Dramatist Thomas Heywood was born in Lincolnshire, England, and was a contemporary of Shakespeare and Ben Jonson. Many details of Heywood’s life are unknown or speculative. It is believed that he attended the University of Cambridge, although no records of his attendance remain. It is known that he moved to London before 1598, when he became a member of the theatrical company the Admiral’s Men. Heywood claimed to have written or helped write more than 220 plays, of which roughly 30 survive, including If You Know Not Me, You Know Nobody (1605-06), a historical play based on Elizabeth I; A Woman Killed with Kindness (1607), considered one of the first examples of middle-class tragedy; and Love’s Mistress (1636).

Heywood was enormously popular in his day, producing seven Lord Mayor’s pageants and working in genres such as the masque and mythological cycle and writing numerous pamphlets and books, including An Apology for Actors (1612). Charles Lamb is alleged to have described him as a sort of “prose Shakespeare.” Heywood died in London in 1641.
Poems by Thomas Heywood
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