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one of the oldest English dramatic writers, was born at North Mims,

, one of the oldest English dramatic writers, was born at North Mims, near St. Alban’s in Hertfordshire, and received the first rudiments of his education at Oxford; but the sprightliness of his disposition not being well adapted to the sedentary life of an acader mician, he went back to his native place, which being in the neighbourhood of the great sir Thomas More, he presently contracted an intimacy with that Maecenas of wit and genius, who introduced him to the knowledge and patronage of the princess Mary. Heywood’s ready aptness for jest and repartee, together with the possession of great skill both in vocal and instrumental music, rendered him a favourite with Henry VIII. who frequently rewarded him highly. On the accession of Edward VI. he still continued in favour, though the author of the “Art of English Poetry” says, it was “for the mirth and quickness of conceit, more than any good learning that was in him.” When his old patroness queen Mary came to the throne, he stood in higher estimation than ever, being admitted into the most intimate conversation with her, on account of his happy talent of telling diverting stories, which it is said he did to amuse her painful hours, even when she was languishing on her death-bed. His stories must have been diverting indeed if they soothed the recollections of such a woman.