May, Thomas

(1595-1650)
   Poet and historian, b. in Sussex, s. of Sir Thomas M., of Mayfield, went to Camb., and thence to Gray's Inn, but discarded law for literature. In 1622 he produced his first comedy, The Heir, and also a translation of Virgil's Georgics. Six years later, 1627, appeared his translation of Lucan, which gained him the favour of Charles I. at whose command he wrote two poems, The Reigne of King Henry II., and The Victorious Reigne of King Edward III., each in 7 books. When the Civil War broke out M., to the disappointment of his friends, took the side of the Parliament, and was made Sec. to the Long Parliament, the historian of which he became, pub. 1647, The History of the Parliament of England, which began Nov. 3, 1640. This work he prefaced with a short review of the preceding reigns from that of Elizabeth. The narrative closes with the Battle of Newbury, 1643, and is characterised by fulness of information and candour. M. was also the author of several tragedies, including Antigone, of no great merit.

Short biographical dictionary of English literature . . 2011.

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