Radcliffe, Mrs. Ann (Ward) (1764–1823). — Novelist, only daughter of parents in a respectable position, in 1787 married Mr. William Radcliffe, ed. and proprietor of a weekly newspaper, the English Chronicle. In 1789 she published her first novel, The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne, of which the scene is laid in Scotland. It, however, gave little promise of the future power of the author. In the following year appeared The Sicilian Romance, which attracted attention by its vivid descriptions and startling incidents. Next came The Romance of the Forest (1791), followed by The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794), and The Italian (1797), a story of the Inquisition, the last of her works published during her life-time. Gaston de Blondeville, ed. by Sergeant Talfourd, was brought out posthumously. Mrs. R. has been called the Salvator Rosa of British novelists. She excels in the description of scenes of mystery and terror whether of natural scenery or incident: in the former displaying a high degree of imaginative power, and in the latter great ingenuity and fertility of invention. She had, however, little power of delineating character. Though her works belong to a type now out of fashion, they will always possess an historical interest as marking a stage in the development of English fiction.
“Raine, Allen” (Mrs. Beynon Puddicombe). — Novelist. A Welsh Singer (1897), Tom Sails (1898), A Welsh Witch (1901), Queen of the Rushes (1906), etc.
Raleigh, Sir Walter (1552?-1618). — Explorer, statesman, admiral, historian, and poet, son of Walter R., of Fardel, Devonshire, was born at Hayes Barton in that county. In 1568 he was sent to Oxford, where he greatly distinguished himself. In the next year he began his career of adventure by going to France as a volunteer in aid of the Huguenots, serving thereafter in the Low Countries. The year 1579 saw him engaged in his first voyage of adventure in conjunction with his half-brother, Sir Humphrey Gilbert. Their object was to discover and settle lands in North America; but the expedition failed, chiefly owing to opposition by the Spaniards. The next year he was fighting against the rebels in Ireland; and shortly thereafter attracted the notice of Queen Elizabeth, in whose favour he rapidly rose. In 1584 he fitted out a new colonising expedition to North America, and succeeded in discovering and occupying Virginia, named after the Queen. On his return he was knighted. In the dark and anxious days of the Armada, 1587–88, R. was employed in organising resistance, and rendered distinguished service in action. His favour with the Queen, and his haughty bearing, had, however, been raising up enemies and rivals, and his intrigue and private marriage with Elizabeth Throckmorton, one of the maids of honour, in 1593, lost him for a time the favour of the Queen. Driven from the Court he returned to the schemes of adventure which had so great a charm for him, and fired by the Spanish accounts of the fabulous wealth of Guiana, he and some of his friends fitted out an expedition which, however, though attended with various brilliant episodes, proved unsuccessful. Restored to the favour of the Queen, he was appointed an Admiral in the expeditions to Cadiz, 1596, and in the following year was engaged in an attack on the Azores, in both of which he added greatly to his reputation. The death of Elizabeth in 1603 was the turning point in R.’s fortunes. Thenceforward disaster clouded his days. The new sovereign and his old enemies combined to compass his ruin. Accused of conspiring against the former he was, against all evidence, sentenced to death, and though this was not at the time carried out, he was imprisoned in the Tower and his estates confiscated. During this confinement he composed his History of the World, which he brought down to 130 B.C. It is one of the finest specimens of Elizabethan prose, reflective in matter and dignified and grave in style. Released in 1615 he set out on his last voyage, again to Guiana, which, like the former, proved a failure, and in which he lost his eldest son He returned a broken and dying man, but met with no pity from his ungenerous King who, urged, it is believed, by the King of Spain, had him beheaded on Tower Hill, October 29, 1618. R. is one of the most striking and brilliant figures in an age crowded with great men. Of a noble presence, he was possessed of a commanding intellect and a versatility which enabled him to shine in every enterprise to which he set himself. In addition to his great fragment the History of the World, he wrote A Report of the Truth of the Fight about the Azores, and The Discoverie of the Empire of Guiana, besides various poems chiefly of a philosophic cast, of which perhaps the best known are The Pilgrimage, and that beginning “Go, Soul, the Body’s Guest.”
The most recent Lives are by Stebbing (1892), and Hume (1898). Works (1829), with Lives by Oldys and Birch.
Ramée, Louise de la (“Ouida”) (1840?-1908). — Novelist, born at Bury St. Edmunds, daughter of an English father and a French mother. For many years she lived in London, but about 1874 she went to Italy, where she died She wrote over 40 novels, which had considerable popularity. Among the best known of them are Under Two Flags, Puck, Two Little Wooden Shoes, In a Winter City, In Maremma. She also wrote a book of stories for children, Bimbi. Occasionally she shows considerable power, but on the whole her writings have an unhealthy tone, want reality, and are not likely to have any permanent place in literature.
