Munday, Antony

, is celebrated by Meres, amongst the comic poets, as the best plotter; and a few of his dramatic pieces, enumerated in the Biog. Dramatica, are occasionally to be met with and purchased as curiosities. He appears to have been a writer through a very long period, there being works existing published by him for the booksellers, which are dated in 1580 and 1621, and probably both earlier and later than those years. He frequently employed his talents on the translation of romances, but with little spirit or fidelity. He rendered himself more celebrated in his day as the author of the city pageants, from 1605 to 1616. In 1582 he detected the treasonable practices of Edmund Campion, and his confederates, of | which he published an account, wherein he is styled “some time the pope’s scholler allowed in the seminarie at Roome.” The publication of this pamphlet brought down upon him the vengeance of his opponents, one of whom, in an answer to him, has given his history in these words:

Munday was first a stage-player, after an apprentise, which tyme he wel served with deceaving of his master, then wandring towardes Italy, by his own report became a cosener in his journey. Comming to Rome, in his short abode there, was charitably relieved, but never admitted in the seminary, as he pleseth to lye in the title of his booke, and being wery of well doing returned home to his first vomite, and was hist from his stage for his folly. Being therby discouraged he set forth a balet against plays, though (o constant youth) he afterwards began again to ruffle upon the stage. I omit (continues this author) among other places his behaviour in Barbican with his good mistress and mother. Two things, however, must not be passed over of this boy’s infelicitie, two several ways of late notorious. First he writing upon the death of Everard Haunse, was immediately controled and disproved by one of his owne batche, and shortly after setting forth the apprehension of M. Campion was disproved by George (I was about to say Judas) Eliot, who writing against him, proved that those things he did were for lukers sake only, and not for the truthe thogh he himself be a person of the same predicament, of whom I muste say that if felony be honesty, then he may for his behaviore be taken for a lawful witness against so good men.

It will take from the credit of this narrative to observe, that our author was, after this time, servant to the earl of Oxford, and a messenger of the queen’s bed-chamber, posts which he would scarcely have held had his character been so infamous as is represented above.

This author, of whom various particulars, with specimens of his works, may be seen in our authorities, died m his eightieth year, Aug. 10, 1633, and was buried in the parish church of St. Stephen, Coleman-street, with a monument, on which he is styled citizen and draper of London, and a learned antiquary. It appears that he collected the arms of the county of Middlesex, lately transferred from sir Simeon Stuart’s library to the British Museum | and was in 1618 the editor of a reprint of Stow’s “Survey of London,” with additions. 1

1

Biog. Dram Warton’s Hist, of Poetry. Ritson’s Bibl. Poet, Bibliographer, vols. I. and II.