Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Chapman, George (1557-1634), English dramatic poet, contemporary and friend of Shakespeare and Ben Jonson. He went to Oxford at the age of 15, and is thought to have travelled afterwards in Germany. His first poem, The Shadow of Night, he published when 35, and four years afterwards he began the translation of Homer's Iliad, a work which, published at intervals, he finished in 1611. In 1616 appeared his edition of the Iliad and the Odyssey complete, and in 1624 The Battle of the Frogs and Mice, and the Hymns and Epigrams. His translation was approved by his contemporaries Jonson and Drayton, and has won the admiration in later days of Pope, Coleridge, Lamb, and Keats. He also translated Hesiod's Works and Days, and parts of the Fifth Satire of Juvenal. His earliest play, the Blind Beggar of Alexandria, was popular, and was printed in 1598, and one play, Bussy d'Ambois, was popular after the Restoration. Of his comedies, All Fools, Monsieur d' Olive, The Gentleman Usher, and The Widow's Tears, are distinguished by much humour and graceful poetry, and two play's upon Marshal Biron's history, though without dramatic merit, show lofty thought, and are good poetry. His Caesar and Pompey also contains much that is good. Lamb was of opinion that Chapman of all Elizabethan dramatists came nearest to Shakespeare "in passages which are less purely dramatic." He is described by Anthony Wood as "a person of most reverend aspect, religious, and temperate," and appears to have been of haughty and austere habit. His friendship for Jonson and Shakespeare, supposing that such a friendship existed, does not appear to have prevented him from leaving a posthumous fragment of satire upon the former, or from having given cause for passionate protest from the latter, if Mr. Minto's conjecture be true - and there seems much ground for it - that some passages in Shakespeare's sonnets refer to Chapman. Chapman's complete works (3 volumes), with essay by Mr. Swinburne, appeared in 1873-75.