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an early English dramatic author, the second son of Thomas Ford,

, an early English dramatic author, the second son of Thomas Ford, esq. a gentleman in the commission of the peace, was a native of Ilsington in Devonshire, where he was born in 158G, probably in the beginning of April, as he was baptised on the 17th of that month at Ilsington. It does not appear where he was educated, but on Nov. 16, 1602, he entered as a member of the Middle Temple, for the purpose of studying law. While there he published, in 1606, “Fame’s Memoriall, on the earle of Devonshire deceased; with his honourable life, peaceful end, and solemne funerall,” a small quarto of twenty-eight leaves. This poem, considered as the production of a youth, is creditable to the talents of Ford, as it exhibits a freedom of thought and command of language, of which there are few contemporaneous examples. At this time Ford was in his twenty-first year, and deeply engaged, but unfortunate, in an affair of the heart; and being disappointed also by the death of lord Mountjoy, the liberal friend of the poet Daniel, to whom he was about to look up as a patron, he determined to seek relief in travel. Whether he actually went abroad, or finding a nymph less cruel, and an avenue to fame without individual patronage, remained in England, is matter of conjecture: but we next hear of him on the stage. With a forbearance, however, unusual with those who have once adventured before the public, Ford abstained from the press from 1606 to 1629, when he printed his tragicomedy of the “Lover’s Melancholy.” But this was not his first attempt on the stage, as his play entitled “A bad beginning makes a good ending,” was acted at court as early as 1613. He wrote at least eleven dramas, and such as were printed appeared from 1629 to 1639. The greater part of those were entirely of his own composition, but in some he wrote conjointly, probably with Decker, Drayton, Hatherewaye, or some of the numerous retainers of the stage. It has been asserted that Jonson was jealous of Ford, and that Ford was frequently pitted against Jonson, as the champion of his antagonists. But Mr. Gilchrist, in, “A Letter to William Gifford, esq.1811, has most satisfactorily proved that there is no foundation for either of these assertions. The date of Ford’s death is unknown; he wrote nothing for the stage after 1639, and it is probable that he did not long survive that period. A writer in the “Censura Literaria,” has attributed to him an excellent little manual, entitled “A Line of Life, pointing at the immortalitie of a vertuous name,1620, 12mo.