Other Literary Forms
The writings of Thomas Otway, apart from his plays, are of minor significance. His two most substantial poetic efforts were his first published poem, The Poet’s Complaint of His Muse (1680), and the posthumously published Windsor Castle (1685). The former poem, despite claims made for its autobiographical and political interest, is a disjointed effort that shifts from a seemingly personal apologia to an allegorized presentation of the Popish Plot and the Exclusion Crisis. Windsor Castle consists of a mélange of devices, drawn from elegy, topographical poetry, and Restoration advice-to-the-painter poetry, occasioned by the death of Charles II. The rest of Otway’s poetry is in typical Restoration modes: dramatic prologues and epilogues, translations (of Ovid and Horace), a commendatory poem (addressed to Thomas Creech on his translation of Lucretius), and a verse epistle (to Richard Duke). Published posthumously were his prose translations from the French, The History of the Triumvirates, in 1686, and a group of love letters, supposedly written by Otway to the actress Elizabeth Barry, in 1697.