1805 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Heywood

Samuel Egerton Brydges, "Thomas Heywood" Censura Literaria 1 (1805) 39.



This author, who was an actor, and lived in the reigns of Queen Elizabeth, King James, and King Charles I. was the most voluminous dramatic writer, that this nation or indeed any other ever produced, except the celebrated Spanish playwright, Lopez de Vega.

He wrote a poem, called "he Hierarchy of the Blessed Angels, with notes, fol. Lond. 1635. "In reading over this book," says Langbaine, "I find our author informing the world that he intended to commit to the public view the lives of the poets, foreign and modern, from the first before Homer to the novissimi and last, of what nation or language soever, so far as any history or chronology would give him warrant." "But this work," continues Langbaine, "notwithstanding our author's intention, I presume, was never completed, or at least published."

On this Oldys observes, "it was too wide a plan: he would have found enough of the poets of his country, which no man has yet done. The scheme of William Brown, the pastoral poet, was more modest and practicable; of whom, Nat. Carpenter in his Geography, lib. ii. p. 364, says, 'that as Brown had honoured his country with elegant pastorals, so he further graced it by drawing out the line of his poetical ancestors from Josephus Iscanius down to himself; a noble design had it been effected'" [Author's note: Oldys's MS notes to Langbaine].