Ramsay, Allan (1686–1758). — Poet, son of a mine-manager at Leadhills, Dumfriesshire, who claimed kin with the Ramsays of Dalhousie. In his infancy he lost his father, and his mother married a small “laird,” who gave him the ordinary parish school education. In 1701 he came to Edinburgh as apprentice to a wig-maker, took to writing poetry, became a member of the “Easy Club,” of which Pitcairn and Ruddiman, the grammarian, were members, and of which he was made “laureate.” The club published his poems as they were thrown off, and their appearance soon began to be awaited with interest. In 1716 he published an additional canto to Christ’s Kirk on the Green, a humorous poem sometimes attributed to James I., and in 1719 he became a bookseller, his shop being a meeting-place of the literati of the city. A collected ed. of his poems appeared in 1720, among the subscribers to which were Pope, Steele, Arbuthnot, and Gay. It was followed by Fables and Tales, and other poems. In 1724 he began the Tea Table Miscellany, a collection of new Scots songs set to old melodies, and the Evergreen, a collection of old Scots poems with which R. as ed. took great liberties. This was a kind of work for which he was not qualified, and in which he was far from successful. The Gentle Shepherd, by far his best known and most meritorious work, appeared in 1725, and had an immediate popularity which, to a certain extent, it retains. It is a pastoral drama, and abounds in character, unaffected sentiment, and vivid description. After this success R., satisfied with his reputation, produced nothing, more of importance. He was the first to introduce the circulating library into Scotland, and among his other enterprises was an unsuccessful attempt to establish a theatre in Edinburgh On the whole his life was a happy and successful one, and he had the advantage of a cheerful, sanguine, and contented spirit. His foible was an innocent and good-natured vanity.
Ramsay, Edward Bannerman (1793–1872). — A clergyman of the Scottish Episcopal Church, and Dean of Edinburgh in that communion from 1841, has a place in literature by his Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character, which had gone through 22 ed. at his death. It is a book full of the engaging personality of the author, and preserves many interesting and entertaining traits and anecdotes which must otherwise, in all probability, have perished. The Dean was deservedly one of the most popular men in Scotland.
Randolph, Thomas (1605–1635). — Poet and dramatist, ed. at Westminster School and Cambridge, was a friend of Ben Jonson, and led a wild life in London. He wrote six plays, including The Jealous Lovers, Amyntas, and The Muses’ Looking-glass, and some poems. He was a scholar as well as a wit, and his plays are full of learning and condensed thought in a style somewhat cold and hard.
Rapin De Thoyras, Paul (1661–1725). — Historian, born at Castres, Languedoc, belonged to a Protestant Savoyard family, and came to England on the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1686. He afterwards served with William III. in Holland, and accompanied him to England in 1688. His History of England, written in French, was translated into English, and continued by various writers, and was the standard history until the appearance of Hume’s.
Raspe, Rudolf Eric — (1737–1794). — Born in Hanover, was a prof. in Cassel, and keeper of the Landgrave of Hesse’s antique gems and medals, in the purloining of some of which he was detected, and fled to England. Here he won for himself a certain place in English literature by the publication in 1785 of Baron Munchausen’s Narrative. Only a small portion of the work in its present form is by R., the rest having been added later by another hand. He appears to have maintained more or less during life his character of a rogue, and is the prototype of Douster-swivel in Scott’s Antiquary.
Rawlinson, George (1812–1902). — Historian, born at Chadlington. Oxfordshire, and ed. at Oxford, took orders, and was Canon of Canterbury from 1872. He held the Camden Professorship of Ancient History at Oxford from 1861. Among his works are a translation of Herodotus (1858–62) (with his brother, Sir Henry R., q.v.), Historical Evidences of the Truth of the Scripture Records, The Five Great Monarchies of the Ancient Eastern World (1862–67), Manual of Ancient History (1869), The Sixth and Seventh Great Oriental Monarchies (1873–77), History of Ancient Egypt (1881), Histories of the Phoenicians and Parthians, Memoirs of Sir H.C. Rawlinson (1898).
Rawlinson, Sir Henry Cresswicke (1810–1895). — Brother of the above, entered the service of the East India Company, and held many important diplomatic posts. He studied the cuneiform inscriptions, and published The Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia (1861–80), Outlines of the History of Assyria (1852). He deciphered most of the inscriptions discovered by Sir A.H. Layard (q.v.).
Ray, John (1627–1705). — Naturalist, son of a blacksmith at Black Notley, Essex, was at Cambridge, where he became a Fellow of Trinity, and successively lecturer on Greek and mathematics. His first publication was a Latin catalogue of plants growing near Cambridge, which appeared in 1660. Thereafter he made a tour of Great Britain, and published in 1670 his Catalogue of the Plants of England and the adjacent Isles. In 1663 he had travelled on the Continent for three years with his pupil-friend, F. Willughby, and in 1673 appeared Observations on his journeys, which extended over the Low Countries, Germany, Italy, and France, with a catalogue of plants not native to England. On the death of Willughby, R. ed. his sons, and in 1679 retired to his native village, where he continued his scientific labours until his death. These included the ed. of W.’s History of Birds and Fishes, a collection of English proverbs, Historia Plantarum Generalis (1686–1704), and Synopsis Methodica Animalium. He was for long popularly known by his treatise, The Wisdom of God manifested in the works of the Creation (1691), a precursor of Paley’s Natural Theology. R. is the father of English botany, and appears to have grasped the idea of the natural classification of plants, afterwards developed by Jussieu and other later naturalists. His greatest successors, including Cuvier, highly commended his methods and acquirements.
