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Richard Crashaw

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Richard Crashaw
Bornc. 1612–1613
London, England
Died(1649-08-21)21 August 1649 (age 36)
Loreto, March of Ancona, Papal States (now Italy)
Occupationpoet, teacher
Alma materCharterhouse School,
Pembroke College, Cambridge
Literary movementMetaphysical poets
Notable worksEpigrammaticum Sacrorum Liber (1634)
Steps to the Temple (1646)
Delights of the Muses (1648)
Carmen Deo Nostro (1652)

Richard Crashaw (c. 1613 – 21 August 1649), was an English poet, teacher, Anglican cleric and Catholic convert, who was among the major figures associated with the metaphysical poets in seventeenth-century English literature.

Crashaw was the son of a famous Anglican divine with Puritan beliefs who earned a reputation as a hard-hitting pamphleteer and polemicist against Catholicism. After his father's death, Crashaw was educated at Charterhouse School and Pembroke College, Cambridge. After taking a degree, Crashaw taught as a fellow at Peterhouse, Cambridge and began to publish religious poetry that expressed a distinct mystical nature and an ardent Christian faith.

Crashaw was ordained as a clergyman in the Church of England and in his theology and practice embraced the High Church ritual reforms enacted by Archbishop Laud. Rev. Crashaw's became infamous among English Puritans for his use of religious art to decorate his church, for his devotion to the Virgin Mary, for his use of Catholic vestments, and for many other reasons. During these years, however, the University of Cambridge was a hotbed for such practices and for Royalist politics. Adherents of both positions were violently persecuted by Puritan forces during and after the English Civil War (1642–1651).

When Puritan General Oliver Cromwell seized control of the city in 1643, Crashaw was ejected from his post and became a refugee in France and in the Papal States. He found employment as an attendant to Cardinal Giovanni Battista Maria Pallotta at Rome. While in exile he converted from Anglicanism to Catholicism. In April 1649, Cardinal Pallotta appointed Crashaw to a minor benefice as canon of the Shrine of the Holy House at Loreto where he died suddenly four months later.

Crashaw's poetry, although often categorised with those of the contemporary English metaphysical poets, exhibits similarities with the Baroque poets and influenced in part by the works of Italian and Spanish mystics. It draws parallels "between the physical beauties of nature and the spiritual significance of existence".[1] His work is said to be marked by a focus toward "love with the smaller graces of life and the profounder truths of religion, while he seems forever preoccupied with the secret architecture of things".[2]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ American Puritanism (III)


