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James Shirley 17th century War Poetry

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James Shirley 1596-1666





James Shirley's house was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666; He and his wife managed to escape the blaze but both died a few weeks later.

His life, even his date of birth, are disputed. In 'Ben Johnson and the Cavalier Poets' selected & edited by Hugh Maclean( 1974), , we are informed that Shirley was educated at the 'Merchant Taylors' School, studied at Saint John's College at Oxford in 1612, but soon transferred to Saint Catherine's Hall in Cambridge. James Shirley graduated in 1646 and was a minister in and then a headmaster of a Grammar School in St. Albans, converting to the Roman Catholic faith around 1623.

From 1625 -1636, Shirley wrote fifteen comedies, four tragedies, and two masques. He then spent four years in Dublin, with two further plays appearing. A number of his  plays were performed by Queen Henrietta's Men, and his 1634 play 'The Triumph of Peace' had a set designed by Indigo Jones. …