Read, Thomas Buchanan (1822–1872). — American poet, was a portrait-painter, and lived much abroad. He wrote a prose romance, The Pilgrims of the Great St. Bernard, and several books of poetry, including The New Pastoral, The House by the Sea, Sylvia, and A Summer Story. Some of the shorter pieces included in these, e.g., “Sheridan’s Ride,” “Drifting,” and “The Closing Scene,” have great merit.
Reade, Charles (1814–1884). — Novelist, son of a country gentleman of Oxfordshire, ed. at Oxford, and called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn 1843. He did not, however, practise, but began his literary career with some dramas, of which the most remarkable were Masks and Faces, Gold, and Drink. He afterwards rewrote the first of these as a novel, Peg Woffington (1852), which attained great popularity. It is never too late to Mend appeared in 1856, his historical novel, The Cloister and the Hearth, generally regarded as his masterpiece (1861), Hard Cash (1863), Griffith Gaunt (1867), Foul Play (1869), Put Yourself in his Place (1870), and A Terrible Temptation (1871). Critics have differed very widely as to the merits of R. as a novelist, and have attributed to, and denied him the same qualities; but it will be generally admitted that, while very unequal, he was at his best a writer of unusual power and vividness. Nearly all are agreed as to the great excellence of The Cloister and the Hearth, Mr. Swinburne placing it “among the very greatest masterpieces of narrative.” Many of his novels were written with a view to the reformation of some abuse. Thus Hard Cash exposes certain private asylums, and Foul Play, written in collaboration with Dion Boucicault, is levelled against ship-knackers.
Reed, Henry (1808–1854). — Critic, was Prof. of English Literature in the University of Pennsylvania. He died in a shipwreck. He was a sympathetic and delicate critic, and was among the first of American men of letters to appreciate the genius of Wordsworth, of whose works he brought out an ed. in 1837. His lectures on English Literature, English History, and English Poets were published
Reeve, Clara (1729–1807). — Novelist, was the author of several novels, of which only one is remembered — The Old English Baron (1777), written in imitation of, or rivalry with, H. Walpole’s Castle of Otranto, with which it has often been printed.
Reeve, Henry (1813–1895). — Editor, etc., son of a physician, was on the staff of the Times, the foreign policy of which he influenced for many years. He was ed. of the Edinburgh Review 1855–95, and of the Greville Memoirs 1865. He held a leading place in society, and had an unusually wide acquaintance with men of letters all over the continent.
Reid, Mayne (1818–1883). — Novelist, born in the north of Ireland, he set off at the age of 20 for Mexico to push his fortunes, and went through many adventures, including service in the Mexican War. He also was for a short time settled in Philadelphia engaged in literary work. Returning to this country he began a long series of novels of adventure with The Rifle Rangers (1849). The others include The Scalp Hunters, Boy Hunters, and Young Voyagers, and had great popularity, especially with boys.
Reid, Thomas (1710–1796). — Philosopher, was the son of the minister of Strachan, Kincardineshire, where he was born His mother was one of the gifted family of the Gregorys. At the age of 12 he was sent to Marischal College, Aberdeen, where he graduated, and thereafter resided for some time as librarian, devoting himself to study, especially of mathematics and the Newtonian philosophy. He was in 1737 ordained minister of New Machar, Aberdeen, and in 1748 he communicated to the Royal Society an Essay on Quantity. Four years later he became one of the Prof. of Philosophy (including mathematics and natural philosophy) in King’s College, Aberdeen, and in 1763 he was chosen to succeed Adam Smith as Prof. of Moral Philosophy in Glasgow. In the following year he published his great work, Inquiry into the Human Mind on the Principles of Common Sense, directed against Hume’s Essay on Human Nature. Up to the appearance of the latter work in 1739 R. had been a follower of Berkeley, but the conclusions drawn therein from the idealistic philosophy led him to revise his theories, and to propound what is usually known as the “common sense” philosophy, by which term is meant the beliefs common to rational beings as such. In 1785 he published his Essay on the Intellectual Powers, which was followed in 1788 by that On the Active Powers. R., who, though below the middle size, was strong and fond of exercise, maintained his bodily and mental vigour until his death at 86. His writings, distinguished by logical rigour of method and clearness of style, exercised a profound influence in France as well as at home; but his attempted refutation of Berkeley is now generally considered to have failed.
Works ed. by Sir W. Hamilton and H.L. Mansel. Sketch by Prof. A.C. Fraser (1898).
Reid, Sir Thomas Wemyss (1842–1905). — Novelist and biographer, born at Newcastle, and after being connected with various provincial newspapers came to London in 1887 as manager for Cassell and Co. Thereafter he was, 1890–99, ed. of The Speaker. Among his more permanent writings are The Land of the Bey (1882), Gladys Fane (1883), and Lives of W.E. Forster (1888), and Lords Houghton (1891), and Playfair (1899), and William Black (1902). He was knighted in 1894.
