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A Short Biographical Sketch of THOMAS SHADWELL (1640 or 1642 to 1692)

by John W. Cousin

SHADWELL, THOMAS (1640 or 1642-1692). —Dramatist and poet, belonged to a good Staffordshire family, was b. in Norfolk, ed. at Camb., and after studying law travelled, and on his return became a popular dramatist. Among his comedies, in which he displayed considerable comic power and truth to nature, may be mentioned The Sullen Lovers (1668), Royal Shepherdess (1668), The Humourists (1671), and The Miser (1672). He attached himself to the Whigs, and when Dryden attacked them in Absalom and Achitophel and The Medal, had the temerity to assail him scurrilously in The Medal of John Bayes (1682). The castigation which this evoked in MacFlecknoe and in the second part of Absalom and Achitophel, in which S. figures as "Og," has conferred upon him an unenviable immortality. He may have found some consolation in his succession to Dryden as Poet Laureate when, at the Revolution, the latter was deprived of the office.