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Edwards, Richard

EDWARDS, RICHARD (c. 1523-1566), English musician and playwright, was born in Somersetshire, became a scholar of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, in 1540, and took his M.A. degree in 1547. He was appointed in 1561 a gentleman of the chapel royal and master of the children, and entered Lincoln's Inn in 1564, where at Christmas in that year he produced a play which was acted by his choir boys. On the 3rd of September 1566 his play, Palamon and Arcite, was performed before Queen Elizabeth in the Hall of Christ Church, Oxford. Another play, Damon and Pithias, tragic in subject but with scenes of vulgar farce, entered at Stationers' Hall in 1567-8, appeared in 1571 and was reprinted in 1582; it may be found in Dodsley's Old Plays, vol. i., and Ancient British Drama, vol. i. It is written in rhymed lines of rude construction, varying in length and neglecting the caesura. A number of the author's shorter pieces are preserved in the Paradise of Dainty Devices, first published in 1575, and reprinted in the British Bibliographer, vol. iii.; the best known are the lines on May, the Amantium Irae, and the Commendation of Music, which has the honour of furnishing a stanza to Romeo and Juliet. The Historie of Damocles and Dionise is assigned to him in the 1578 edition of the Paradise. Sir John Hawkins credited him with the part song "In going to my lonely bed"; the words are certainly his, and probably the music. In his own day Edwards was highly esteemed. The fine poem, "The Soul's Knell," is supposed to have been written by him when dying.

See Grove's Dict. of Music (new edition); the Shakespeare Soc. Papers, vol. ii. art. vi.; Ward, English Dram. Literature, vol. i.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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