Reynolds, Sir Joshua (1723–1792). — Painter and writer on art, son of a clergyman and schoolmaster at Plympton, Devonshire. After studying art in Italy, he settled in London, where he attained extraordinary fame as a portrait-painter. He is regarded as the greatest English representative of that art, and was first Pres. of the Royal Academy. He was the intimate friend of Johnson, Burke, Goldsmith, and indeed of most of the celebrated men of his time. He has also a place in literature for his Fifteen Discourses on painting, delivered to the Academy. He also contributed to the Idler, and translated Du Fresney’s Art of Painting. He suffered from deafness, and in his latter years from failure of sight. He was a man of great worth and amiability. He was knighted in 1769.
Rhodes, William Barnes (1772–1826). — Dramatist, was in the Bank of England, of which he became Chief Teller. He wrote a burlesque, Bombastes Furioso, which achieved great popularity.
Rhymer, Thomas the, (see Ercildoun).
Ricardo, David (1772–1823). — Political economist, son of a Jewish stockbroker, himself followed the same business, in which he acquired a large fortune. On his marriage he conformed to Christianity. He was an original and powerful writer on economic subjects, his chief work being The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (1817). After retiring from business he entered the House of Commons, where, owing to his remarkable power of lucid exposition, combined with his reputation as a highly successful man of business, he acquired great influence. The writings of R. are among the classics of his subject.
Rice, James (1844–1882). — Novelist, was ed. at Cambridge, and studied law, from which he drifted into literature. He wrote a number of successful novels in collaboration with W. Besant (q.v.).
Rich, Barnabe (1540?-1620?). — Writer of romances, born in Essex, saw military service in the Low Countries. He began to write in 1574, and took Lyly’s Euphues as his model. Among his numerous romances is The Strange and Wonderful Adventures of Simonides, a Gentleman Spaniard and Riche, his Farewell to the Military Profession (1581), which furnished Shakespeare with the plot for Twelfth Night.
Richardson, Samuel (1689–1761). — Novelist, son of a joiner, was born at Derby. His father had intended him for the Church, but means failed, and at the age of 17 he went to London, and was apprenticed to a printer. Careful and diligent, he prospered in business, became printer of the Journals of the House of Commons, and in the year before his death purchased the moiety of the patent of King’s Printer. He was twice married, and each of his wives brought him six children, of whom, however, only four daughters were living at his death. R., who was the originator of the modern novel, did not take seriously to literature until he was past 50 when, in 1740, Pamela appeared. It originated in a proposal by two printers that R. should write a collection of model letters for the use of persons unaccustomed to correspondence, but it soon developed in his hands into a novel in which the story is carried on in the form of a correspondence. With faults and absurdities, it struck a true note of sentiment, and exploded the prevalent idea that dukes and princesses were the only suitable heroes and heroines (Pamela was a maid-servant), and it won immediate and phenomenal popularity. In 1748 Clarissa Harlow, his masterpiece, was published, and in 1753 Sir Charles Grandison, in which the author embodies his ideal of a Christian gentleman. All these suffer from an elaboration of detail which often becomes tedious; but in deep acquaintance with the motives of conduct, and especially of the workings of the female heart, they are almost unrivalled; their pathos also is genuine and deep. R. had an unusual faculty as the platonic friend and counsellor of women, and was the centre of an admiring circle of the sex, who ministered to a vanity which became somewhat excessive. R. has also the distinction of evoking the genius of Fielding, whose first novel, Joseph Andrews, was begun as a skit or parody upon Pamela. R. is described as “a stout, rosy, vain, prosy little man.” Life by Sir W. Scott in Ballantyne’s Novelists Library. Works with preface by L. Stephen (12 vols., 1883), etc.
Ritchie, Leitch (1800?-1865). — Novelist, born at Greenock and in business as a clerk in Glasgow, but about 1820 adopted literature as his profession. He wrote several novels of which the best known is Wearyfoot Common; others were The Robber of the Rhine and The Magician. In his later years he ed. Chambers’s Journal.
Ritson, Joseph (1752–1803). — Antiquary and critic, born at Stockton-on-Tees, settled in London as a conveyancer, at the same time devoting himself to the study of ancient English poetry. By his diligence as a collector and acuteness as a critic he rendered essential service to the preservation and appreciation of our ancient poetry. His chief works are A Collection of English Songs (1783), Ancient Songs from Henry III. to the Revolution (1790), A Collection of Scottish Songs (1794), and A Collection of all the Ancient Poems, etc., relating to Robin Hood (1795). Of a jealous and quarrelsome temper, R. was continually in controversy with his fellow-collectors and critics, including Johnson, Warton, and Percy. His acuteness enabled him to detect the Ireland forgeries. He died insane.
Robertson, Frederick William (1816–1853). — Divine, son of Captain Frederick R., of the Royal Artillery, was born in London, and ed. at Edinburgh and Oxford After holding various curacies he became in 1847 incumbent of Trinity Chapel, Brighton, where his preaching, though it brought him under the suspicion both of the High and Evangelical parties in the Church, had an extraordinary influence. Always of delicate and highly-strung constitution, his health gave way after his ministry in Brighton had extended to six years, and he died in 1853. The beauty of his life and character had almost conquered the suspicion and dislike with which his views had inspired many. His sermons, of which five series were published posthumously, have had a very wide popularity.
