NATHAN DRAKE (1766-1836), English essayist and physician, son of Nathan Drake, an artist, was born at York in 1766. He was apprenticed to a doctor in York in 1779, and in 1786 proceeded to Edinburgh University, where he took his degree as M.D. in 1789. In 1790 he set up as a general practitioner at Sudbury, Suffolk, where he found an intimate friend in Dr Mason Good (d. 1827). In 1792 he removed to Hadleigh, Suffolk, where he died in 1836. His works include several volumes of literary essays, and some papers contributed to medical periodicals; but his most important production was Shakespeare and his Times, including the Biography of the Poet, Criticisms on his Genius and Writings; a new Chronology of his Plays; a Disquisition on the Object of his Sonnets; and a History of the Manners, Customs and Amusements, Superstitions, Poetry and Elegant Literature of his Age (2 vols., 1817). The title sufficiently indicates the scope of this ample work, which has the merit, says G. G. Gervinus (Shakespeare Commentaries, Eng. trans., 1877) "of having brought together for the first time into a whole the tedious and scattered material of the editions and of the many other valuable labours of Tyrwhitt, Heath, Ritson, &c."
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