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Failing as an actor in America, Payne (1796-1852) tried again in England but fared better as a dramatist. His Clari, or, the Maid of Milan (1823) contained his famous poem "Home, Sweet Home!" sung by the heroine as she returns home at the end of the play. In the theater Payne is best remembered for Charles the Second (1824) which he wrote in collaboration with Washington Irving. Returning to America in 1832, he was hailed as "Our distinguished countryman." When he died, he was the United State consul at Tunis.
This biography is carefully researched by Harrison, who talked with many people Payne knew. The book also includes relevant letters, diplomatic correspondence concerning the bringing of Payne's "remains" back to America in 1883. Payne's early published Juvenile poems as edited by Harrison, other poems by Payne, commentary on Payne and a list of his dramatic works.
The book is in only fair condition. Two pages of the front matter are loose and the two pages of the Preface are weak in the binding. There are some marks and underlinings on the first 150 or so pages, but nothing major. Otherwise the binding is firm. The cover is also beautifully illustrated in gold lettering.
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