HEYWOOD, Joim (c. 1500-1565), sometimes styled "the Epigrammatist," was born, it is not known in what year, at North Mims near St Albans. He was educated at Oxford, and afterwards made the acquaintance of Sir Thomas More, who introduced him at court. His skill in music and his inexhaustible fund of ready wit made him a special favourite of Henry VIII., and afterwards of his daughter Mary. On the accession of Elizabeth, Heywood, who was a zealous Catholic, retired to Malines in Belgium, where he bdied in 1565. A collection of his works was published in 1562.
Ilis longest single composition is the allegorical work, written in the octave stanza, entitled The Spider and the Fly (1556), in which the flies are the Roman Catholics and the spiders the Protestants, while Queen Mary is represented by the housemaid with her broom (the sword), executing the commands of her master (Christ) and her mistress (the church). It has been justly characterized by Warton as dull, tedious, and trifling. Of greater literary interest are the Interludes (A Play between Johan the husband, Tyb the )Wife, and Sir Johan the Priest ; A merry Play between the Pardoner and the Friar, the Curate and Neighbour Prat • The play called the four Ps, a 14C2V and very merry Literl•ade of a Palmer, a Pardoner, a Potyeary, and a Pedlar; A Play of Genteelness and Nobility ; • A Play of Love; A Play of the Weather) which form a connecting link between the old moralities and the modern drama, and were extremely popular in their day. They generally represent some ludicrous incident of a homely kind in a style of the broadest farce, but in their way display considerable skill and talent. Other works of Heywood are a comic poem in long verse entitled A Dialogue containing in effect the number of all the Proverbs in the English tongue compact in a matter concerning two marriages ; and three collections of Epigrams.