Robertson, Thomas William (1829–1871). — Dramatist, belonged to a family famous for producing actors. Never a successful actor himself, he produced a number of plays, which had unusual popularity. Among these are David Garrick, Society, Caste, and School.
Robertson, William (1721–1793). — Historian, son of the parish minister of Borthwick, Midlothian, where he was born, received his earlier ed. at Dalkeith, which then had a school of some repute; but his father being translated to Edinburgh, he attended school, and afterwards the University there, studying for the Church. In 1743 he became minister of Gladsmuir, near Prestonpans. In the ‘45 he showed his loyalty by offering himself to Sir J. Cope as a volunteer, a service which was, however, declined. He soon began to take a prominent part in the debates of the General Assembly, of which he rose to be the undisputed leader. In 1758 he became one of the city ministers of Edinburgh, and in the following year published his History of Scotland, which had an extraordinary success, and at once raised him to a foremost place among British historians. Preferment immediately followed: he was made Chaplain of Stirling Castle 1759, King’s Chaplain for Scotland 1760, Principal of the University of Edinburgh 1761, and Historiographer for Scotland 1763. In 1769 appeared the History of the Reign of the Emperor Charles V., in 1777 The History of America, and in 1791 Historical Disquisition on Ancient India. In 1780 R. retired from the management of Church affairs, in which he had shown conspicuous ability, and gave himself to study, and the society of his friends, among whom were most of his distinguished contemporaries. As a writer he possessed a finished style, clear, measured, and stately, which carried his well-arranged narrative as on a full and steady stream; he was also cool and sagacious but, like Hume, he was apt to take his facts at second hand, and the vast additional material which has been in course of accumulation since his day has rendered the value of his work more and more literary, and less and less historical.
Lives by Dugald Stewart (1801), Bishop Gleig (1812), and Lord Brougham in Men of Letters.
Robinson, Henry Crabb (1775–1867). — Diarist, born at Bury St. Edmunds, was articled to an attorney in Colchester. Between 1800 and 1805 he studied at various places in Germany, and became acquainted with nearly all the great men of letters there, including Goethe, Schiller, Herder, Wieland, etc. Thereafter he became war correspondent to the Times in the Peninsula. On his return to London he studied for the Bar, to which he was called in 1813, and became leader of the Eastern Circuit. Fifteen years later he retired, and by virtue of his great conversational powers and other qualities, became a leader in society, going everywhere and knowing everybody worth knowing. He died unmarried, aged 91, and his Diary, Reminiscences and Correspondence, which stands in the forefront of its class, was published in 1869.
Rochester, John Wilmot (2nd Earl of) (1647–1680). — Poet, son of the 1st Earl, born at Ditchley in Oxfordshire, and ed. at Oxford, saw some naval service when he showed conspicuous bravery. He became one of the most dissolute of the courtiers of Charles II., and wore himself out at 33 by his wild life. He was handsome, and witty, and possessed a singular charm of manner. He wrote a number of light, graceful poems, many of them extremely gross. Bishop Burnet, who attended him on his deathbed, believed him to have been sincerely repentant. In addition to his short pieces he wrote a Satyr against Mankind, and a tragedy, Valentinian, adapted from Beaumont and Fletcher.
Rogers, Henry (1806–1877). — Critic and theologian, was a minister of the Congregationalist Church, and ultimately Prof. of English Literature in University College, London. He was a contributor to the Edinburgh Review, and is best known by his Eclipse of Faith (1852), a reply to F.W. Newman’s Phases of Faith. This work, which displays remarkable acuteness and logical power, had great popularity.
Rogers, Samuel (1763–1855). — Poet, son of a banker in London, received a careful private education, and entered the bank, of which, on his father’s death, he became the principal partner. From his early youth he showed a marked taste for literature and the fine arts, which his wealth enabled him to gratify; and in his later years he was a well-known leader in society and a munificent patron of artists and men of letters, his breakfasts, at which he delighted to assemble celebrities in all departments, being famous. He was the author of the following poems: The Pleasures of Memory (1792), Columbus (1810), Jacqueline (1814), Human Life (1819), and Italy (1822). R. was emphatically the poet of taste, and his writings, while full of allusion and finished description, rarely show passion or intensity of feeling; but are rather the reflections and memory-pictures of a man of high culture and refinement expressed in polished verse. He had considerable powers of conversation and sarcasm. He was offered, but declined, the laureateship.
Rolle, Richard (1290?-1349). — Hermit and poet, born at Thornton, Yorkshire, was at Oxford Impressed by the uncertainty and the snares of life he decided to become a hermit, a resolution which he carried out with somewhat romantic circumstances. He wrote various religious treatises in Latin and English, turned the Psalms into English verse, and composed a poem — The Pricke of Conscience — in 7 books, in which is shown the attitude of protest which was rising against certain Papal pretensions and doctrines.
Rollock, Robert (1555?-1599). — Theologian and scholar, born in Stirlingshire, was first a Prof. in St. Andrews, and then the first Principal of the University of Edinburgh He also held office as Prof. of Theology, and was one of the ministers of the High Church. He was one of the earliest of Protestant commentators. He wrote chiefly in Latin, but some of his sermons and commentaries are in vernacular Scotch.
