Thomas Heywood


Dramatic Works

The Dramatic Works of Thomas Heywood, [ed. R.H. Shepherd], 6 vols (1874; reprinted New York, 1964).


Manuscripts and the Canon

Both on internal and external evidence the manuscript plays known as The Captives (*HyT 4) and The Escapes of Jupiter (*HyT 6) can be assigned to Thomas Heywood and are clearly in the author's hand. The same hand has been identified with Hand B in the celebrated Booke of Sir Thomas Moore (*HyT 12). The only other known examples of Heywood's handwriting are three signatures on a legal document (*HyT 14).

Manuscript copies are preserved of two other plays which have been tentatively attributed to Heywood: namely Dick of Devonshire (HyT 5), and the more recently discovered Tom a Lincoln (HyT 13), which might possibly be an Inns of Court play by one or more members. Two other notable manuscripts are copies of what is apparently Heywood's verse translation of Ovid (HyT 2-3.8), the first of which was submitted to the licenser in 1623 and may conceivably have belonged to Heywood himself.

Since Heywood claimed that there were 120 plays in which he had ‘either an entire hand, or at the least a maine finger’ (The English Traueller, 1633, sig. A3r), Heywood's dramatic canon is hardly well established. It is discussed in Bentley, IV, 553-86, and V, 1318-20, and most of his plays are printed in Dramatic Works (1874). Some of his non-dramatic works have not been reprinted since the seventeenth century. For the canon, see Arthur Melville Clark, ‘A Bibliography of Thomas Heywood’, Proceedings and Papers of the Oxford Bibliographical Society, I (1922-6), 97-153. For the possibility that the play The Seven Champions of Christendom may have been written by Heywood, see Paul Merchant, ‘Thomas Heywood's Hand in The Seven Champions of Christendom’, The Library, 5th Ser. 33 (1978), 226-30. That article includes a facsimile of a manuscript list of Heywood's plays inscribed by Ferdinando Marsham in a printed exemplum of The Iron Age (1632) now at Yale.

A poem on the death of Queen Elizabeth, probably by Thomas Dekker, is ascribed to Heywood in one manuscript copy (DkT 3), evidently because it was reprinted in his Life and Death of Queene Elizabeth (1639). Another poem on Queen Elizabeth, beginning ‘Chast Virgin, Royal Queen, Belov'd and fear'd’, is also ascribed to ‘Mr Thomas Haywood’ in one source (HyT 0.5) but probably with no greater authority.

Peter Beal