A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Nash, Thomas

Nash, Thomas (1567-1601). -- Satirist, etc., b. at Lowestoft, ed. at Camb. A reckless life kept him in perpetual poverty, and a bitter and sarcastic tongue lost him friends and patrons. He cherished an undying hatred for the Puritans, and specially for Gabriel Hervey, with whom he maintained a lifelong controversy, and against whose attacks he defended Robert Greene (q.v.). Among his writings are Anatomy of Absurdities (1589), Have with you to Saffron Walden, and Pierce Pennilesse, his Supplication to the Divell (1592), all against the Puritans. In Summer's (a jester of Henry VIII.) Last Will and Testament occurs the well-known song, "Spring, the sweet Spring, is the year's pleasant King." Christ's Tears over Jerusalem (1593) may have indicated some movement towards repentance. Another work in a totally different style, The Unfortunate Traveller, or the Life of Jack Wilton (1594), a wild tale, may be regarded as the pioneer of the novel of adventure. It had, however, so little success that the author never returned to this kind of fiction. A comedy, The Isle of Dogs (now lost), adverted so pointedly to abuses in the state that it led to his imprisonment. His last work was Lenten Stuffe (1599), a burlesque panegyric on Yarmouth and its red herrings. N.'s verse is usually hard and monotonous, but he was a man of varied culture and great ability.