Goff, Thomas

, a divine and dramatic writer, was born in Essex, about 1592, and was educated at Westminster-school, from which, at the age of eighteen, he entered as a student of Christ Church college, Oxford. Here he completed his studies, and, by dint of application and industry, became a very able scholar, obtained the character of a good poet, and, being endowed with the powers of oratory, was, after his taking orders, esteemed an excellent preacher. He had the degree of B. D. conferred on him before he quitted the university, and, in 1623, was preferred to the living of East Clandon, in Surrey. Here, notwithstanding that he had long been a professed enemy to the female sex, and even by some esteemed a woman-hater, he unfortunately tied himself to a wife, the widow of his predecessor, who was aXantippe, and he being naturally of a mild disposition, became at last unable to cope with so turbulent a spirit, backed as | she. was by the children she had by her former husband. It was believed by many, that the uneasiness he met with in domestic life shortened his days. He died in July 1629, being then only thirty -five years of age, and was buried on the 27th of the same month *at his own parish church. He wrote several pieces on different subjects, among which are five tragedies; none of which were published till some years after his death. Philips and Winstanley have ascribed a comedy to this author, called “Cupid’s Whirligig;” but with no appearance of probability; since the gravity of his temper was such, that he does not seem to have been capable of a performance so ludicrous. In the latter part of his life he forsook the stage for the pulpit, and wrote sermons, some of which appeared the year he died. With the quaintness common to the sermons of James Ist’s time, they have a portion of fancy and vivacity peculiar to himself. To these works may be added, his “Latin Oration at the Funeral of sir Henry Savile,” spoken and printed at Oxford in 1622; another in Christ Church cathedral, at the funeral of Dr. Godwin, canon of that church, printed in London, 1627. 1


Ath. Ox. vol. I. Biog. Dram —Gent. Mag, vol. LXVIII, p. 558.