1812 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Heywood

Alexander Chalmers, in General Biographical Dictionary (1812-17) 17:448-49.



THOMAS HEYWOOD, an actor, and a writer of plays, in the reigns of queen Elizabeth, James I. and Charles I. has not had the time of his birth and death recorded. Winstanley says, he was one of the most voluminous writers of his age: and, in a preface to one of his plays, he tells us, that it was one preserved out of 220; of which number only 24 now remain. He displayed much learning in his "Actor's Vindication;" but what rank he held on the stage none of his biographers have informed us. Langbaine observes of him, that he was a general scholar and tolerable linguist, as his translations from Lucian, Erasmus, and from other Latin as well as Italian authors, sufficiently shew: the wits and poets, however, have always held him cheap. Besides his "Actor's Vindication," he wrote "A Life of Merlin;" "The Hierarchy of Angels;" "Life of queen Elizabeth;" "The Lives of nine Worthies;" "The Lives of nine Women Worthies;" "A general History of Women," &c. &c. Notices of some of these may be found in our authorities.