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Philips, Ambrose

Ambrose Philips, 1674–1749, English author. After resigning his fellowship from Cambridge in 1708, he moved to London and became known in the literary Whig coterie of Addison. He is principally remembered for his quarrel with Pope about the relative merits of their pastorals that appeared in the 1709 edition of Jacob Tonson's miscellany. He wrote three verse tragedies, of which only The Distrest Mother (1712), adapted from Racine's Andromaque, had any success. In 1718 he began the Freethinker, a periodical in imitation of the Spectator. His nickname "Namby-Pamby" was given to him by Henry Carey because of the cloying sentimentality of his poems in praise of childhood.

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