv. 570–1; Johnson, Poets, ed. Cunningham, i. 194). Many references to Scrope (he was a man of small stature, and often ridiculed for his meanness of size) appeared in the satires of the period (cf. Roxburghe Ballads, iv. 569, &c.). He was a member of the ‘Green Ribbon Club,’ the great whig club, which met at the King's Head tavern over against the Inner Temple Gate (Sitwell, First Whig, pp. 85–6, 202).

In 1679 Scrope was living at the north end of the east side of Duke Street, St. James's, Westminster (Cunningham, ed. Wheatley, i. 534), and in August of the next year he was at Tunbridge Wells for his health, and with ‘a physician of his own’ (Cartwright, Sacharissa, p. 289). He is said to have died in November 1680, and to have been buried at St. Martin's-in-the-Fields; the baronetcy thereupon became extinct.

A translation by Scrope of the epistle of Sappho to Phaon was inserted in ‘Ovid's Epistles translated by Various Hands,’ numerous editions of which were issued between 1681 and 1725, and it was reprinted in Nichols's ‘Collection of Poems’ (1780, i. 6–10; Pope, Works, ed. Elwin and Courthope, i. 93–103). Other renderings of Ovid by him are in the ‘Miscellany Poems’ of 1684 (Nichols, Collection, i. 10–15). He wrote the prologue to Sir George Etherege's ‘Man of Mode,’ a song which was inserted in that play, and the prologue to Lee's ‘Rival Queens’ (ib.) His song of ‘Myrtillo's Sad Despair,’ in Lee's ‘Mithridates,’ is included in Ritson's ‘English Songs’ (ed. 1813, i. 69–70), and the song in the ‘Man of Mode’ is inserted in the same volume (pp. 177–178).

A satirical piece, called ‘A very heroical Epistle from my Lord All-pride to Dol-Common’ (1679), preserved in the ‘Roxburghe Collection of Ballads’ at the British Museum (iii. 819), and printed by Mr. Ebsworth in the fourth volume (pp. 575–576) of his collection, is supposed to have been written by Scrope.

[Wood's Fasti, ii. 294; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Gardiner's Wadham College Registers, i. 253; Cunningham's Nell Gwyn, ed. Wheatley, pp. xli–xlii; Notes and Queries, 7th ser. i. 429, 519; Foster's Yorkshire Pedigrees; Burke's Extinct Baronetcies; Moore's Carre Family, 1863; cf. a familiar epistle to ‘Mr. Julian, Secretary to the Muses,’ in Egerton MS. 2623, f. 81, which refers chiefly to Scrope, is printed in the Works of George Villiers, duke of Buckingham (1775, ii. 142–5), and has sometimes been attributed to Dryden.]

W. P. C.