Beggars Bush: A Perambulation through the Disciplines of History, Geography, Archaeology, Literature, Philology, Natural History, Botany, Biography & Beggary

Francis Beaumont

Francis Beaumont (1584-1616) was the son of an eminent and wealthy judge. His family included recusants on both sides. He was born in Leicestershire, and educated at Oxford, before moving on to the Inns of Court in 1600. He became associated with Ben Jonson and the Mermaid theatre, although Jonson is reported to have said “Beaumont loved too much himself and his own verses”.

Although their first meeting cannot be dated Beaumont was writing with John Fletcher from about 1606, and from 1610 they were writing together for the King’s Men at the Globe. By then he had inherited the bulk of his father’s estate. Beaumont and Fletcher’s personal relationship seems to have been very close. John Aubrey describes not only the “wonderfull consimility of phansy . . . which caused that dearness of friendship between them”, but that they also shared a flat in Bankside near The Globe, one maidservant and even “the same cloaths and cloake, &c, between them”.

In 1613 he wrote a spectacular masque for the marriage of King James’s daughter to the Elector Palatine. In the same year Beaumont married, and also stopped writing, probably as a consequence of suffering a stroke from which he did not recover fully before his death in 1616. He was buried in Westminster Abbey in what is now known a Poet’s Corner, but more in recognition of his social status than his literary achievements.

Posted: May 15th, 2011 | Filed under: The Play | Tags: , | No Comments »

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