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A Short Biographical Sketch of RICHARD CRASHAW (1613? to 1649)

by John W. Cousin

CRASHAW, RICHARD (1613?-1649). —Poet, s. of William C., a Puritan divine, was b. in London, and ed. at Charterhouse and Camb., where he became a Fellow of Peterhouse, from which, however, he was, in 1643, ejected for refusing to take the Solemn League and Covenant. Thereafter he went to France, and joined the Roman communion. He suffered great straits, being almost reduced to starvation, but was, through the influence of Queen Henrietta Maria, appointed Sec. to Cardinal Palotta. About 1649 he went to Italy, and in the following year became a canon of the Church of Loretto. He d. the same year. C. is said to have been an eloquent preacher, and was a scholar as well as a poet of a high order in the ecstatic and transcendental style. His chief work is Steps to the Temple (1646), consisting mainly of religious poems somewhat in the style of Herbert; his Weeping of the Magdalen is full of the most extravagant conceits, a fondness for which is, indeed, his besetting sin as a poet. His friend Cowley commemorated him in a beautiful ode.