Other Literary Forms
In his own time, John Heywood was best known for his published collections of epigrams, not for his plays, even though the dramas were printed earlier. His first published poetic work was A Dialogue of Proverbs (1546), a versified discussion of marriage incorporating more than twelve hundred proverbs. Heywood’s reputation was made by his several collections of original versified epigrams, six hundred in all, published beginning 1550 and collected in his Works in 1562; these quips and anecdotes, ranging from two to scores of lines apiece, are sometimes turgid, but they often shine with the wit for which Heywood was famous. He also wrote short occasional poems, songs and ballads, and a lengthy and obscure verse allegory, The Spider and the Fly (1556).