Forde, Thomas (fl.1660) (DNB00)

FORDE, THOMAS (fl. 1660), author, describes himself as belonging to the neighbourhood of Maldon, Essex, being of the same kindred as John Udall, the puritan (Forde, Fœnestra, p. 135). He was a staunch and pious royalist. His books indicate some classical attainments. James Howell was apparently intimate with him. His earliest work was 'The Times Anatomized in several characters, by T. F.,' London, 1647. This series of pointed essays on such topics as 'A Good Subject,' 'A Soldier of Fortune,' 'Religion,' and the like, has sometimes been wrongly assigned to the famous Fuller. Oldys first showed that Forde was the author. An early manuscript note in the copy in the British Museum gives the writer's name as 'T. Ford, servant to Mr. Sam. Man.' 'Lusus Fortunæ, the play of Fortune; continually acted by the severall creatures on the Stage of the World,' London, 1649, consists of a number of moral essays, illustrated by quotations from ancient and modern literatures. Among modern writers, Spenser, Cowley, Donne, Cornwallis, Bacon, Fuller, Hall, Heylyn, and Sylvester are represented. A Latin poem prefixed is signed I. H. (James Howell ?). In 1660 appeared five tracts which are sometimes met with as separate publications and sometimes bound together in a single volume, bearing the general title 'Virtus Rediviva, with several other pieces from the same pen.' Each piece has a separate title-page and is separately paged. (1) 'Virtus Rediviva, or a Panegyrick on the late king, Charles I.' consists of a prose tract and two elegies in verse, written on the anniversaries of Charles I's execution in 1657 and 1658 respectively. (2) 'Love's Labyrinth, or the Royal Shepherdess, a Tragi-Comedie, by Tho. Forde Philothal,' is partly imitated from Robert Greene's 'Arcadia,' and partly borrowed from Gomersal's 'Sforza, Duke of Milan.' One of its songs is taken bodily from Greene; another is a version of Anacreon's 'Love's Duel.' The play is in blank verse. It was never acted. Verses by 'N. C.' and Edward Barwick are prefixed. (3) 'A Theatre of Wits, Ancient and Modern,' a collection of apophthegms. (4) 'Fænestra in Pectore, or Familiar Letters,' apparently a selection from Forde's actual correspondence with his father, a friend at Barbadoes, E. B. (Edward Barwick ?), and others. In a letter addressed to 'Mr. T. F.,' i.e. the famous Thomas Fuller, he praises unstintedly Fuller's 'Church History' (p. 135). On p. 166 he translates Martial's 'Non amo te Sabidi,' &c., as 'I do not like thee, Nell,' &c., the prototype of the better-known ' I do not like thee, Dr. Fell ' [cf. Fell, John, and Brown, Thomas or Tom]. (5) 'Fragmenta Poetica, or Poetical Diversions with a panegyrick upon his sacred Majestie's most happy return on the 29 May 1660.' Besides sacred poems, there are some verses here in praise of George Herbert and Thomas Bastard. The description 'Philothal,' which commonly follows Forde's name on his title-pages, is apparently an abbreviation of 'Philo-thalassios,' a lover of the sea.

[Hunter's manuscript Chorus Vatum in Addit. MS. 24489, f. 400; Forde's works; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Bailey's Life of Thomas Fuller, pp. 585-6, 759.]

S. L. L.