Dramatist and poet; born in Oxford, England
, in 1605; son of an innkeeper, at whose house Shakespeare
often stopped while on his journeys between Stratford
, and who noticed the boy. Young Davenant
left college without a degree.
Shoving much literary talent, he was encouraged in writing plays by persons of distinction, and on the death of Ben Jonson
in 1637 he was made poet-laureate.
He adhered to the royal cause during the civil war in England
, and escaped to France
he became a Roman Catholic
After the death of his King
he projected (1651) a colony of French people in Virginia
, the only American province that adhered to royalty, and, with a vessel filled with French men, women, and children, he sailed for Virginia
The ship was captured by a parliamentary cruiser, and the passengers were landed in England
, where the life of Sir William was spared, it is believed, by the intervention of John Milton
, the poet, who was Cromwell
's Latin secretary.
Sir William had a strong personal resemblance to Shakespeare
, and it was currently believed that he was a natural son of the great dramatist.
This idea Sir William encouraged.
He died in April, 1668.