>> Lecturer: So today we're talking about Puritan poetry, which, at one point used to be regarded as if it were something of an oxymoron. How could the Puritans actually produce poetry since they seem to be hostile to imaginative literature of any kind? Puritan theologians used to warn that the senses were unreliable. It's that whole total depravity thing: if the world is totally depraved, then anything of the world is unreliable at best and damned to hell at worst. And that would include most uses of human language. You have to understand that -- the Puritan poet has a particular problem. And this is going to be true of all three of the ones we're going to look at today and I think especially true of Edward Taylor, which is this: How do you represent something divine when the tools that you have are human? How can you represent the incommensurability of the divine mind to the extent to which it is so different from the human mind when all that you have is human tools? Which again, are unreliable at best and may be worse; damned at worst. So that's one of the problems that the Puritan poet has is kind of technical problem. Figurative language the Puritans distrust. They distrust graven images of any kind. I mean, they are very much opposed to both the Catholic's and the Anglican's use of what they consider to be graven images, their emphasis on speaking eloquently at the pulpit as a way of appealing to their parishioners, the use of music and vestments in Anglican and Catholic rituals -- the Puritans are distrustful of all of this and then they don't do it. In fact in England, the Puritans become iconoclastic destroyers of religious imagery, especially during the Civil War. So they're really opposed to various kind of representation. And so Puritan doctrines were generally thought to have forbidden any kind of figurative language, except when you're using it for the purpose of religious instruction. So this would seem to be a formidable set of obstacles, you might say, to the production of anything that we might call "Puritan art" or "Puritan poetry." And there's an early statement in New England of what people have taken to be kind of principles of the Puritan use of language. And it comes from something that's called The Bay Psalm Book, which I'll show you in just a minute. But I want to show you where that fits in. So that's going to be 1640, The Bay Psalm Book. And this is roughly speaking, the chronology that we're working with over the last couple of times, right? The Bradstreet and Dudley families arrive with Winthrop in 1630. 1630 is also the time when Bradford is writing the History of Plymouth Plantation, their plantation having been there for ten years already. Hutchinson emigrates four years later. She's tried four years after that and banished the following year. 1648, that Cambridge Platform in which part of the problem that Hutchinson's Antinomian Controversy produces is a problem of: How do we know when people have been converted? This idea that conversion should be personal on the one hand, the way that Hutchinson would approve but also public. You need to make a public profession of your faith. So that's some of the stuff that we've been talking about. Bradstreet is writing poetry during these years, and she publishes her first volume there. And we'll talk a little bit more about how what we are thinking about the second half of Wigglesworth's Day of Doom is roughly contemporary with Paradise Lost and also just before the beginning of King Philip's War and the development of, you might say, the jeremiad by this time. And you might say that The Jeremiah develops in 1670, but in some sense the form is already being pioneered in not only sermons but even in a poem like the Day of Doom, which as we'll see has certain Jeremiahatic kinds of structures and sensibilities behind it. So this is roughly the chronology we're talking about. And what I'm trying to do in making this chronology is show you how the poetic productions that we'll be talking about today map onto the things that we've been talking about in the past week, that literature of settlement and then Winthrop's "Puritan City on a Hill" and Rowlandson. So you might say this week is poetry for today and then prose is what we're mapping it onto. And this will be on the post lecture notes. Now the Bay Psalm Book was a translation of psalms done in Massachusetts Bay. Its full title was The Whole Book of Psalms Faithfully Translated Into English Metre. And it's that "faithfully" that is the important term there. They had inherited -- they had brought with them -- a version of the psalms that had been used in the Anglican Church. And various clergy in New England began to think of that as overly poetic, too figurative, not literal enough. And in fact, the preface is written by John Cotton, who is a very conservative minister who had ties to Hutchinson originally and was one of the more conserve ministers in New England at the time. And his point of departure, the preface that he writes, is almost a little sermon I suppose. It certainly takes as a point of departure a particular text from the Bible, and that text is this one in Exodus 20: "The lord says an altar of earth thou shalt make unto me. And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it" -- just the stone, don't chisel it, leave it alone, that's enough. And this was taken metaphorically when Cotton does his introduction to the kind of gloss of this. It's the idea that all you need is the Bible faithfully rendered. You don't have to make it more fanciful or figurative or easier to read. In that sense, there's a way in which you're polluting it. So this is what Cotton says: "Never let any think that for the metre's sake we have taken liberty or poetical license to depart from the true and proper sense of David's words in the Hebrew verses. No. But it has been one part of our religious care and faithful endeavor to keep close to the original text." Now when you're looking at something like this from the self-conscious point of view that I've been encouraging, you might want to look at first of all, what assumptions lie beneath a piece of text like this and then also what kinds of relations it sets up? What's good? What's bad? Of what does it disapprove? Of what does it approve? If you go back to the piece that we had you read from Stephen Greeblatt, that idea of culture, he talks about poems of praise and blame. And he says when you're looking at these kind of extreme forms of poetry -- poems of praise and blame -- you can quite clearly see how certain ideological points of view work their way in. The poet is trying to praise someone; you can see a certain of ideological assumptions at play. Blame -- the same thing. It's easier to see. Then he says, "look for those structures in everything that you read." So what is being praised and what is being blamed here just in this little snippet of text? Anybody? The meanings aren't hidden. They're just kind of right there. What's being praised? Yeah? >> Ordinariness. >> Lecturer: Okay. Ordinariness. What word would you use to say "ordinariness"? What? >> Unembellished. >> Lecturer: Okay, good. Unembellished. Where is "unembellished"? No, that word works from this. Like if you say, "Okay fine, the concept is ordinariness, so we need to pull our data from the actual text." What word suggests ordinariness? >> Not taking poetical [inaudible]. >> Lecturer: Okay, so ordinariness suggests "not for the meter's sake have we taken liberty or poetical license." So what's being praised and what's being blamed? Ordinary is being praised; what's being blamed? Yeah? >> Poetical license. >> Lecturer: Yeah, sure, poetical license. And not only poetical license, it's "or poetical license" but liberty. We haven't taken liberties with the text. Just think about that phrase: "take liberties with the text." Somehow that's departing from what is ordinary. It's set up, you might say, against the idea of being faithful. If you're faithful to something, you don't take liberties with it. And yet, "liberty" means what? I mean, liberty means freedom. So there's a certain sense in which there is kind of a constraint, a self-imposed constraint that's being built into this. And you might say that's part of Puritan ideology. Puritan ideology is about imposing constraints on yourself because you believe that that's the way that you should follow God's will. He goes on, "if therefore the verses are not always so smooth and elegant as some may desire or expect, let them consider that God's altar needs not our polishings." That's Exodus 20 that I showed you. This is how glosses it: "God's altar needs not our polishings." So we have respected rather a plain translation -- and see, that would be for your ordinary point. So you're going to say he's talking about the importance of ordinary language, plain translation. Remember I told you when we were talking about Bradford that Bradford and other Puritans were thought to have written in a plain style. When I suggested to you that's kind of a misreading of what they're doing. In a certain way, the diction may be plain enough, but it's built -- as I hoped you saw -- on a whole set of ideological assumptions and a symbolic structure about the old world versus the new world; the Old Testament versus the New Testament; who is the chosen people, who isn't the chosen people. And Bradford's ninth chapter is that strange little performance when he stops, addresses himself to some reader, brings in the Indians, breaks chronology, compares himself to the apostles, right? It's a very complicated piece of rhetoric -- not plain at all. And yet, critics who believe that it was plain back in the day used to take their cue from this: "We respected rather a plain translation than to smooth our verses with the sweetness of any paraphrase and so have attended conscience rather than elegance." Fidelity rather than poetry, right? That's why I'm suggesting to you that Puritan poetry was often regarded as if it were an oxymoron. It would seem that this whole idea of faithfulness is in direct opposition to some category that we would label "poetry." So we want not poetry, which somehow seems to be false, fictitious. Fidelity, in translating the Hebrew words into English language and David's poetry into English meter. I mean, there's a kind of weird slippage here, right? I mean, that portion of the Bible is poetry -- the Psalms -- and yet the Puritans are suspicious of poetry. And yet there's poetry in the Bible. What are we going to do about that? Well, we'll make it yucky to read. That will make it better or truer. "That so we may sing in Sion the Lord's song of praise according to his own will until he take us from hence and wipe away all our tears and bid us enter into our master's joy to sing eternal halleluiahs." Amen, right? That sounds like a sermon, and yet it's an introduction to this book of the Bible. So one of the things we need to see is that this, in a certain sense, is the horizon of expectations against which poets like Wigglesworth, Bradstreet, and Taylor are writing. This is what their audience is expecting to read: poetry as almost a kind of necessary evil that's tolerable only when it's in the service of religious instruction. So when people nowadays say