Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Drout, John

DROUT, JOHN (fl. 1570), poet, was, as we learn from the title-page of his only known work, an attorney of Thavies Inn. He is author of a black-letter tract of thirty leaves, entitled ‘The pityfull Historie of two louing Italians, Gaulfrido and Barnardo le vayne, which ariued in the countrey of Grece, in the time of the noble Emperoure Vaspasian. And translated out of Italian into Englishe meeter,’ &c., 12mo, London, 1570. In dedicating ‘this, the first frutes of my trauell,’ to Sir Francis Jobson, knt., lieutenant of the Tower, Drout mentions his parents as still living, and expresses his own and their obligations to Jobson. In 1844 John Payne Collier reprinted twenty-five copies of this piece from a unique copy. Collier doubts whether Drout really translated the story from the Italian, and suggests that Drout describes it as a translation so that he might take advantage of the popularity of Italian novels. In his preliminary remarks upon ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ Malone, whose sole knowledge of Drout's book was derived from its entry in the ‘Stationers' Registers,’ supposed it to be a prose narrative of the story on which Shakespeare's play was constructed (Malone, Shakespeare, ed. Boswell, vi. 4). It is not in prose, and only a part relates to the history of Romeo and Juliet; it is in the ordinary fourteen-syllable metre of the time, divided into lines of eight and of six syllables. It is merely valuable to the literary antiquary.

[Arber's Transcript of Stationers' Registers, i. 204 b; Lowndes's Bibl. Manual (Bohn), ii. 869, voce ‘Gaulfrido,’ Appendix, p. 250; Athenæum, 26 April 1862, p. 563.]

G. G.