The Life of John Ford (1586-1640?)

      "John Ford ( 1586-1656?) was the second son of Thomas Ford, of Ilsington, in Devonshire, where the poet was baptized on April 17, 1586. It is believed that he matriculated, before he was fifteen, at Exeter College, Oxford, but his University life was very brief, and he was admitted to the Middle Temple in 1602. In 1606 he published two poems, entitled Fame's Memorial and Honor Triumphant.

It is probable that Ford early began to write for the stage, in collaboration with Dekker, Webster, and others of his seniors. Of his early essays in this kind we possess the masque of The Sun's Darling, and the chronicle of The Witch of Edmonton, in which Ford had some share. The first play, written wholly by Ford, which we now possess is The Lover's Melancholy (1629). In the prologue to 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, printed in 1633, the author speaks of this play as "the firstfruits of his leisure"; he printed The Broken Heart and Love's Sacrifice in the same year, and it is natural to suppose that some event had at this time enriched him, and by enabling him to desist from his labours had turned his attention to the preservation of his writings. His historical drama of Perkin Warbeck belongs to the next year, 1634, and Fancies Chaste and Noble to 1638.

His last play, The Lady's Trial, was published in 1639. It is believed that in that year Ford married, and retired to his paternal home, the manor-house at Ilsington, where he was born. He is said to have had children, and to have died in his Devonshire retreat towards the middle of the century."

To cite this article:

Gosse, Edmund, and Richard Garnett, eds. "John Ford."
English Literature: An Illustrated Record. Vol II, part II.
New York: The MacMillan Company, 1904. 358.

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