Roper, William (1496–1578). — Biographer, son of a Kentish gentleman, married Margaret, daughter of Sir Thomas More. He has a place in literature for his excellent and appreciative biography of his father-inlaw. He was a member of various Parliaments between 1529 and 1558. Although he remained a Roman Catholic, he was permitted to retain his office of prothonotary of the Court of King’s Bench after the accession of Elizabeth.
Roscoe, William (1753–1831). — Historian, son of a market-gardener near Liverpool, for a time assisted his father, devoting all his spare time to mental improvement. Subsequently he entered the office of an attorney, and in due time went into business on his own account, continuing, however, his literary studies. In 1799 he joined a local bank as partner and manager, which proved an unfortunate step, as the bank was obliged, in 1816, to suspend payment. In 1795 he rose into fame at a bound by his Life of Lorenzo de’ Medici. It was followed in 1805 by the Life and Pontificate of Leo the Tenth, which, though also a work of great ability, had not the same success — his treatment of the Reformation offending Protestants and Roman Catholics alike. Both works were translated into various languages. He also wrote some poems, including The Butterfly’s Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast, and several pamphlets on political questions, including the slave-trade, of which he was a determined opponent. He also took a leading part in the public life of Liverpool, which he represented in Parliament for a few years. He was an accomplished botanist.
Roscommon, Wentworth Dillon, 4th Earl of (1633?-1685). — Poet, nephew of the famous Earl of Strafford, was born in Ireland. He studied and travelled on the Continent, and enjoyed a considerable literary reputation in his own day on the strength of a poetical Essay on Translated Verse, and translations from Horace’s Art of Poetry.
Rose, William Stewart (1775–1843). — Poet and translator, son of George R., who held various Government offices, including that of Treasurer of the Navy. After being ed. at Eton and Cambridge, he was appointed Reading Clerk to the House of Lords. He translated the romance of Amadis de Gaul (1803), Partenopex de Blois (1807), etc., and from 1823–31 was occupied with the principal work of his life, his translations from the Italian, including the Orlando Furioso of Ariosto, in which he was encouraged by Sir W. Scott, whose friend he was. He also produced a vol. of poems, The Crusade of St. Louis (1810).
Rossetti, Christina Georgina (1830–1894). — Poetess, sister of Dante Gabriel R. (q.v.), was born in London, where she lived all her life. She began to write poetry in early girlhood, some of her earliest verse appearing in 1850 in the Germ, the magazine of the pre-Raphaelites, of which her brother was one of the founders. Her subsequent publications were Goblin Market and other Poems (1862), The Prince’s Progress (1866), A Pageant and other Poems (1881), and Verses (1893). New Poems (1896) appeared after her death. Sing–Song was a book of verses for children. Her life was a very retired one, passed largely in attending on her mother, who lived until 1886, and in religious duties. She twice rejected proposals of marriage. Her poetry is characterised by imaginative power, exquisite expression, and simplicity and depth of thought. She rarely imitated any forerunner, and drew her inspiration from her own experiences of thought and feeling. Many of her poems are definitely religious in form; more are deeply imbued with religious feeling and motive. In addition to her poems she wrote Commonplace and other Stories, and The Face of the Deep, a striking and suggestive commentary on the Apocalypse.
Rossetti, Dante Gabriel (1828–1882). — Poet and painter, was born in London. His father was Gabriele Rossetti, an Italian scholar, who came to England in 1824, and was Prof. of Italian in King’s College, London. His mother was Frances Polidori, English on her mother’s side, so that the poet was three-fourths Italian, and one-fourth English. He was ed. at King’s College School, and began the systematic study of painting in 1842, and in 1848, with Holman Hunt, Millais, and others, founded the pre-Raphaelite school of painting. In 1849 he exhibited the “Girlhood of Mary Virgin,” and among his other pictures are “Beata Beatrix,” “Monna Vanna,” and “Dante’s Dream.” Simultaneously with art he worked hard at poetry, and by 1847 he had written The Blessed Damozel and Hand and Soul (both of which appeared in the Germ, the magazine of the pre-Raphaelites), Retro me Sathanas, The Portrait, and The Choice, and in 1861 he brought out a vol. of translations from the early Italian poets under the title of Dante and his Circle. The death of his wife in 1862, after a married life of less than two years, told heavily upon him, as did various attacks upon his poetry, including that of Robert Buchanan (q.v.) — The Fleshly School of Poetry — to which he replied with The Stealthy School of Criticism. His Poems which, in the vehemence of his grief, he had buried in the coffin of his wife, and which were afterwards exhumed, appeared in 1870; and his last literary effort, Ballads and Sonnets, containing the sonnets forming The House of Life, in 1881. In his later years he suffered acutely from neuralgia, which led to the habit of taking chloral. Rossetti was fastidious in composition; his poems are as remarkable for condensation, finish, and exact expression of the poet’s thought as for their sumptuous colouring and rich concrete imagery. In later years he was subject to depression, and became somewhat embittered, and much of a recluse.
Life by A.C. Benson (English Men of Letters). Family Letters and Memoir by W.M. Rossetti. Poetical Works with preface by the same, etc.
