A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Heywood, John

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Heywood, John (1497?-1580?). -- Dramatist and epigrammatist, is believed to have been b. at North Mimms, Herts. He was a friend of Sir Thomas More, and through him gained the favour of Henry VIII., and was at the Court of Edward VI. and Mary, for whom, as a young Princess, he had a great regard. Being a supporter of the old religion, he enjoyed her favour, but on the accession of Elizabeth, he left the country, and went to Mechlin, where he d. He was famous as a writer of interludes, a species of composition intermediate between the old "moralities" and the regular drama, and displayed considerable constructive skill, and a racy, if somewhat broad and even coarse, humour. Among his interludes are The Play of the Wether (1532), The Play of Love (1533), and The Pardoner and the Frere. An allegorical poem is The Spider and the Flie (1556), in which the Spider stands for the Protestants, and the Flie for the Roman Catholics. H. was likewise the author of some 600 epigrams, whence his title of "the old English epigrammatist."