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BRUTUS

OR

THE FALL OF TARQUIN

BY

JOHN HOWARD PAYNE

The author of “Home, Sweet Home," was bom in New York City, June 9, 1792. Some of his early years were passed in East Hampton, Long Island. He was for a time clerk in a mercantile house, and spent two years at Union College; but all the time he was doing something in the way of writing and publishing, and cultivating a taste for the stage. He made his debut at the Park Theatre, febru. ary 24, 1809, in the character of Young Norval in Home's tragedy of “Douglas." He played the same part in other American cities, and then in Great Britain. After a career of twenty years as dramatist, actor and manager, he returned to the United States in 1832, and nine years later was made American consul at Tunis, where he remained until he died, April 10, 1852. In 1883 his remains were brought home and re-interred in Washington, D. C. He produced innumerable dramatic pieces, in one of which — "Clari, or the Maid of Milan” – occurred his one famous song. But two of his dramas made a decided mark, in both of which the principal character was played by Edmund Kean. These are “Charles the Second " and “ Brutus.” The last named, his masterpiece, was produced at Drury Lane in 1818, was at once successful, and is still played. Payne died in poverty, and it is said that after the age of thirteen he never knew what it was to have a home. He never married. William H. C. Hosmer has these pathetic lines on him:

Unhappy Payne! no pleasure-grounds were thine,
With rustic seats o'ershadowed by the vine;
No children grouped around thy chair in glee,
Like blossoms clinging to the parent tree;
No wife to cheer thy mission upon earth
And share thine hours of sorrow and of mirth,
Or greet thy coming with love's purest kiss -
Joy that survives the wreck of Eden's bliss.
Hands of the stranger ring the mournful knell, –
Homeless the bard who sang of home so well.

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