that Anne Bradstreet is interesting to us it's precisely because they're interested in the way that she is in some sense rebelling against this. They portray her as a kind of cultural rebel, who is rebelling not only against the formal strictures against smooth verses and sweetness and poetry and paraphrase, but also against the very narrow role that the Puritans construct for women. Likewise, Edward Taylor is portrayed as somebody who isn't part of mainstream Puritan culture. He's living for the most part out in the sticks. And he's engaged in sort of theological disputes, but they're mostly in his head and through his writing. And he in some sense is kind of an outlier from mainstream Puritan society. There's a sense in which Taylor kind of knew that he was doing something that might not be regarded as strictly speaking "doctrinaire," therefore he never published his poetry. It remained unpublished -- almost lost, actually, although he carefully preserved it. It's like he carefully preserved it in these bound volumes that he handed down to his family. I think they were eventually discovered in an attic someplace and given to the Yale Library in 1920. So Taylor was not well-known in literary circles until the 20th century. So there's a sense in which you might say the conditions -- the context -- in which these two poets, especially Bradstreet and Taylor lived had everything to do according to this train of scholarly thinking with the fact that they could produce the poetry they did. Bradstreet had a more liberal father and husband who believed that women should be educated. Back in England, she was able to read truly English poetic tradition with her father. She was relatively well-to-do. She had servants. She didn't have to spend all of her time raising the children and doing housekeeping. And Taylor, off in the sticks, able to pursue a kind of quiet life of contemplation. He also was able to write these poems. And there's a sense in which, from the standpoint of what we're thinking about today, we're going to use Michael Wigglesworth as kind of the control group for us. So you might say that the kind of poetry we would expect to be produced -- if this is what our idea of poetry is, Cotton strictures about poetry -- if that's going to be the plan for producing poetry, probably is going to look something like Wigglesworth. And then we'll look at the other two as potentially departures. And again, I wanted to stress to you the idea of the jeremiad. By the time Danforth gives his sermon, "Errant Into the Wilderness" in 1670, the jeremiad has already a kind of settled sermonic form. But the logic behind the jeremiad has been there from the beginning: "We are the chosen people. We did something wrong, just as Adam did something wrong. Adam has to pay for that, he has to be tested. We often will have to be tested. In the end, because God is merciful, he redeems Adam's progenies through the agency of Christ. In the end, he will redeem us. We're certain of that. So no matter how bad things are, if we just abide by the straight and go back to the original zeal of the founders, that will be a sign if we have inclination to do this, it will be a sign that somehow God is still paying attention to us." Remember that moment from Rowlandson. The worst thing that she can imagine is not that she should go to hell; it's that God doesn't care about her, that he's just forgotten about her. So there's a sense within the jeremiad that even if you're listening time after time to the preacher, telling you about how sinful you are and the garden of the new world has become overgrown with weeds, it's a howling wilderness again, nevertheless it convinces us that all of this punishment has taken place precisely because God is disappointed, precisely because he cares. Because God has chosen the Puritans to be the chosen people. That structure goes along with Wigglesworth as well. And it's interesting to note again that Wigglesworth is 1662. John Milton's great poem Paradise Lost -- how many of you have read Paradise Lost in the context of some course here? Okay. So you know a little bit about Paradise Lost. 1667 -- roughly the same topic: paradise lost and then regained is basically the thing that both of them are interested in. But Milton looks a little bit different, you would say, from Wigglesworth. Let's take a look at Wigglesworth. This is on page -- let's take a look at the beginning of Wigglesworth on page -- sorry, I've lost my page. Let's just go to the very beginning, 218. Could somebody read the first stanza for me of Wigglesworth? Yes? Go ahead, loudly and with conviction. >> "Still was the night, Serene and Bright, when all Men sleeping lay; Calm was the season, and carnal reason thought so 'twould last for ay. Soul, take thine ease, let sorrow cease, much good thou hast in store: This was their Song, their Cups among, the Evening before." >> Lecturer: Okay, good. Interestingly, you didn't read the stuff in the margin. It's an interesting question about what relation the stuff in the margin has to the stuff that you just read. Most people would not bother with the stuff in the margin. All right, now read that, please. >> "Of Man's first disobedience, and the fruit Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste Brought death into the World, and all our woe, With loss of Eden, till one greater Man Restore us, and regain the blissful seat, Sing, Heavenly Muse, that, on the secret top Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire That shepherd who first taught the chosen seed In the beginning how the heavens and earth Rose out of Chaos: or, if Sion hill Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flowed Fast by the oracle of God, I thence Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song, That with no middle flight intends to soar Above th' Aonian mount, while it pursues Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme." >> Lecturer: Thank you. [ Applause ] Come on, give him a hand. [ Applause ] They're a little bit different, right? Okay, so let's comment a little bit. Let's start with this one because in a funny way, this is more familiar to us as a piece of great lit that we study in survey courses. What do we notice about it or what have you been told about it? This is just the first few lines of Book One from Milton. But as I said -- and it begins with all kinds of prose prefaces and stuff -- but when you look at this, there are certain grounds rules that Milton is immediately establishing, certain things he's invoking, certain styles he's invoking. So if we were going to look at this as a piece of text, we would start to catalog our data. Nothing is too insignificant to be written down in our catalog because we may not use it or we may use it. So something we notice about this? Anything? Yes? >> It has a lot more details. >> Lecturer: Okay, that's good. It has a lot more details. We don't even need to think about it in terms of Wigglesworth right now. So there are details. Would you point to any particular details that seem interesting to you? >> [ Inaudible ] >> Lecturer: Okay, so one kind of detail is particular proper names, places in the Bible, right? That good? What about this phrase, just above the one you pointed to? "Sing heavenly muse." Anybody do anything with that? Yeah? >> [ Inaudible ] >> Lecturer: Okay. It belongs not to the same tradition you might say as Oreb or Sinai, but the tradition of Greek. Greek what? Anybody? >> Greek epic. >> Lecturer: Greek epic, yes. You were going to say? >> I was going to say there's no rhyme scheme. >> Lecturer: Okay, so it was written in -- what does it mean when there's no blank [laughter]. All right, there you go. What does it mean when it's not written in rhyme? >> Blank. >> Lecturer: Okay, but what metre is it generally in if it's "blank verse"? >> Iambic. >> Lecturer: Yeah, so it's pretty much iambic pentameter. I'm trying to find a good line. "Brought death into the world and all are woe." Five feet. That's the standard English metre -- metre in English for poetry -- iambic pentameter. When you don't write in iambic pentameter, you're usually doing something for effect. So this is written in iambic pentameter. Since it's unrhymed, we call it "blank verse." Very good. So we've got unrhymed iambic pentameter. It doesn't look like it's in stanzas. We've got proper names drawn from the Biblical tradition, also a kind of invocation of Greek epic. The very beginning of epic is "sing." The beginning of Virgil's Aeneid: "I sing of arms of a man," "arma virumque cano." So he's invoking that whole tradition. And there are even uses of words like "chaos" that might be compatible with Greek epic, even though one of the things we would say is he's revising that tradition. It's a heavenly muse that's going to be linked directly to the Christian conception of God. Anything else we want to note here? How about the lines? Anything to note about the lines? Where they begin and end maybe? >> They're enjambed? >> Lecturer: Oh, very good. They are enjambed, yes. So that means what? >> It's not the end of the sentence at the end of the line [inaudible] next line. >> Lecturer: Good. So you would say that if a line is strongly end-stop, you would say the grammatical sense of it would end at the end of the line. So you would have a comma there, the cause would be complete, or something not this. "Of man's first disobedience and the fruit," and to find out the fruit of what, we have to continue on, "of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste brought death into the world and all our woe." Stop there. So part of what your job is going to be, like if enjambment were going to be one of the things you're going to be looking for on your scavenger hunt, you'd say, "Okay, that's enjambment," you'd give us an example of it, and then you'd say what the effect is. So you try to think about what the effect of this is. And it could be any number of things that you might think about it. You might say that he kind of puts you on the hook here and he asks you to keep of this, all the more to emphasize this: "our woe." That's where you get the stop. Anyway, anything else to notice about this? Okay, so when you have an enjambment like this, you usually have something else emphasized in the middle of a line. What would that be called? >> Caesura. >> Lecturer: Caesura, right? Almost every line has a kind of natural caesura in it. It's not the same as in Latin where there always is a caesura. But generally speaking, if you find an enjambment, you're going to find a caesura beforehand. So then you think about how those two work together -- what does the caesura emphasize? "A man's first disobedience" -- boom -- "and the fruit of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste brought death into the world and all our woe." No caesura there. So again, you would think about: What do think effects are? And it's going to be interpretive, right? You're trying to think about, "If this were a passage," you'd say, "well, what is the overall effect?" The last thing the poet says here in this passage is "it pursues things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme." Well, is that true? What's going to be unattempted? Is this a standard kind of style? Or is he using a kind of