Tate, Nahum


(formerly TEATE), b Dublin 1652, d Southwark, London 1715. Trinity Coll Dublin. When he reported a revolutionary plot to the authorities, his Dublin home was burned down and 3 of his children were killed. He then settled in England, published Poems on Several Occasions in 1677, and rewrote several plays by others including a rewritten King Lear with a happy ending (which Dr Johnson defended and which proved popular, even normative, for over a century). In 1682 he contributed substantially to Pt II of Dryden’s classic political satire Absalom and Achitophel. In 1692 he became Poet Laureate, holding the post under 3 sovereigns but becoming an obvious target for Pope’s catalogue of ‘fools’ in The Dunciad. With Nicholas Brady (qv) he produced the New Version of the Psalms of David in 1696, intended to replace Sternhold and Hopkins ‘Old Version’; in 1702 he became Historiographer Royal, and in 1710 he wrote an Essay on Psalmody, defending it against current attacks. But becoming ‘dissolute and intemperate’ he died in a London Refuge for Debtors where he had gone to escape his creditors. He was buried in an unmarked grave in St George’s parish, Southwark. Nos.33*, 379, 768*.