His first play, The Ambitious Stepmother, was produced in 1700 at Lincoln’s Inn Fields. It was followed in 1701 by Tamerlane, which celebrates William III. A tragedy, The Fair Penitent, followed in 1703. The name of one of its characters, Lothario, has been incorporated into the English language, to describe ‘a rake.’ In 1704, Rowe tried his hand at comedy, but with little success. He returned to tragedy, and wrote several more plays, before his death at the age of 44.
Rowe was the first modern editor of Shakespeare. He also wrote a short biography of Shakespeare, entitled, Some Account of the Life &c. of Mr. William Shakespear.