standard style, but within the constraints that are imposed by blank verse? Is he doing interesting things with the enjambments or caesura? Or is it maybe the project of Christian epic? Maybe that's what's not been attempted. So these are some of the things you'd want to -- and if that's what it is, how does the diction, the words that he's chosen and the ways in which he's put them down -- the syntax -- how do they help him right away to signal that something new under the sun is coming in this prose or rhyme? Just a little snippet of Paradise Lost. It's one way to go about telling this in 10 and 12 books of epic -- big. As opposed to this. I should probably have put it up here, but take a look at it again. Still was the night, Serene and Bright, when all Men sleeping lay; Calm was the season, and carnal reason thought so 'twould last for ay. Soul, take thine ease, let sorrow cease, much good thou hast in store: This was their Song, their Cups among, the Evening before." Okay. Look at that. Look at that. Now let's talk about the differences. What do we see in Wigglesworth's poem? Yes. >> There's little need for interpretation or there's no possible [inaudible] beside the One. He's telling you exactly what you need to know. >> Lecturer: So you would say interpretation by us? >> Yes. >> Lecturer: So it's much clearer than this perhaps? I mean, it seems to be more -- now why would you say that? Just the words? >> Yeah, it's hard to think that without comparing it to Milton, but -- >> Lecturer: Well, if you compare to Milton you do see some of the things we noticed, some of those details, are not there. There are no proper names invoked. There's no epic tradition being invoked. The there's no proper nouns at all, actually. So that's one thing you might say. But in terms of fixing interpretation, if you're the reader, what is it also helping to fix interpretation? Yeah? >> The singsong nature of it is very easy to -- like in the introduction, they talked about how since it was written in this sort of rhyming style, [inaudible] people to [inaudible]. >> Lecturer: Okay. So it has -- as opposed to this, which is kind of dense blank verse -- it has a rhyming style: "Wallowing in all kind of sin, vile wretches lay secure: The best of men had scarcely then their Lamps kept in good ure. Virgins unwise, who through disguise amongst the best were number'd, Had clos'd their eyes; yea, and the wise through sloth and frailty slumber'd." Well, when you put it that way, right? Okay, and in the introduction, I think they talk about it's supposed to be an aid to memorization if you keep it in a kind of simple way. Okay, so what is that telling us then? Let's do a little bit more with that. First let's talk about the rhyming scheme. What is the rhyming scheme? Look at the first couple, three verses. >> ABA [ Inaudible ] . >> Lecturer: "Like as of old, when Men grow bold Gods' threatnings to contemn, Who stopt their Ear, and would not hear, when Mercy warned them." AB -- where is the A and where is the B? Look at verse three, "Like as of old, when Men grow bold Gods' threatnings to contemn, Who stopt their Ear, and would not hear, when Mercy warned them." Yeah? >> AABB. >> Lecturer: Okay. And the AA is typically when we say we're talking about the lines, right? But in fact, there's an internal rhyme here. So it's AA in the first line, and then a B, then CC, and then the B. So it's A1, A2, maybe B; then C1, C2; and then the B again. And then the second half the stanza works the same. Okay, that's good. Seems fairly regular. He does it most of the time. So the internal rhyme aids helps with the singsong nature of it. What else helps with the singsong nature of it? How long are these lines? [ Pause ] >> Lecturer: Anybody? >> Iambic tetrameter. >> Lecturer: What's that? >> Iambic tetrameter. >> Lecturer: Iambic tetrameter, which means how many feet? >> Four feet. >> Lecturer: Four feet. Show me. Pick any one. >> "Like as of old, when Men grow bold." >> Lecturer: Okay, "Like as of old, when Men grow bold." That's iambic tetrameter. Next line? >> "Gods' threatnings to contemn." So it's trimester. >> Lecturer: Right. Good. So it's tetrameter: four iambic feet. Trimeter: three iambic feet. Eight beats in the first line, six beats in the second line -- these are called "fourteeners" because they are fourteen beats between each one. It's a kind of ballad and exactly does that. It has that kind of singsong sort of pace. The shortened line makes it easier to remember, but also when you're trying to account for it -- so it has a kind of singsong quality, or it seems plain, or it seems simpler than that, right? Each line is shorter. Plus you combine that with the rhymes. That's how he creates that particular effect. So that's one thing to notice about this. You might say it gives at least the illusion of plainness and simplicity, although I think you would say that if you're actually trying to write these damn things, you have to work on it to get that internal rhyme to work all the time. You've got a lot of stuff going on there, actually. Anything else about fixing interpretation? Yeah? >> [ Inaudible ] >> Lecturer: Okay, good. So each one of these verses you might say is then presented to us as a kind of gloss on something in the Bible or a dramatization of it. So each verse here -- or each stanza -- doesn't have to rely on its own authority; it relies on the authority of something else. We might call the stuff that's in the margin a "paratext," a text that sits side by side. So one of the things to say about this is this poem is clearly intertextual in a similar way to the way that something like Bradford or something like Winthrop is intertextual. It refers you back to some other text, without which the meaning of this wouldn't make sense. That other text completes the meaning of this poem and not the other way around, actually. And that other text is the Bible. So that's one of the things just to bear in mind about how this works. It's thought to have been something that was written primarily for instruction for children. And if you look at it, it follows that kind of jeremiadic structure, right? All of a sudden -- boom -- the day of doom is going to come and there's going to be a whole lot of suffering and stuff going on. And if you look -- I think this is not even the whole poem. They have nicely excerpted it for you. But if you look at the very end. So this is page 233, verse 218. "Thus shall they ly, and wail, and cry, tormented, and tormenting Their galled hearts with pois'ned darts but now too late repenting. There let them dwell i'the' Flames of Hell; there leave we them to burn, And back agen unto the men who Christ acquits, return." And then we get one, two, three, four, five, six verses about how nice it is for those men who are acquitted. The last couple of verses. "For God above in arms of love doth dearly them embrace, And fills their sprights with such delights, and pleasures in his grace; As shall not fail, nor yet grow stale through frequency of use: Nor do they fear Gods favour there, to forfeit by abuse." That's all doctrine. "Nor do they fear Gods favour there to forfeit by abuse." What is it? >> No good works can -- >> Lecturer: Not exactly. I think that's in here some place. It's pretty much all those principles are in here someplace, but that particular one -- "Nor do they fear Gods favour there to forfeit by abuse." You can't forfeit God's favor by abuse there because -- >> [ Inaudible ] >> Lecturer: Right. Perseverance of the saints, right? When you got it, you got it, blah, blah, blah. It doesn't mean you're supposed to go abusing it up there. Of course, you're a saint, you wouldn't want to, right? "For there the Saints are perfect Saints, and holy ones indeed, From all the sin that dwelt within their mortal bodies freed: Made Kings and Priests to God through Christs dear loves transcendency, There to remain, and there to reign with him Eternally." How many verses? One, two, three, four, five, six, seven verses about how nice it is in heaven. And really it's not -- it's kind of six and two lines. And 217 and three quarters verses devoted to hellfire and damnation. That's what people remember about The Day of Doom, right? It's all these vivid images of hell. Take a look for example -- let's pick one. I don't know. Oh, I don't know how about 17? This is on page 222. "Before his Throne a Trump is blown, Proclaiming th' Day of Doom: Forthwith he cries, Ye Dead arise, and unto Judgment come. No sooner said, but 'tis obey'd; Sepulchers open'd are: Dead Bodies all rise at his call, and's mighty power declare." It's kind of like a zombie thing, right? Cool. Or I don't know, let's take a little -- oh, this is even better, especially when you about the audience for this being children. How about on page 231, 199? Or go back to 198 about husbands and wives and then children. "He that was erst a Husband pierc't with sense of Wives distress, Whose tender heart did bear a part of all her grievances, Shall mourn no more as heretofore because of her ill plight; Although he see her now to be a damn'd forsaken wight. The tender Mother will own no other of all her numerous brood, But such as stand at Christ's right hand acquitted through his Blood. The pious Father had now much rather his graceless Son should ly In Hell with Devils, for all his evils burning eternally, Then God most high should injury, by sparing him sustain; -- you'll see there's an enjambment across stanzas there, right? "And doth rejoyce to hear Christ's voice adjudging him to pain; Who having all, both great and small, convinc'd and silenced, Did then proceed their Doom to read, and thus it uttered:" And then all stuff that he's going to say. What did they just say? "We'd rather send our children to hell and we're happy about it rather than they should be up there sullying God's grace if they are not redeemed." Every now and then, I feel like doing the same thing to my kids. But most of the time, that would be painful. Your kids. I mean, how unregenerate can they be? Well, I don't know. I guess if they haven't been converted yet and the Day of Doom comes along and -- oopsy daisy -- just didn't make it in time. Or maybe they were never meant to make it in time. Maybe we throw them into the flaming lake. So you might see that one of the things that this does if you're a child is it kind of puts the fear of God into you quite literally. I often like it to a movie, I don't know. Has anybody ever seen Brian De Palma's Scarface or anything like Brian De Palma's Scarface? I mean, we have two and some hours of unmitigated violence of all kinds, including cutting arms off with power saw. And then at the end, of course, he's a drug dealer and a bad guy and comes to no good, and he gets killed. And you can say at the end, "Look violence doesn't pay, being a bad guy doesn't pay. Everybody gets their comeuppance at the end." Official that's the moral of the story, except that you've been watching it for two hours and probably if you're a certain kind -- let's just say that when this first came out, certain friends of mine were quite taken with this movie, saw it several times, and started spending all their time talking like Tony Montana, Al Pacino's drug dealing Cuban -- "Hey man, don't fuck with