It is mainly, no doubt, but I hope not exclusively, an antiquarian interest which attaches to the name of Thomas Nash. It would be absurd to claim for a writer so obscure a very prominent place in the procession of Englishmen of letters. His works proclaim by their extreme rarity the fact that three centuries of readers have existed cheerfully and wholesomely without any acquaintance with their contents.
At the present moment, the number of those living persons who have actually perused the works of Nash may probably be counted on the fingers of two hands. Most of these productions are uncommon to excess, one or two exist in positively unique examples. There is no use in arguing against such a fact as this. If Nash had reached, or even approached, the highest order of merit, he would have been placed, long ere this, within the reach of all.
Nevertheless, his merits, relative if not positive, were great. In the violent coming of age of Elizabethan literature, his voice was heard loudly, not always discordantly, and with an accent eminently personal to himself.
About the Author
Thomas Nash (baptised 20 June 1593 – died 4 April 1647) was the first husband of William Shakespeare's granddaughter Elizabeth Barnard. He lived most of his life in Stratford-upon-Avon, and was the dominant male figure amongst Shakespeare's senior family line after the death of Dr. John Hall, Shakespeare's son-in-law, in 1635.
Nash was baptised at the parish church of the Holy Trinity in Stratford-upon-Avon and entered in the register as “Thomas filius Anthonij Nash generosi”, i.e. “Thomas, son of Anthony Nash gentleman”.
His mother's maiden name was Mary Baugh and she came from Twyning, near Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire. His father Anthony, a friend of Shakespeare and farmer of his tithes, was born in Old Stratford. Nash entered Lincoln's Inn, one of the four Inns of Court in London, on 15 May 1616 at the age of 13.
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