Thomas Nabbes - Encyclopedia

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THOMAS NABBES (b. 1605), English dramatist, was born in humble circumstances in Worcestershire. He entered Exeter College, Oxford, in 1621, but left the university without taking a degree, and about 1630 began a career in London as a dramatist. His works include: Covent Garden (acted 1633, printed 1638), a prose comedy of small merit; Tottenham Court (acted 1634, printed 1638), a comedy the scene of which is laid in a holiday resort of the London tradesmen; Hannibal and Scipio (acted 1635, printed 1637), a historical tragedy; The Bride (1638), a comedy; The Unfortunate Mother (1640), an unacted tragedy; Microcosmus, a Morall Maske (printed 1637); two other masques, Spring's Glory and Presentation intended for the Prince his Highnesse on his Birthday (printed together in 1638); and a continuation of Richard Knolles's Generall Historie of the Turkes (1638). His verse is smooth and musical, and if his language is sometimes coarse, his general attitude is moral. The masque of Microcosmus - really a morality play, in which Physander after much error is reunited to his wife Bellanima, who personifies the soul - is admirable in its own kind, and the other two masques, slighter in construction but ingenious, show Nabbes at his best.

Nabbes's plays were collected in 1639; and Microcosmus was printed in Dodsley's Old Plays (1744). All his works, with the exception of his continuation of Knolles's history, were reprinted by A. H. Bullen in his Old English Plays (second series, 1887). See also F. G. Fleay, Biog. Chron. of the English Drama (1891).

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