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Thomas Randolph, was the son of William Randolph, of Hams, near Lewes, in Sussex, by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Thomas Smith, of Newnham, near Daventry, in Northamptonshire. He was born at Newnham, on the 15th of June, 1605, and educated as one of the King's Scholars of Westminster School, From thence he was chosen into Trinity College in Cambridge, in 1623, of which he became a Fellow, took his degree of Master of Arts, and afterwards received the same honour at the University of Oxford. He very early began to exercise his poetical talents, having, it is said, at the age of nine or ten years,' written The History of the Incarnation of our Saviour, in verse. As he grew up, the ingenuity of his poetical performances procured him the esteem of all who had any pretensions to wit, particularly of Ben Jonson, who adopted him for one of his sons.* His lively and agreeable conversation engaged him into too much company, and sometimes amongst none of the best or most peaceable persons; so that once, in a jovial and drunken meeting, a quarrel arising, he had the misfortune to lose the little finger of his left hand. On this accident he wrote a copy of verses, printed in his works.f The scantiness of his patrimony, or his own extravagance, soon brought him to poverty; and his irregular and too free mode of living, among his companions and admirers, in all probability shortened his life. After living some time with his father, at Little Houghton, in Northamptonshire, he went to the house of William Stafford, of Blatherwick, in the same county; where he died in March, 1634, aged not quite
• Among Randolph's poems is one called " A gratulatory to Mr. Ben Jonson, for his adopting of him to be his son." He has another entitled " An answer to Mr. Ben Jonson's ode, to persuade him to leave the stage ;" and a third, " An Eclogue to Mr. Jonson." C.
t He wrote two short pieces upon this " small subject." C.
30 years.* The 17th of the same month, he was buried in an aisle adjoining to Blatherwick church, among the Stafford family; and soon after Sir Christopher Hatton caused, at his own charge, a monument of white marble, wreathed about with laurel, to be erected over his grave; the inscription on which, in Latin and English verse, was made by the poet's friend, Peter Hausted of Cambridge, f He appears to have been a man of the greatest good humour, and a facetious companion ; his poems abound with wit, and, though generally jocose, he is upon many occasions sententiously grave and moral. Like many of his profession, he seems to have been free, generous, and totally regardless of the world. £
• There is perhaps some mistake as to the date of the birth of Randolph : if he were born in 1605, he was certainly " not quite thirty" when he died in 1634 ; but the portrait of him, which forms part of the engraved title page of the 12mo. edition of his works, has this inscription above it: Obiit Anno 1684, tetata sua 27. The modem biographers follow each other in representing that he was born in 1605, but they seem to have taken the point for granted. C.
t Hausted was the author of a play called The Rival Friends, printedin 1632, after a good deal of difficulty, for some offence it gave when acted before the King and Queen at Cambridge, 19th March, 1631. Hausted did not contribute any of the laudatory poems, which ushered the works of Randolph into the world when they were collected and printed by his brother, four years after the decease of their author. Aristippus, The Conceited Pedlar, and The Jealous Lovers, were printed before Randolph's death. The names of Ben Jonson and Randolph were afterwards not unfrequently coupled: thus R. Doddridge, in a poem before The Fatal, Union, by S. H. 1640, observes,
" Thus, friend, the bayes still flourish; Jonson dead, ** Randolph deceas'd, they fall to crown thy head." C $ In the Musa subsecivas of Dr. James Duport is an elegy " in obitum Thomaee Randolphi, M. A. Collegii Trinitatis Cantab. Socii. Poetai ingeniosissimiet qui seculi sui Ovidius dici meruerit."
8vo. 1676, p. 469. The following is from Wit's Recreations, 8vo. 1641, " To Mr. Thomas Randolph. " Thou darling of the Muses, for we may Be thought deserving, if what was thy play, Our utmost labours may produce, we will Freely allow thee heir unto the hill The Muses did assign thee, and think't fit Thy younger years should have the elder wit." O. G. He was the author of six dramatic pieces.
1. " Aristippus; or, The Jovial Philosopher; de" mon strati velie prooving that quartes, pintes, and " pottles, are sometimes necessary authours in a scho" lers library. Presented in a private shew."
4to. 1630. 4to. 1631. 4to. 1635.
2. " The Conceited Pedler." Printed at the end of every edition of Aristippus. From this piece Mr. Dodsley says, he took the hint of his dramatic performance, called The Toy-Shop.
3. " The Jealous Lovers, a comedie, presented to " their gracious Majesties at Cambridge, by the Stu" dents of Trinity College." 4to. 1632. 4to. 1634.
4. " The Muse's Looking-glasse." 4to. 1638.
5. " Amyntas; or, The Impossible Dowry. A Pas" torall, acted before the King and Queene, at White« Hall." 4to. 1638.
6. A pleasant comedie, entitled, " Hey for Honesty, " Down with Knavery. Translated out of Aristophanes " his Plutus, by Thomas Randolph ; augmented and " published by F. J." 4to. 1651.
All these pieces (except the last) have been several times published together with the author's poems. The 5th edition in 1668.
Rose I us, a player.
Mrs. Flowerdew, a haberdasher of small wares.
A Deform'd Fellow.
Justice Nimis, and Justice Nihil.