Ambrose Philips, an English poet, born about 1671, died in London, June 8, 1749. He graduated at Cambridge in 1696, and was one of the authors of the collection of verses published by the university on the death of Queen Mary. He also translated Sappho's " Hymn to Venus." Among his earliest poetical publications are six "Pastorals," printed in Tonson's " Poetical Miscellany " in 1709, the pastorals of Pope appearing in the same volume. The rivalry thus provoked led to a violent warfare between the two authors. In 1712 Philips produced "The Distressed Mother," a tragedy founded on Racine's Andromaque. It was played with great success, and received high praise from the " Spectator." In 1721 he brought out two other tragedies, "The Briton" and "Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester." In 1718, in connection with Dr. Boulter, he commenced " The Freethinker," a serial paper, which enjoyed great popularity. When Boulter was made primate of Ireland, Philips became his secretary, and was elected to the Irish parliament. In December, 1726, he was made secretary to the Irish chancellor, and in August, 1734, registrar of the prerogative court.
Some years after the death of his patron he returned to London (1748), and published a collection of his poems.