John Ford, 1586-ca.1640

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Biographical note

Dramatist, born probably at Ilsington, Devonshire, was admitted to the Middle Temple in 1602, and appears to have practised as a lawyer. His chief plays are The Lover’s Melancholy [1629], ’Tis Pity, The Broken Heart, and Love’s Sacrifice [1633], Perkin Warbeck [1634], The Lady’s Trial [1639], and Fancies Chaste and Noble [1638]. He also collaborated with Dekker and Rowley in The Witch of Edmonton [1624].

Ford has a high position as a dramatist, though rather for general intellectual power and austere beauty of thought than for strictly dramatic qualities. C. Lamb says, “Ford was of the first order of poets.” He had little humour; his plays, though the subjects are painful, and sometimes horrible, are full of pensive tenderness expressed in gently flowing verse. The date of his death is uncertain.

[From A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature by John W. Cousin, 1910]

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