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James Shirley was born in London in September 1596.
His education was through a collection of England’s finest establishments: Merchant Taylors' School, London, St John's College, Oxford, and St Catharine's College, Cambridge, where he took his B.A. degree in approximately 1618.
He first published in 1618, a poem entitled Echo, or the Unfortunate Lovers.
As with many artists of this period full details of his life and career are not recorded.
He wrote his first play, Love Tricks, or the School of Complement, which was licensed on February 10th, 1625.
For the next two decades, he would write prolifically and with great quality, across a spectrum of thirty plays; through tragedies and comedies to tragicomedies as well as several books of poetry. Unfortunately, his talents were left to wither when Parliament passed the Puritan edict in 1642, forbidding all stage plays and closing the theatres.
His death, at age seventy, along with that of his wife, in 1666, is described as one of fright and exposure due to the Great Fire of London which had raged through parts of London from September 2nd to the 5th.
He was buried at St Giles in the Fields, in London, on October 29th, 1666.
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