Thomas Goffe

Thomas Goffe (1591 – 1629) was a minor Jacobean dramatist. Goffe was a student at Christ Church, Oxford, where he earned his B.D. and M.A. degrees. During his student years he wrote three tragedies: "Orestes" (1617; published 1633), "The Courageous Turk, or Amurath I" (1618; 1632), and "The Raging Turk, or Bajazet II" (1618; 1631). All of his plays were published posthumously.

After university Goffe took holy orders and served as the rector of East Clandon in Surrey. In his "Account of the English Dramatick Poets" (1691), Gerard Langbaine, the first historian of English Renaissance theatre, stated that Goffe had married the widow of his predecessor in the East Clandon parish, and that she was a harridan (a "Xanthippe") who nagged Goffe to an early grave. Whether this anecdotal account has any value is open to question.

Goffe also composed non-dramatic poetry; he was often credited as the author of "The Careless Shepherdess" (1619; 1656) by previous generations of critics, though others have disputed the attribution.


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