1782 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Henry Killigrew

Isaac Reed, in Biographia Dramatica (1782; 1812) 1:431-32.



DR. HENRY KILLIGREW was the fifth and youngest son of Sir Robert Killigrew, and was born at Hanworth, in Middlesex, on the 11th of Feb. 1612. He was educated under Mr. Thomas Farnaby, became a commoner of Christ Church in 1628, and soon after student, and, when bachelor of arts, one of the quadragesimal collectors. In July, 1638, he was created M.A. being then about to travel; and entering afterwards into the sacred function, became chaplain to the King's army. On the 1st of Nov. 1642, he took the degree of D.D. and immediately was appointed chaplain to the Duke of York, and promoted to the twelfth stall in the church of Westminster. He suffered in common with the royal cause during the interregnum; but, on the Restoration, was made almoner to the Duke of York, superintendent to the affairs of his chapel, rector of Wheathamstead, in Hertfordshire; and, in the next year, master of the Savoy, in which he remained in the year 1693. The year of his death we have not been able to ascertain. The play, on which account we have admitted him to a place, seems not to have been acted till some time after the occasion was past for which it was originally designed, viz. the celebration of the nuptials of Lord Charles Herbert with the Lady Mary Villiers, at which time the author was no more than seventeen years of age. The circumstance we gather from an anecdote concerning it, related by Langbaine, that reflects honour on the author. For he tells us, that on its first representation at Black Friars, certain critics cavilled at the character of Clearchus in it; objecting that it was monstrous and impossible for a person of only seventeen years old, as that character is supposed to be, to conceive and utter such sentiments as he is made to speak, and which would better suit the lips of one of thirty years of age; to which objection the learned and ingenious Lord Falkland made this very judicious reply, in vindication of the author, viz. that it was neither monstrous nor impossible for one of seventeen years to speak at such a rate; when he that made him speak in that manner, and wrote the play, was himself no older. The title of the piece, which has also been highly commended by Ben Jonson, is The Conspiracy. T. 4to. 1638. Mr. Killigrew was in Italy, most probably upon his travels, at the time that this play was first published; by which means it came out very imperfect and incorrect. But after his return, it is probable he might himself make some alterations in it, and it was republished, with the altered title of Pallantus and Eudora. fo. 1653. Dr. Killigrew was father of Mrs. Anne Killigrew, celebrated for her poetry and painting, on whom Dryden wrote an elegy.