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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VI. The Drama to 1642, Part Two.

IX. Lesser Jacobean and Caroline Dramatists

§ 19. Thomas Nabbes’s virtuous heroines

Thomas Nabbes seems to have belonged to the same social level as Davenport, and, like him, to have produced his tragedy, Hannibal and Scipio, by revising an older play; he was a friend of Richard Brome. His Microcosmus is a morality play which he calls a masque. His best work is to be found in his three comedies, Covent-Garden, 1632, Totenham-Court, 1633, and The Bride, 1638. Nabbes breaks away from the prevailing coarse type of comedy, intended to hit the taste of the man about town, and takes pains and pleasure in representing people of virtuous life and conversation. With just a little more distinction and force, both in his writing and in his characterisation, Nabbes would have risen above the ranks of third-rate dramatists. The Bride is a comedy of considerable effectiveness, distinguished among the plays of its time by the goodness and purity to be found in its men and women. His heroes and heroines are amiable and sincere; somewhat colourless when compared with stronger dramatic work; but without the two diseases of the time, the convention of coarseness, and the convention of fantastic sentiment.