me, man. Come on, man. I'll fucking fuck you up." [ Laughter ] And so you're enjoying that for two hours and then you get to say, "Oh, but of course he was a bad guy and he gets what he deserves at the end." See what I'm saying? There's a certain way in way that moral somehow seems perhaps a little insufficient, given what you've witnessed. I would say that's same thing here: 217 plus verses devoted to hellfire and damnation, and six and change to devoted to why God's grace. Of course, you have sort of doctrinaire ending and yet for the most part, the way the poem works is to put exactly that kind of fear of hellfire and damnation into you. So there's a sense in which Wigglesworth has his cake and eat it, too, just as De Palma does in that movie or any movie that's kind of like that where the bad guys get their own in the end, and yet we've been kind of following -- with probably more interest than we should -- their careers during the course of it. And I think that's one of the things to understand about the jeremiadic structure. I mean, there's a sense in which you might say it can backfire. There are problems with this. And this will come up next time when Jonathan Edwards, who is paradoxically remembered most perhaps today for one sermon that he preached, called "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" that uses this strategy. For the most part, he's very suspicious of this strategy. He doesn't want people to be scared into obedience; he wants you to embrace obedience. He wants you, you might say, to really take to heart those last six verses and not be so swayed by the first 217 or so. And I think that's also true of Edward Taylor the poet. One of the things that Taylor does when he's thinking about regeneration and the act of receiving grace is he fundamentally is more interested in grace itself than he is in hellfire and damnation. There's a funny way in which Wigglesworth's poem has more of a kind of tragic sensibility about it. And there's a fundamentally comic sensibility that animates Taylor as we'll see. All right. Other questions about this? I hope you've seen just some of the ways in which this poem works. It has certain tricks that it uses, and among these tricks are some that have to do with the actual words that he choses, the way the rhyme schemes are set up, and then just the larger structure of the poem, which again, we might say follows this kind of jeremiadic structure: blame, blame, blame, blame, saved. Okay. Any questions about that? All right. With Bradstreet we get something really different. I mean, there's a certain way in Bradstreet is a little bit more like Milton in terms of the ways in which she makes use of more traditional verse forms. And this is a nice stain glass window representation. I don't know the year of this. I have to find out. In England. We'll keep that up for a little bit. So one of the things again we would say and Bradstreet is that she's different. She comes from a very prominent family. She, again, is part of Winthrop's group in 1630. And there's a sense in which she, even as she's writing, there's a kind of loosening up of strictures about poetry. So she comes knowing the English tradition, in part through her father who maintained a large library in England. And by 1650, which is about ten years after The Bay Psalm Book and the year that her first collection of poems is published, there's already a kind of shift evident in Puritan attitudes towards writing. Increasingly Puritan writers felt licensed, you might say, to use what we might think of as worldly or even sensual imagery so long as it was in the service of religious purposes. So there was another translation of The Bay Psalm Book. It was revised again, this time it was 1651 by President Henry Dunster of Harvard and by Richard Lyon, who was a minister. And they claim to have had a special eye for the sweetness of the verse, so what goes around comes around. We're back to thinking again about the needs of think about capturing the sweetness of the verse of David's poetry. And in fact, Cotton Mather later said that it was thought that a little more art was to be employed upon the verses than in the previous translation of The Bay Psalm Book. So this book was published in London in that year in 1650 and it remained the first still existing book of poetry -- and we think still the first one to be published by inhabitants of the Americas. And Bradstreet was born in England, precisely in here in Lancashire and she was educated by her father who was the steward to an earl, the Earl of Lincoln. Her father was a devout Puritan, but he didn't seem to see any contradiction between having strong religious convictions and also advocating that women like his daughter should be educated. And again, that was a kind of more liberal perspective among of Puritans. So she marries her father's assistant, Simon Bradstreet, and they both immigrate to America. She is shocked by how difficult it is to immigrate to America. I was kind of making fun of Reagan's turning Winthrop into a rugged individualist and saying "little wooden bow and early freedom man." But it is true that they went through very difficult conditions. In fact, Bradstreet has a diary, some of which still remains. And she writes in the diary about missing some of the comforts of England and how she resisted the kind of new customs and manners of America. But eventually the two families -- the Bradstreets and the Dudleys -- do become very successful and they settle down in Andover. She has, let's see, eight children between 1633 and 1652, and I think some miscarriages in there as well. And she's responsible for educating them, for running the household, but she is wealthy enough to afford servants. So she's able to do this writing. First kid is 1633, first known poem that she composes is about 1632 when she's 19. And in 1645, she collects her poetry in a private, informal volume that she dedicates to her father. And her early poetry is less interesting to us. It's generally more formulaic, more dutiful, more along those kind of didactic lines that are prescribed by something like the preface to The Bay Psalm Book. But eventually she starts writing about other themes. And finally, her brother-in-law takes her poems without her permission, brings them to England, and they're brought out in 1650 without her knowledge, although they are very well-received when they come out there. So one of the things we might think about, then, is what it means to be someone in this position, to be Bradstreet, to be writing poems and then later on to find out that they've been published. Let's take a look at the very beginning of the Bradstreet section. I think it's page 188. Look at the prologue. And again, just might help us for a minute. [ Pause ] >> Lecturer: It's a little bit long. It's actually -- I think it makes sense to read the whole thing out loud. Will somebody be brave and read the whole thing out loud? [ Pause ] >> Lecturer: No one brave here? Okay. The whole thing. >> The whole prologue? >> Lecturer: The whole prologue, all eight stanzas -- loudly and with feeling. Ready? Go. >> To sing of Wars, of Captains, and of Kings, Of Cities founded, Common-wealths begun, For my mean Pen are too superior things; Or how they all, or each their dates have run, Let Poets and Historians set these forth. My obscure lines shall not so dim their worth. But when my wond'ring eyes and envious heart Great Bartas' sugar'd lines do but read o'er, Fool, I do grudge the Muses did not part, 'Twixt him and me that over-fluent store. A Bartas can do what a Bartas will But simple I according to my skill. From School-boy's tongue no Rhet'ric we expect, Nor yet a sweet Consort from broken strings, Nor perfect beauty where's a main defect. My foolish, broken, blemished Muse so sings, And this to mend, alas, no Art is able, 'Cause Nature made it so irreparable. Nor can I, like that fluent sweet-tongued Greek Who lisp'd at first, in future times speak plain. By Art he gladly found what he did seek, A full requital of his striving pain. Art can do much, but this maxim's most sure: A weak or wounded brain admits no cure. I am obnoxious to each carping tongue Who says my hand a needle better fits. A Poet's Pen all scorn I should thus wrong, For such despite they cast on female wits. If what I do prove well, it won't advance, They'll say it's stol'n, or else it was by chance. But sure the antique Greeks were far more mild, Else of our Sex, why feigned they those nine And poesy made Calliope's own child? So 'mongst the rest they placed the Arts divine, But this weak knot they will full soon untie. The Greeks did nought but play the fools and lie. Let Greeks be Greeks, and Women what they are. Men have precedency and still excel; It is but vain unjustly to wage war. Men can do best, and Women know it well. Preeminence in all and each is yours; Yet grant some small acknowledgement of ours. And oh ye high flown quills that soar the skies, And ever with your prey still catch your praise, If e'er you deign these lowly lines your eyes, Give thyme or Parsley wreath, I ask no Bays. This mean and unrefined ore of mine Will make your glist'ring gold but more to shine. >> Lecturer: Thank you. [ Applause ] That was very good. All righty. What do we notice about it? Yes? >> Well, the first thing you notice is [inaudible]. >> Lecturer: Okay. Excellent. First stanza -- Greeks, muses, and even into the later stanzas. How is she talking about it? Yeah? >> In terms of art and in terms of the way they created art and found [inaudible]. >> Lecturer: Okay. Push it one more. What is her relation to that old Greek tradition that she's invoking? "To sing of Wars, of Captains, and of Kings, Of Cities founded, Common-wealths begun, For my mean Pen are too superior things; Or how they all, or each their dates have run, Let Poets and Historians set these forth. My obscure lines shall not so dim their worth." >> She's kind of setting herself below that, saying, "Okay, they've done this. I'm just merely [inaudible]." >> Lecturer: Exactly. "My mean pen." And look at the categories. Again, we're look at systems of value -- what she praises and what she blames. She's praising the men. They belong to two categories: they are poets and historians. So if they're poets and historians, what is she? Is she not a poet? There's a weird category kind of thing going on. "But when my wond'ring eyes and envious heart Great Bartas' sugar'd lines do but read o'er, Fool, I do grudge the Muses did not part 'Twixt him and me that over-fluent store. A Bartas can do what a Bartas will But simple I according to my skill." So there's an immediately -- what would we say? Self-deprecatory tone. She's presenting herself as almost a kind of supplicant. She's humble because she's a woman, right? Women aren't supposed to do this. She's not supposed to be writing about sing, wars, and captains, kings, and all that kind of stuff. And she's suggesting it's almost like a paralypsis at the beginning, right? "All these things I'm not going to do." So she's setting out first what it is she's not going to do before she gets to what it is she is going to do. And look at the self-deprecation continue in the third stanza: "From School-boy's tongue no Rhet'ric we expect," -- because