Smith, John (1662-1717) (DNB00)

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SMITH or SMYTH, JOHN (1662–1717), dramatist, born in 1662, was son of John Smyth of Barton in Gloucestershire, and probably great-grandson of John Smith or Smyth (1567–1640) [q. v.] In 1676 John became a chorister of Magdalen College, Oxford, and matriculated on 10 July 1679, graduating B.A. in 1683, and M.A. in 1686. In 1682 he became a clerk of the college, and in 1689 usher of the college school. He died at Oxford on 16 July 1717, and was buried in the college chapel.

He was the author of ‘Win her and take her, or Old Fools will be Medling: a Comedy, as it is acted at the Theatre Royal by their Majesties Servants,’ London, 1691, 4to. This play, which was issued anonymously, was dedicated ‘to the Right Honourable Peregrine, Earl of Danby,’ by Cave Underhill the player [q. v.], for whom the part of Dulhead seems to have been specially written. It contains an epilogue by Thomas D'Urfey [q. v.] The plot bears some resemblance to that of Shadwell's ‘Virtuoso,’ and the character of Waspish appears to be modelled on that of Snarl in that comedy (Genest, ii. 13).

According to Wood, he was also the author of: 1. ‘Odes Paraphras'd and imitated, in Miscellany Poems and Translations by Oxford Hands,’ London, 1685, 8vo. 2. ‘Scarronides, or Virgil Travesty: a Mock-Poem on the second Book of Virgil's Æneis, in English Burlesque,’ London, 1691, 8vo.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iv. 601; Baker's Biographia Dramatica, i. 678, iii. 411; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Bloxam's Magdalen Coll. Register, iii. 221; Notes and Queries, 9th ser. i. 322.]

E. I. C.