Arthur Murphy (1727-1805)

Actor, playwright, and literary figure of Irish origin but raised in London; active lifelong in England. His plays are mostly farces (in accord with 18th century custom); the most famous of these in its day was Grecian Daughter. He became a barrister (trial lawyer) in 1762, involved in ending "perpetual copyright" held by some book dealers on famous works. The principle of non-perpetuity was called "Murphy's Law" before the more cynical idea of the same name became widespread. Author of biographies of Henry Fielding, Samuel Johnson, and David Garrick.

Late in life he translated the works of Tacitus, an edition that has been reprinted through the twentieth century. It is notable for its close mimcry of Tacitus' Latin style, which is usually lost in English translations. In 1803 he was given an official position by King George III.

There are a few bons motsin recent versions of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations.

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