Thomas Shadwell was born in 1640 of a good Staffordshire family, and was educated at Caius College, Cambridge. He was made Laureate after Dryden had been deprived of the post in 1688, and died in 1692. His comedies were once much in vogue, and Rochester says of him:
Of all our modern wits none seem to me
Once to have touched upon true comedy,
But hasty Shadwell and slow Wycherley.
He is satirised by Dryden as Og in Absolom and Achitophel, as well is in Mac-Flecknoe.