they're too young; they're not educated -- "Nor yet a sweet Consort from broken strings," -- if the instrument's broken, it's just not going to make good music. "Nor perfect beauty where's a main defect. My foolish, broken, blemished Muse so sings, And this to mend, alas, no Art is able, 'Cause Nature made it so irreparable." "I just don't have the tools, I don't have the talent, I'm kind of a housewife." It's a set up for what she's trying to do. All right. Just some of the formal stuff. What will we know to say, if you need to, in comparison to these lines, this invocation of the epic tradition? How is hers different? Yeah? >> Iambic pentameter. >> Lecturer: That's also iambic pentameter, good >> ABABCC. [Inaudible] >> Lecturer: Good. These are all things you should notice. So it ends with pretty much a heroic couplet, they're strongly end-stopped for the most part. Anything else? One of the things we might say about it is it's so standard that the form is not supposed to be an issue. Now you might think of this as a strategy, right? Because look what she says later on. She says: "I am obnoxious to each carping tongue Who says my hand a needle better fits" -- what are you using a pen for? "You're a woman, use a needle, sew. That's what you're supposed to do. Or cook." "A Poet's Pen all scorn I should thus wrong, For such despite they cast on female wits." Females aren't smart enough to do this. "If what I do prove well, it won't advance." So then even if it's good, people will say I stole it or by accident, just a one trick pony. Can't do it again, right? And then she makes another comparison. But think about again the way she's making comparisons to the way that people that we've seen -- Bradford, Winthrop, even Rowlandson are making comparisons. She's not comparing herself to the apostles here; she's going back to the antique Greeks. And she's even suggesting that those antique Greeks -- presumably less enlightened than the Puritans -- are much kinder to women than the Puritans are. "Why feigned they those nine And poesy made Calliope's own child?" And one of the things to look at here is there's a certain way in which this and in a poem that I'll ask you to look at in section this week is a kind of rewrite of this that's called The Preface. She writes it for her second volume. Think about the rhetoric of producing children that's at stake here and then even more so in there. So one of the things you might see here early on is what we'll later on in the 19th century be called the "separation of spheres" as if there is a sphere of men, and that is a sphere of pick it: politics, economics, government, public life, and a sphere of women that has to do with private life, domesticity, religion, education. Obviously religion is a bigger part of public life for men in this period than it will be then perhaps. But that idea of a separation of spheres is something she ostensibly accepts: "Men do this stuff and they do it well. Women are not thought to do this. And what whatever it is I'm doing, let's not call it poetry, let's not call it history, but whatever it is I'm doing, don't feel threatened by it, you men. I'm doing my own little thing here. I wish they had given me more talent, but they didn't so I'm doing my own little thing here." "Let Greeks be Greeks, and Women what they are. Men have precedency and still excel; It is but vain unjustly to wage war. Men can do best, and Women know it well. Preeminence in all and each is yours; Yet grant some small acknowledgement of ours." And now she's being a little bit cunning, right? "And oh ye high flown quills that soar the skies, And ever with your prey still catch your praise, If e'er you deign these lowly lines your eyes, Give thyme or Parsley wreath, I ask no Bays." What does that mean? Who gets bay leaves? What's that? >> Poets. >> Lecturer: Yeah, poets. And when you won the tragic festival, you got the bay leaves. That was a sign of your achievement. She's not asking for that. "Give me the herbs that suit my situation as a woman, and a housewife, and a mother, and a wife. Give me time, give me parsley." I want you to see that this poem drips with irony in the sense that what it is trying to convey is precisely the opposite of what it is saying. She's saying, "Oh, I don't have any talent," and yet it's a very cunningly put together poem. She's saying, "Oh, I can't really be a poet," and yet it absolutely follows various incendiary, recognizable rules for the creation of poetry. There's no question that you would look at the form of this and say if you were reading this 1650 "that's a poem," -- depending on what you think, a pretty good poem. "Give thyme or Parsley wreath, I ask no Bays. This mean and unrefined ore of mine Will make your glist'ring gold but more to shine." Kind of raw material you have polished. And yet you might see that as a prologue to a set of poems, this idea of it as "ore that can be refined" is precisely what the poetic project is going to be. So then when you go back and look at The Preface and see the way in which she rewrites this, I want you to realize that what that poem is actually about is precisely rewriting this. So keep an eye on that for section meetings on Friday. One of the things we would say about this then is what Bradford is doing trying to carve out a space for the practice of -- she's not calling it "poetry," but it is poetry by women within Puritan culture. She's registering awareness of the Greeks. She's showing that she's educated, but she's being suitably self-deprecatory. And one thing to say is that she feels in the same position that we saw Mary Rowlandson in. Mary Rowlandson needs to be licensed to speak, quite literally. Increase Mather has to say, "Go and write this," and her husband has to say, "It's okay." And to make sure that we all understand what it is we're reading, we put a foreword and an afterword to bracket her. And the title, The Sovereignty and Goodness of God Rowlandson is afterwords. She's hemmed in. And there's a certain way in which she is supposed to put her personal feelings, her own grief, her personal experience submerged to the doctrinaire read: kind of masculine authorized set of meanings. Bradstreet is working against those conventions as well. And so what we want to be looking for when we look at her poetry is the way in which she is, in fact, playing with some of these conventions. So something teasing here. But you might say it's ironic precisely because it says, "I'm humble. I have no talent." But really, it's a demonstration that she does have talent and perhaps she's not quite as humble as we think. If you look at her other poems that we had assigned, we will find that some of them seem to be very little about authorized Puritan subjects, especially the ones that are about her husband. Let's see. Let's take a look at To My Dear Loving Husband on 206. And the one you'll do in section is Author to Her Book, which is on the previous page. "If ever two were one, then surely we. If ever man were lov'd by wife, then thee. If ever wife was happy in a man, Compare with me, ye women, if you can. I prize thy love more than whole Mines of gold Or all the riches that the East doth hold. My love is such that Rivers canneot quench, Nor ought but love from thee give recompetence. Thy love is such I can no way repay. The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray. Then while we live, in love let's so persever That when we live no more, we may live ever." Nice little poem to her dear and loving husband. So where's the religious instruction in there? Anybody find it? Well, it does say heaven -- "The heavens reward thee man fold I pray." What's the difference between "heavens" and "Heaven" with a capital H? Are they the same? I don't know, one of them is a little more colloquial. One of them cuts. You'll see this later with Franklin. He has a way of using what look like religious words, but he cuts them down to size very cunningly. Yeah? >> Yeah, I think that also is there when she talks about death. She says "Thy love is such I can no way repay," instead of referring to Christ [inaudible]. >> Lecturer: Right. I mean, you know, the doctrinaire kind of love -- who's everybody's bride groom? Christ. Christ is your real bridegroom. Earthly love is earthly, right? We know about the earth, it's -- say it with me -- "depraved and damned." So earthly love, that includes the chaste love of the husband for the wife. That's damned, too, apparently. Right? How is this square with that? Maybe this is it: "Then while we live, in love let's so persever That when we live no more, we may live ever." Wait a minute. Is that right? You get to live forever because you are so loving when you were -- one of the things I wanted you to see is that she's a far more complex and contradictory poet than we might say should have existed in Puritan America, if Puritan America was such a monolith. So I want you to see that in a sense that there is a way in which Bradstreet is extraordinary because she is a woman poet writing all of these things. But you can see that maybe one of the things we should also think is that if we look at Bradstreet's poetry, we learn something else about the context in which she was writing. Maybe it's not all John Cotton-based psalm based strictures. Maybe it's little bit more open than we had thought, less monolithic, again, that reciprocal relation from the Greenblatt essay between text and context. So think about that. Think also perhaps about moments in some of the other poems. I'll just point to you the one on page 212. The Verses Upon the Burning of Our House. Ask yourself whether -- from what you know -- the house burns and she says, "Okay, but they're just earthly things. And so what's really important is has up there in heaven." Fine. So ask yourself: Is she convincing when she does that? Or is it maybe something like Rowlandson's poetry whereby somehow real feeling and grief and affection is seeping through? What does she place emphasis on? What poetic devices does she use in the middle of that poem that would suggest it ain't quite so easy to part with the stuff as those Puritan ministers want you to think? Yeah? >> [ Inaudible ] >> Lecturer: Right. I mean, that's the doctrinaire reason. That's it. "It happened to me for a reason. It just teaches me that again, I can't put store on earth as a line for that we'll encounter when we go back to Moby Dick. "Lay not your treasures here on earth where moth and rust do corrupt, but lay thy treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not corrupt." Okay. Supposed to be [inaudible] the meaning. And yet -- and yet. Read through it and see the experience of reading it. Is that the only thing the poem is conveying? Officially, yes, but -- yes? >> I felt like there was, like, compulsory initial reaction to the Divine Providence and she slips into these lines. >> Lecturer: Which ones? >> "But yet sufficient for us left. When by the Ruins oft I past My sorrowing eyes aside did cast And here and there the places spy Where oft I sate and long did lie." And then it continues where she's just, dwelling in what was lost. >> Lecturer: Right? I mean, if you were really going to do it, you'd minimize what was there. But she just remembers the specific