Ruggle, George

, the author of a celebrated dramatic satire, was born at Lavenham in Suffolk, where his father was a clothier, probably in November 1575. He was educated at the free grammar school of Lavenham, and made such progress, that great hopes were entertained of the advantages he might derive from an university education, which his father was encouraged to give him. He was accordingly admitted of St. John’s college, Cambridge, June 26, J 589, but foreseeing no chance of a maintenance there, removed to Trinity college, and obtained a scholarship in 1593, about which time he probably took the degree of B. A. as he did that of M. A. in 1597, and entered into holy orders. From Trinity he removed to Clare-hall, and was elected a fellow of that society, to which afterwards he was a benefactor.

Having a taste for polite literature, he studied to acquire a familiar knowledge of the French and Italian languages; but particularly of the Greek and Latin poets, historians, and orators. Among the Italian writers, the productions of John Baptist Porta, were his favourites. This author’s comedies, in our account of him, are erroneously said not to be extant, instead of esteemed. An edition of them was published in 1726, 4to, but there were old editions of them | all in Ruggle’s time, and he evidently caught their spirit. Hjy “Ignoramus?' owes much to Porta’s” Trappolana.“In the mean time, Ruggle’s reputation for learning became an inducement with many parents and guardians to place their sons at Clare-hall, uiider his tuition. In 1604, he was appointed one of the two taxers in the university. This seems the only distinction he obtained, except that in the following year, when king James visited Oxford, he was admitted M. A. It is said to have been in consequence of a litigious dispute carried on, in 1611, between the university, and the mayor and corporation of Cambridge, that he conceived an unfavourable opinion of the gentlemen of the law, and thought some of their practices a fair subject for ridicule. With this view he completed his comedy called” Ignoramus,“which was acted at the university before James I. both in March and May 1614, and is said to have highly delighted his majesty; the pleasure, indeed, which it gave him is rather oddly expressed.” Spectando et ridendo rex tantum non cacatus!“The lawyers are said to have felt the force of the ridicule, and to have expressed the warmest resentment against the poet and his performance. A very correct edition of this comedy, with a life of the author, was published in 1787, by Mr. John Sidney Hawkins, 8vo. Two other plays are ascribed to Ruggle,” Club Law,“and” Revera, or Verity,“but neither have been printed. Mr. lluggle resigned his fellowship in 1620, probably on succeeding to an estate, and died between Sept. 6, 1621, and Nov. 3, 1622, the former being the date of his will, the latter the day when it was proved. Mr. Hawkins’s opinion of the famed” Ignoramus" is, we are afraid higher than modern taste and humour can allow. 1


Edition by Mr. Hawkins.