Rous, Francis (1579–1659). — Versifier of the Psalms, a Cornishman, and a prominent Puritan, took a leading part in Parliament, was Provost of Eton, and wrote several theological and devotional works. His memory has, however, been chiefly kept green by his translation of the Psalms into verse, which with some modifications was adopted by the Church and Parliament of Scotland for use in public worship, a position which it held almost exclusively until the middle of the 19th century. It is still in universal use in the Presbyterian churches of that country, though now accompanied by hymns. Though rough, and sometimes, through the endeavour to maintain literalness, grotesque, it is strong and simple, and not seldom rises to a certain severe beauty; and association has endeared it to many generations of Scottish Christians.
Row, John (1568–1646). — Scottish ecclesiastical historian, born at Perth, son of John R., one of the Scottish Reformers, was minister of Carnock in Fife, and a leading opponent of Episcopacy. His Historie of the Kirk of Scotland, 1558–1637, left by him in manuscript, was printed in 1842 for the Wodrow Society. It is an original authority for the period.
Rowe, Nicholas (1674–1718). — Dramatist and poet, born of a good family at Little Barford, Bedfordshire, was bred to the law, but inheriting an income of £300 a year, he devoted himself to literature, and produced several dramas, including The Ambitious Stepmother, The Fair Penitent, and Jane Shore. The last, which is his best, contains some scenes of true pathos, and holds its place. He also wrote some poems, and translated Lucan. R., who was a man of very engaging manners, was the friend of Pope, Swift, and Addison, and received many lucrative appointments, including that of Under–Sec. of State. He has the distinction of being the first ed. and biographer of Shakespeare (1709). He was appointed Poet Laureate in 1715, and was buried in Westminster Abbey, with an epitaph by Pope.
Rowley, William (1585?-1642?). — Dramatist, was an actor in the Queen’s Company 1610. He collaborated with Middleton in A Fair Quarrel and The Changeling, and in others with Dekker, Webster, etc., and wrote unassisted A New Wonder, A Match at Midnight, A Shoemaker, a Gentleman, and several others; also a picture of life in London called A Search for Money. R. was vigorous and humorous, but his verse lacked sweetness and smoothness.
Ruddiman, Thomas (1674–1757). — Grammarian, born in Banffshire, and ed. at King’s College, Aberdeen, obtained a position in the Advocates’ Library in Edinburgh, of which in 1730 he became Librarian. In 1714 he published his Rudiments of the Latin Tongue, which was for long the recognised Latin grammar in the schools of Scotland. He was made printer to the University in 1728. R., who was one of the greatest of Scottish Latinists, produced an ed. of the works of George Buchanan, and an ed. of Livy said to be “immaculate.” He also reprinted, with notes, Gavin Douglas’s version of the Æneid.
Ruskin, John (1819–1900). — Writer on art, economics, and sociology, was born in London, the son of a wealthy wine merchant, a Scotsman. Brought up under intellectually and morally bracing Puritan influences, his education was mainly private until he went to Oxford in 1836; he remained until 1840, when a serious illness interrupted his studies, and led to a six months’ visit to Italy. On his return in 1842 he took his degree. In 1840 he had made the acquaintance of Turner, and this, together with a visit to Venice, constituted a turning point in his life. In 1843 appeared the first vol. of Modern Painters, the object of which was to insist upon the superiority in landscape of the moderns, and especially of Turner, to all the ancient masters. The earnestness and originality of the author and the splendour of the style at once called attention to the work which, however, awakened a chorus of protest from the adherents of the ancients. A second vol. appeared in 1846, the third and fourth in 1856, and the fifth in 1860. Meanwhile he had published The Seven Lamps of Architecture (1849), The Stones of Venice (1851–53), perhaps his greatest work, Lectures on Architecture and Painting (1854), Elements of Drawing (1856), and Elements of Perspective (1859). During the 17 years between the publication of the first and the last vols. of Modern Painters his views alike on religion and art had become profoundly modified, and the necessity of a radical change in the moral and intellectual attitude of the age towards religion, art, and economics in their bearing upon life and social conditions had become his ruling idea. He now assumed the rôle of the prophet as Carlyle, by whose teaching he was profoundly influenced, had done, and the rest of his life was spent in the endeavour to turn the mind of the nation in the direction he desired. The Political Economy of Art (1857) showed the line in which his mind was moving; but it was in Unto this Last, published in the Cornhill Magazine in 1860, that he began fully to develop his views. It brought down upon him a storm of opposition and obloquy which continued for years, and which, while it acted injuriously upon his highly sensitive nervous system, had no effect in silencing him or modifying his views. There followed Munera Pulveris (Gifts of the Dust), The Crown of Wild Olive, Sesame and Lilies (1865), Time and Tide by Wear and Tyne, and innumerable fugitive articles. In 1869 R. was appointed first Slade Prof. of the Fine Arts at Oxford, and endowed a school of drawing in the University His successive courses of lectures were published as Aratra Pentelici (Ploughs of Pentelicus) (1870), The Eagle’s Nest (1872), Ariadne Florentina (1872), and Love’s Meinie (1873). Contemporaneously with these he issued with more or less regularity, as health permitted, Fors Clavigera (Chance the Club-bearer), a series of miscellaneous notes and essays, sold by the author himself direct to the purchasers, the first of a series of experiments — of which the Guild of St. George, a tea room, and a road-making enterprise were other examples — in practical economics. After the death of his mother in 1871 he purchased a small property, Brantwood, in the Lake district, where he lived for the remainder of his life, and here he brought out in monthly parts his last work, Præterita, an autobiography, 24 parts of which appeared, bringing down the story to 1864. Here he died on January 20, 1900. R. was a man of noble character and generous impulses, but highly strung, irritable, and somewhat intolerant. He is one of our greatest stylists, copious, eloquent, picturesque, and highly coloured. His influence on his time was very great, at first in the department of art, in which he was for a time regarded as the supreme authority, later and increasingly in the realms of economics and morals, in which he was at first looked upon as an unpractical dreamer. He married in 1848, but the union proved unhappy, and was dissolved in 1855.
