There are very few texts written from the viewpoint of the Catholics in Ireland in the 1640s; among these, A Tragedy of Cold's Furie, OR, Lirenda's Miserie (Kilkenny, 1646), a five-act verse tragedy or tragicomedy, is striking in being a specifically literary, as well as a political, work.
Almost nothing is known about Henry Burkhead, whose name appears in various forms and who has been mistakenly conflated with another similar-sounding writer. Anthony a Wood rather slightingly calls Burkhead ‘no Academian, only a Merchant of Bristol’, and Langbaine also notices Cola's Furie, repeating this description and saying the play was never performed. A search of the Bristol city archives has failed to discover any mention of him, which may indicate that he resided in Kilkenny and traded with Bristol; various forms of his surname do, however, occur there, and it seems to be an English, rather than an Irish or ‘Old English’ one. The authors of the three sets of fulsome commendatory verses printed with the play – William Smyth, Paul Aylward, and Daniel Breede – seem even more obscure than Burkhead himself; all that is clear biographically is Burkhead's strong support of the Catholic cause, inferred from the play itself. As for its printing, it is not known whether the Jesuit press which then existed in the city was used, or that run by the Supreme Council of the Catholic confederates; it is highly unusual in being a literary text amidst the political, religious and administrative documents, pamphlets and proclamations which make up the remainder of the output from Kilkenny.