Killigrew, Thomas

, brother of the former, was born in 1611, and distinguished also by uncommon natural parts. He was page of honour to Charles I, and groom of the bed-chamber to Charles II, with whom he had suffered many years exile. During his abode beyond sea, he took a view of France, Italy, and Spain; and was honoured by his majesty with the employment of resident at the state of Venice, whither he was sent in Aug. 1651. In this absence from his country he applied his leisure hours to poetry, and the composition of several plays; of which sir John Denham, in a jocular way, takes notice in his poem on our author’s return from his embassy to Venice. Though Deuham mentions but six, our author wrote nine plays in his travels, and two at London; all which were printed, with his picture before them, in one volume folio, at London, 1664. There is, besides these plays of his, “A Letter concerning the possessing and dispossessing of several Nuns in the Nunnery at Tours, in France;” dated | Orleans, Dec. the 7th, 1635, and printed in three sheet* folio. He died in 1682, and was buried in Westminsterabbey. He had been twice married. He was a man of an uncommon vein of humour, with which he used to divert Charles II.; who, on that account, was fonder of him than of his best ministers, and would give him access to his presence when he denied it to them. It was usually said of him, that, when he attempted to write, he was nothing compared to what he was in conversation; which was just the reverse of Cowley, who shone but little in company, though he excelled so much with his pen. Hence Denbam, who knew them both, has taken occasion thus to characterize their respective excellencies and defects:

"Had Cowley ne‘er spoke, Killigrew ne’er writ,

Combin‘d in one, they’d made a matchless wit."


As our authorities for these Killigrews are nearly the same, we shall here refer generally to the Biog. Brit. new edit. vol. IV. p. 99. Biog. Dramatica. Swift’s Works. Gibber’s Lives. Granger. Fuller’s Worthies. —Ath. Ox. vol. II. [this footnote was appended to only one of the enrties to which it applies in the original printed edition, and has been duplicated here for convenience]