For his Life see his own works, especially Præterita. Life and Works by Collingwood (2 vols., 1893). Bibliography, T.J. Wise (1889–93). Shorter works by Mrs. Meynell, J.A. Hobson, F. Harrison, etc.
Russell, Lord John, 1st Earl Russell (1792–1878). — Statesman, biographer, and historical writer, third son of the 6th Duke of Bedford, was ed. at Westminster School and the University of Edinburgh He entered Parliament in 1813, and became one of the most eminent English statesmen of the 19th century. He uniformly acted with the Whig and afterwards with the Liberal party, advocated all measures of progress, especially the removal of tests, the extension of education, and Parliamentary reform. He was the leader of his party in the House of Commons from 1834–55, represented the City of London from 1841 until his elevation to the peerage in 1861, and held the offices of Paymaster of the Forces, Home Sec., Colonial Sec., Foreign Sec., and Prime Minister, which last he held twice, 1846–52, and 1865–66. His contributions to literature were considerable, both in number and importance, and include Essay on the English Constitution (1821), Memoirs of the Affairs of Europe from the Peace of Utrecht (1824), Correspondence of the 4th Duke of Bedford, Life, Diary, and Letters of Thomas Moore, Correspondence of Charles James Fox, and a Life of the same statesman, Essays on the Rise and Progress of the Christian Religion in the West of Europe (1873), and Recollections and Suggestions (1875).
Russell, William (1741–1793). — Historian, born in Selkirkshire, and apprenticed to a bookseller in Edinburgh, he was patronised by Lord Elibank, and went to London, where he followed literature as a profession. He wrote poems and fables, a History of America (1779), and a History of Modern Europe, which he left unfinished.
Russell, Sir William Howard (1821–1907). — War correspondent, born in Co. Dublin, was called to the Bar in 1850. Having joined the staff of the Times, he was sent as war correspondent to the Crimea, his letters from which caused a profound sensation, and led to an improved condition of things in regard to the army. He was also correspondent in India during the Mutiny, in America during the Civil War, and during the Austro–Prussian War of 1866, and the Franco–German War of 1870–71, in South Africa in 1879, and in Egypt in 1883. Among his books are The Adventures of Dr. Brady (1868), Hesperothen (1882), A Visit to Chili (1890), and The Great War with Russia (1895). He was knighted in 1895, and also received various foreign decorations.
Rutherford, Samuel (1600?-1661). — Theologian and controversialist, born at Nisbet, Roxburghshire, ed. at Edinburgh University, where he became in 1623 Regent of Humanity (Prof. of Latin). In 1627 he was settled as minister of Anwoth in Galloway, whence he was banished to Aberdeen for nonconformity. On the re-establishment of Presbytery in 1638 he was made Prof. of Divinity at St. Andrews, and in 1651 Principal of St. Mary’s College there, and he was one of the Scottish Commissioners to the Westminster Assembly. At the Restoration he was deprived of all his offices. He was a formidable controversialist, and a strenuous upholder of the divine right of Presbytery. Among his polemical works are Due Right of Presbyteries (1644), Lex Rex (1644), and Free Disputation against Pretended Liberty of Conscience. Lex Rex was, after the Restoration, burned by the common hangman, and led to the citation of the author for high treason, which his death prevented from taking effect. His chief fame, however, rests upon his spiritual and devotional works, such as Christ Dying and drawing Sinners to Himself, but especially upon his Letters, which display a fervour of feeling and a rich imagery which, while highly relished by some, repel others.
Rycaut, or Ricaut, Sir Paul (1628–1700). — Historian, was at Cambridge, and held various diplomatic positions. He wrote Present State of the Ottoman Empire (1668), and a continuation of Knolles’s General Historie of the Turks, and translated Platina’s Latin History of the Popes.
Rymer, Thomas (1641–1713). — Archæologist and critic, ed. at Cambridge, became a barrister at Gray’s Inn. He published in 1678 Tragedies of the last Age Considered, in which he passed judgments, very unfavourable, upon their authors, including Shakespeare. He was of much more use as the collector of English treaties, which he published under the title of Fædera, in 20 vols., the last 5 of which were ed. after his death by R. Sanderson (q.v.). R. also published poems and a play, Edgar. He held the office of historiographer to William III. His learning and industry have received the recognition of many subsequent historians.
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