UDALL, NICHOLAS, an English author; born in Hampshire, England, in 1505 or 1506; was educated at Oxford; chose the profession of a schoolmaster; and in 1534 passed M. A. and obtained the post of headmaster of Eton, which he held till 1541, when he was dismissed. He afterward resigned the vicarship of Braintree in Essex, which he had en joyed along with his mastership; but continued both to teach and preach, and in 1551 was admitted a prebendary of Windsor, and in 1554-1555 appointed headmaster of Westminster school. His comedy of "Ralph Roister Doister," which was probably written for the Eton boys, is a perfectly harmless piece, with a fair amount of vivacity in its execu tion and ingenuity in its plot, the hero being led into various awkward situa tions in the course of his suit to Dame Constance, partly by his own stupidity, and partly by the malicious suggestions of Mathew Merrygreek. The play is in
rhyme, and has 13 dramatis personae. Hallam notices that the choice of a city gallant for "hero" probably determined in some measure the prevalent subject of English comedy all through the Eliza bethan age. The exact date of its com position has not been determined; it is quoted in the 3d edition of Sir Thomas Wilson's "Rule of Reason" (1533). There is but one copy of his comedy in existence, having no title page; but it was probably printed in 1566. It is now in the library of Eton College. This is accepted as the first English comedy. Other productions of Udall's pen: "Flowers are for Latin Speakynge" (portions of Terence done into English, 1433), translations of parts of Eras mus' paraphrase of the New Testament, and of Peter Martyr's tract on the Eu charist, and a few Latin letters and poems. He died in Windsor in 1556.