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Elkanah Settle
Born 1648
Died 1724
London, England
Nationality English
Known for Plays and poetry

Elkanah Settle (1648-1724) was an English poet and playwright. He was born at Dunstable, Bedfordshire, England, the son of Josias Settle. In 1666, he went to Trinity College, Oxford, but did not take a degree.

His first tragedy was Cambyses, King of Persia (1667). It was the first English play to have its climax reached in a musical scene with an original score. It is believed to be the first play printed in England with illustrations.

Settle was briefly involved in politics when the succession of Catholic James II to the throne was being debated. He served briefly in James's army. He then abandoned politics.

In 1691, he was named City Poet of London. His last days were spent as a poor brother in the Carthusian Order. He may have performed in street fairs as a dragon in a green leather suit. He died in 1724.

Selected works

  • The Empress of Morocco (1673), a tragedy
  • Ibrahim, the Illustrious Bassa (1676), a tragedy
  • The Female Prelate: being the History of the Life and Death of Pope Joan (1680), a tragedy
  • The New Athenian Comedy (1693), a comedy
  • The Ambitious Slave: or A Generous Revenge (1694)
  • The World in the Moon (1697), an opera
  • The Virgin Prophetess, or The Fate of Troy (1701), an opera
  • The Lady's Triumph (1718), an opera
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