objects. Now, there's another way to read it. You could say that she still has to get over it. That's a sign of how difficult it is to get over that. But ask yourself that. The extent of the specificity: "Here stood that Trunk, and there that chest, There lay that store I counted best, My pleasant things in ashes lie And them behold no more shall I." But then -- okay, she said, "All right, fine." But look at what she does next with the anaphora, with that repetition of the form at the beginning of the line: "Nor at thy Table eat a bit. No pleasant talk shall 'ere be told Nor things recounted done of old. No Candle 'ere shall shine in Thee, Nor bridegroom's voice ere heard shall bee." I mean, there's a kind of emphasis there in the form which possibly belies what she's ostensibly officially saying. That's what I want you to think about when we think about the relationship between what they're saying "content or theme" and "form." How does sometimes they don't actually always work in tandem or complimentary? Sometimes conflict works its way in there. And that's part of the meaning of the poem. One thing I just want to point out again is the next poem, As Weary Pilgrim. It's written -- we think it's the last poem she wrote. It's the last one that survives. So it's three years after the previous, roughly speaking. She's sick at this point and has an awareness. She dies some three years later, I think. But anybody read Chaucer? [Inaudible] read Chaucer? How much Chaucer did you read? Knight's Tale, [inaudible]? Does anybody still read The Retraction? You know what that even is? Okay, it's the last thing in there, right, in which he says, "You know those things I wrote? Forget about those except maybe all the really boring stuff." Like, what was the -- I forget, The Parson's Tale. He says, "These are the ones you ought to read." That's again, you can say like having his cake and eating it, too. But there's a sense in which we always tend to think of Chaucer as really modern, right? I mean, he's got a modern comic sensibility; he's got a sexual frankness; blah, blah, blah, blah, blah; character; details; okay fine. The Retraction, you read it and if you take it seriously -- I think scholars would say it's not a joke. Chaucer is a person of his age, full of contradictions perhaps or struggling, you might say, against the ideological boundaries of his age. And Bradstreet does that, too. But at the end of his career and at the end of her career you might say they find comfort in the doctrinaire and the ideological. So I would suggest to you that we ought to read As Weary Pilgrim not ironically but think of it again as an indication, part of a contradictory nature of Bradstreet that in fact, she is a person who belongs to Puritan America, who is wholly a part of that whole idea of religious instruction and religious belief that Bradstreet, Winthrop, Rowlandson, Hutchinson all belong to. She is not completely out of it. She has her moments where she's exploring other things, pushing the ideological boundaries. At the end of her career, when she's sick, where did she turn for comfort? Precise idea of Christ as your bridegroom of the everlasting life. So just something so bear in mind. I think it's a wonderful poem, actually. Which leaves us just a few minutes for Taylor. So we'll probably do a little more Taylor next time because he's so cool. English metaphysical poetry. Anybody read that stuff? Yes? So what do we know about English metaphysical poetry? Who blamed them really severely? There was one really famous critic in the English tradition who wrote a famous essay on metaphysical poets. Tell me you've read -- how many of you have taken Brit Lit? Okay, what percent would you do it in? It's got to be one still. Or maybe not, maybe it got caught in the split. Where did you read Donne? >> In One. >> Lecturer: In One? Do you read Johnson when you read Brit Lit when you read Donne in Brit Lit One? The phrase "The most heterogeneous ideas are yoked by violence together" -- does that ring a bell? So Johnson writes the The Life of Cowley. God, you all should read this. The Life of Cowley -- maybe you'll read it when you get to Johnson. But it would be really more effective to read it with Donne. He talks about metaphysical wit. And he talks about what they do. The trick behind the metaphysical poets is to try to represent what hasn't been represented before. So it's the matonic project sort of, but through really weird images and they call that "wit." And it's the bringing together of things that you wouldn't associate together. You put them together and you think, "Wow, that's a kind of new thing." So Johnson says, "That's not doing anything new; it's just perverse most of the time. The most heterogeneous ideas are yoked by violence together." And he liked Shakespeare's use of puns. So he loves Shakespeare, but he says Shakespeare never met a pun he didn't like and he just writes too many of them. And it kind of detracts. So here's a famous one. You guys read this? A Valediction Forbidding Morning? This is a poem that's ostensibly about -- oh, I don't know -- chaste love. But let's look it. "As virtuous men pass mildly away, And whisper to their souls to go, Whilst some of their sad friends do say, "Now his breath goes," and some say, "No." So let us melt" -- typical metaphysical -- "make a" and "as," therefore so. Make the comparison. It's kind of a simile structure there. "and make no noise, No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move; 'Twere profanation of our joys To tell the laity our love. Moving of th' earth brings harms and fears; Men reckon what it did, and meant; But trepidation of the spheres, Though greater far, is innocent. Dull sublunary lovers' love -- Whose soul is sense -- cannot admit." What does "sublunary lover's love" mean? What's "sublunary"? >> [ Inaudible ] >> Lecturer: Not a word you've ever said in your life unless you've read this poem. Something under the moon, right? So it's earthly love. We might call this "periphrasis," all right? Wordiness or finding -- again, my favorite one from the 18th Century is Joseph Wharton writing about fish, the finny tribe. The finny tribe. The sublunary lover's love. "Dull sublunary lovers' love -- Whose soul is sense -- cannot admit Of absence, 'cause it doth remove The thing which elemented it. But we by a love so much refined, That ourselves know not what it is, Inter-assured of the mind, Care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss." And here we go. This is the one that everybody remembers. "Our two souls therefore, which are one, Though I must go, endure not yet A breach, but an expansion, Like gold to aery thinness beat. If they be two," -- our two souls -- "they are two so As stiff twin compasses are two; Thy soul, the fix'd foot, makes no show To move, but doth, if th' other do." And I screw that up. "And though it in the centre sit, Yet, when the other far doth roam, It leans, and hearkens after it, And grows erect," -- and there's no pun there -- "as that comes home." [ Laughter ] All right, maybe there's a pun there. I mean, Donne is famous for playing kind of lacing his poems with kind frank sexual [inaudible] -- just talking about Christly love. It's chaste love, no problem -- faithfulness, fidelity. But the whole idea of the lovers as a compass is a very famous metaphysical image. And that's the trick of Taylor's poetry as well. So Taylor ought to be read within this metaphysical tradition. And some of his poems actually exist. I said they were written out. They're in the Yale Library. This is Meditation 38. And you actually can see it dated up here. I think it's the 6th of July, 1690. Some of them actually have dates. And again, the thing about Taylor is he's this Orthodox Christian guy. He has written the Preparatory Meditations -- so this would be on 268 of your text -- as a way of preparing to give a sermon, ostensibly, right? He writes the poems to help him think about the sermons. So each of the poems takes a piece of text as its -- well, as almost the text the poem is then going to explicate. But you might say one of the things that he does is he tries to show something about divine grace while fully being aware of the fact that he's using again as I said before this kind of human, therefore unreliable form, which is language. And even if you think it's reliable, you would say it's still not so easy to use, right? Sometimes there are things you want to express and you can't just do the Wigglesworth thing and express plainly, can't even do the Bradstreet thing. You need funky, weird images and lines that you can't say. And in fact, Taylor's poems are hard to read in part because the intention seems to be he wants them to be hard to read because that gets the sense of how difficult it is to have this earthly existence, how you still have so persevere all the way through it. What's metaphysical about him is a funny way in which there's a kind of funny interplay of the metaphorical and the literal. And I'll end with this point, and then we can take it up next time. The literal in which he takes things that were dead metaphors or so familiar from the Bible that when you hear them they become kind of formulaic. An example would be page 270, Meditation Eight: "I am the living bread, Christ is the living bread." Okay, okay we get that. So he asks, "What would it mean if we actually thought about Christ as the living bread?" That means if I'm going to write about that process, I would think about eating him, and chewing him, and digesting him. And therefore even though people want to say that this phrase really means the seat of tender and sympathetic emotions, in verse four: "In this sad state God's tender bowels run out streams of grace." Now okay, fine. It doesn't maybe mean digestion or doesn't it? I mean, he's talking about eating. That's what he does. Dead metaphor, Christ is living bread. Let's make it alive by really thinking about it as literally as we possibly can. So you might say that one of the projects that Taylor has is how to use this debased form -- language -- to talk about something that is wonderful and divine and above language, such as grace. And part of his strategy is going to be how you might find new and interesting ways to talk about the need to be humble. So from the very beginning of Preparatory Meditations, the prologue on 269: "Lord, can a crumb of dust the earth outweigh, outmatch all mountains? Nay, the crystal sky. And bosom designs that shall display and trace into the boundless deity? Yea, hand append whose moisture doth guide or eternal glory with a glorious glore." Right away, the project of writing. "If it is pen had of an angel's quill and sharpened on a precious stone ground tight and dipped in liquid gold and moved by skill in crystal leaves should golden letters write, it would but blot and blur, yea jag and jar unless thou makes the pen and scrivener." That's the project right there of Taylor's poetry -- how do we use these things that are earthly without God's guidance? So we'll talk a little bit about that. As you read Edwards for next time, I want you to think about how he has the same problem of language. How do you convey what's divine using human language? And we'll leave it there for now. Thank you.



