A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Heywood, Thomas

Heywood, Thomas (d. 1650).—Dramatist. Few facts about him have come down, and these are almost entirely derived from his own writings. He appears to have been b. in Lincolnshire, and was a Fellow of Peterhouse, Camb., and an ardent Protestant. His literary activity extends from about 1600 to 1641, and his production was unceasing; he claims to have written or "had a main finger in" 220 plays, of which only a small proportion (24) are known to be in existence, a fact partly accounted for by many of them having been written upon the backs of tavern bills, and by the circumstance that though a number of them were popular, few were pub. Among them may be mentioned The Four Prentices of London (1600) (ridiculed in Fletcher's Knight of the Burning Pestle), Edward IV. (2 parts) in 1600 and 1605, The Royal King and the Loyal Subject (1637), A Woman Killed with Kindness (1603), Rape of Lucrece (1608), Fair Maid of the Exchange (1607), Love's Mistress (1636), and Wise Woman of Hogsdon (1638). H. also wrote an Apology for Actors (1612), a poem, Hierarchy of the Blessed Angels (1635), and made various translations. He was thoroughly English in his subjects and treatment, and had invention, liveliness, and truth to nature, but lacked the higher poetic sense, and of course wrote far too much to write uniformly well.