Biography of Henry Sambrooke Leigh
Henry Sambrooke Leigh was a writer and playwright.
Leigh, son of James Mathews Leigh, was born in London on 29 March 1837. At an early age he engaged in literary pursuits. From time to time appeared collections of his lyrics, under the titles of ‘Carols of Cockayne’, 1869 (several editions); ‘Gillott and Goosequill’, 1871; ‘A Town Garland. A Collection of Lyrics’, 1878; and ‘Strains from the Strand. Trifles in Verse’, 1882. His verse was always fluent, but otherwise of very slender merit.
For the stage he translated many French comic operas. His first theatrical essay was in collaboration with Charles Millward in a musical spectacle for the Theatre Royal in Birmingham. His ‘Falsacappa,’ music by Offenbach, was produced at the Globe Theatre on 22 April 1871; ‘Le Roi Carotte’ at the Alhambra on 3 June 1872; ‘Bridge of Sighs,’ opera-bouffe, at the St. James's, 18 Nov. 1872; ‘White Cat,’ a fairy spectacle, at the Queen's, Long Acre, on 2 Dec. 1875; ‘Voyage dans la Lune,’ opera-bouffe, at the Alhambra, on 15 April 1876; ‘Fatinitza,’ opera-bouffe (the words were printed), adapted from the German, at the Alhambra on 20 June 1878; ‘The Great Casimir,’ a vaudeville, at the Gaiety, on 27 Sept. 1879; ‘Cinderella,’ an opera, with music by J. Farmer, at St. James's Hall, on 2 May 1884 (the words were published in 1882); ‘The Brigands,’ by H. Meilhac and L. Halévy, adapted to English words by Leigh, was printed in 1884. For ‘Lurette,’ a comic opera, Avenue, 24 March 1883, he wrote the lyrics; and with Robert Reece he produced ‘La Petite Mademoiselle,’ comic opera, Alhambra, on 6 October 1879. He edited ‘Jeux d'Esprit written and spoken by French and English Wits and Humorists,’ in 1877, and wrote Mark Twain's ‘Nightmares’ in 1878.
His last theatrical venture—a complete failure—was ‘The Prince Methusalem,’ a comic opera, brought out at the Folies Dramatiques (now the Kingsway), Great Queen Street, London, on 19 May 1883. He was a Spanish, Portuguese, and French scholar, a brilliant and witty conversationalist, and a humorous singer.
He died in his rooms in Lowther's private hotel, 35 Strand, London, on 16 June 1883, and was buried in Brompton cemetery on 22 June.
Henry Sambrooke Leigh's Works:
Carols of Cockayne 1869
Gillott and Goosequill 1871
A Town Garland. A Collection of Lyrics 1878
Strains from the Strand. Trifles in Verse 1882.
The Brigands (1884 Translator)
Jeux d'Esprit written and spoken by French and English Wits and Humorists (1877 Editor)
Mark Twain's ‘Nightmares(1878)
The Prince Methusalem (1883)
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Henry Sambrooke Leigh Poems
I grew so like my brother,
That folks got taking me for him,
And each for one another.
Large numbers of cod-fish are found,
And the animals’ livers are afterwards sold
At so many “pfennigs” per pound;
Is in the sere and yellow leaf.
'Tis vain for happiness to pray:
No solace brings my heart relief.
And I was under twenty,
Three loves were scattered in my way—
Since Banting has issued his Tract
for the Times;
That queer publication made such a
My After-Dinner Cloud
Some sombre evening, when I sit
And feed in solitude at home,
Perchance an ultra-bilious fit
Paints all the world an orange chrome.
When Fear and Care and grim Despair
Flock round me in a ghostly crowd,
One charm dispels them all in air,—
I blow my after-dinner cloud.