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Of his social habits there, little can be told with certainty. There is sufficient, however, to show that he lived, if not familiarly, yet friendlily, with the dramatic writers of his day, and neither provoked nor felt personal enmities. He speaks, indeed, of opposition : but this is merely the language of the stage-opposition is experienced by every dramatic writer worth criticism, and has nothing in common with ordinary hostility. In truth, with the exception of an allusion to the “voluminous” and rancorous Prynne, nothing can be more general than his complaints. Yet Ford looked not much to the brighter side of Įife: he could, like Jaques, “suck melancholy out of a song as a weazle sucks eggs;" but he was unable, like this wonderful creation of our great poet, to extract mirth from it. When he touched a lighter string, the tones, though pleasingly modulated, were still sedate ; and it must, we think, be admitted that his poetry is rather that of a placid and serene than of a happy mind: he was, in truth, an amiable ascetic amidst a busy world.
No village anecdotes are told of him, as of his countryman Herrick, nor do any memorials of his private life remain. The troubles which followed, and the confusion which frequently took place in the parish registers in consequence of the intrusion of ministers little interested in local topics, have flung a veil of obscurity over much of the domestic history of that turbulent and disastrous period. In these troubles the retreat of the Fords is known to have largely shared ; and it is more than probable that the family suffered under the Usurpation. The neighbourhood was distinguished for its loyalty; and many of the fugitives who escaped from the field after the overthrow of Lord Wentworth, at Bovey-Tracy, by Cromwell, unfortunately for the village, took refuge in Ilsington Church, whither they were pursued and again driven to flight by the victorious army.
There is no appearance of Ford's being married at the period of his retirement from the Temple, as none of his Dedications or Addresses make the slightest allusion to any circumstance of a domestic nature; but there is—or rather was-an indistinct tradition among his neighbours, that he married and had children. A person of our poet's character and fortune could not, indeed, have had far to seek for a worthy partner, and with such a one it is pleasing to hope that he spent the residue of his blameless and honourable life.
A LIST OF FORD'S PLAYS.
1. Tue LOVER's MelANCHOLY, T. C. Acted at the Black
friars and the Globe, 24th November, 1628. Printed
1629. 2. AnnABELLA AND GIOVANNI, T. Printed 1633. Acted
at the Phønix. 3. THE WITCH OF EDMONTON, T. By Rowley, Dekkar,
Ford, &c. Printed 1658. Probably acted soon after
1622. Acted at the Cockpit, and at Court. 4. The Sun's DARLING, M. Acted in March, 1623-24, at
the Cockpit. Printed 1657. 5. The Broken Heart, T. Printed 1633. Acted at the
Blackfriars. 6. Love's SACRIFICE, T. Printed 1633. Acted at the Phoenix. 7. Perkin WARBECK, H. T. Printed 1634. Acted at the ...
Phønix. 8. The FANCIES, CHASTE AND NOBLE, C. Printed 1638.
Acted at the Phoenix. 9. The Lady's Trial, T. C. Acted at the Cockpit in May,
1638. Printed 1639. 10. BEAUTY IN A TRANCE, T. Entered on the Stationers'
books, September 9th, 1653, but not printed. Destroyed
by Mr. Warburton's servant. 11. The London MERCHANT, C. 12. The Royal COMBAT, C. Entered on the Stationer's
books June 29th, 1660, but 13. An Ill BEGINNING HAS A not printed. Destroyed by
Good End, C. Played at Mr. Warburton's servant.
the Cockpit, 1613. 14. The FAIRY Knight. Ford and Decker. 15. A LATE MURTHER OF THE SONNE UPON The Mother.
Ford and Webster. 16. The Bristowe Merchant. Ford and Decker.