Early life

Thomas Sutton bequeathed money to maintain a chapel, hospital,  and school at the London Charterhouse, a former Carthusian monastery, where Crashaw studied from 1629 to 1631.
Thomas Sutton bequeathed money to maintain a chapel, hospital, and school at the London Charterhouse, a former Carthusian monastery, where Crashaw studied from 1629 to 1631.

Richard Crashaw was born in London, England, circa 1612 or 1613. He is the only son of Anglican divine William Crashaw (1572–1626). The exact date of his birth and the name of his mother are not known, but it is thought that he was born either during Advent Season in 1612 or near the Feast of the Epiphany (6 January) in 1613.[3] It is possible that Richard Crashaw was baptised by James Ussher, later the Archbishop of Armagh.[4] His father—a Cambridge-educated clergyman who was appointed as a preacher at London's Inner Temple—was born in or near Handsworth, a village near Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire, and came from a prosperous family.[5][6] It is thought that Crashaw's mother, his father's first wife, died during her son's infancy.[2] William Crashaw's second wife, Elizabeth Skinner, whom he married in 1619, died the following year in childbirth.

William Crashaw wrote and published many pamphlets advocating Puritan theology and sharply critical of Catholicism. He was "a man of unchallenged repute for learning in his day, an argumentative but eloquent preacher, strong in his Protestantism, and fierce in his denunciation of 'Romish falsifications' and 'besotted Jesuitries'".[2] Despite this opposition to Catholic thought, the elder Crashaw was attracted by Catholic devotion as exhibited by his translation of verse by Catholic poets.[7] While there is nothing certain about young Richard's early education, it is thought he benefited from his father's private library, which contained many Catholic works and was described as "one of the finest private theological libraries of the time".[8][9] At an early age, he could have been exposed to works including Bernard of Clairvaux's Sermons on the Song of Songs, the life of Catherine of Siena, the Revelations of Saint Bridget, and the writings of Richard Rolle.[10]

William's death in 1626 rendered Richard an orphan when he was 13 or 14 years old. However, England's attorney general, Sir Henry Yelverton and Sir Ranulph Crewe, a prominent judge, friends and colleagues of his late father through the Inner Temple, were appointed as the young orphan's guardians. The two men supported Richard's entry into the Charterhouse School in 1629 and subsequently entry into Pembroke Hall, Cambridge in 1631 where he formally matriculated the following year.


From 1629 to 1631, Crashaw attended the Charterhouse School in London. The school was established on the grounds of a former Carthusian monastery. At Charterhouse, Crashaw was a pupil of the school's headmaster, Robert Brooke, required students to write epigrams and verse in Greek and Latin based on the Epistle and Gospel readings from the day's chapel services.[11] Crashaw continued this exercise as an undergraduate at Cambridge and a few years later would assemble many these epigrams for his first collection of poems, Epigrammatum Sacrorum Liber (trans. "A Book of Sacred Epigrams"), published in 1634.

According to clergyman and editor Alexander Grosart, Crashaw was "as thoroughly Protestant, in all probability, as his father could have desired" before his graduation from Pembroke Hall in 1634.[12] During the course of his education, Crashaw gravitated to the High Church tradition in Anglicanism, particularly towards the ideals and ritual practices that emphasised the church's Catholic heritage and were advocated by William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury. Laud, with the support of King Charles I, reoriented the practices of the Church of England with a programme of reforms that sought "beauty in holiness", and sought to incorporate "more reverence and decorum in church ceremonial and service, in the decoration of churches, and in the elaboration of the ritual".[13] This movement, called Laudianism, rose out of the influence of the Counter-Reformation. The University of Cambridge was a centre of the Laudian movement at the time of Crashaw's attendance.

Richard formally matriculated as a scholar at Pembroke on Easter, 26 March 1632.[2][6] at a time that the college's master was the Rev'd Benjamin Lany, an Anglican clergyman and friend of William Crashaw. Early in his career, Lany shared many of the elder Crashaw's Puritan beliefs. However, Lany's beliefs evolved toward more High Church practices. It is likely that Richard was under Lany's influence while at Pembroke.[4] It is also thought that at this time, Crashaw became acquainted with Nicholas Ferrar and participated in Ferrar's religious community at Little Gidding, near the city of Cambridge, noted for its adherence to High Church rituals centred around Ferrar's model of a humble spiritual life of devoted to prayer and eschewing material, worldly life. Little Gidding was criticised by its Puritan detractors as a "Protestant Nunnery".

Pembroke Hall (now known as Pembroke College) conferred on Crashaw a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in 1634. This degree was promoted to a Master of Arts in 1638 by Cambridge, and through incorporation ad eundem gradum by the University of Oxford in 1641.[6]

High Churchman and Cambridge fellow

The Old Court at Peterhouse, Cambridge, the oldest constituent college of the university, which Crashaw described as "a little contentfull kingdom"
The Old Court at Peterhouse, Cambridge, the oldest constituent college of the university, which Crashaw described as "a little contentfull kingdom"

For eight years, beginning in 1636, Crashaw was appointed as a fellow of Peterhouse, the oldest constituent college at the University of Cambridge. In 1638 Crashaw took holy orders in the Church of England, and was installed as curate of the Church of St Mary the Less, Cambridge. This church, commonly known as "Little St Mary's", is adjacent to Peterhouse and had served as the college's chapel until the opening of a new chapel within the college in 1632.[14] Peterhouse's master, John Cosin, and many of the college's fellows, adhered toward Laudianism and embraced the Anglican faith's catholic heritage. In these years, also, Crashaw became more intimately connected with the Ferrar family and frequently visited Little Gidding. Crashaw incorporated these influences into his conduct at St Mary the Less including holding late night prayer vigils, and adorning the chapel with relics, crucifixes, and images of the Madonna.[14](Husain) According to an early Crashaw biographer, David Lloyd, Crashaw attracted Christians who came to his services eager to hear his sermons, "that ravished more like Poems, than both the Poet and Saint... scattering not so much Sentences as Extasies".[15] Because of the tensions between Laudian adherents and their Puritan detractors, the Puritans often sent people to attend church services in order to identify and gather evidence of "superstitious" or "Popish" idolatry. In 1641, Crashaw would be cited for Mariolatry (excessive devotion to the Virgin Mary) and for his superstitious practices of "diverse bowings, cringeings" and incensing before the altar".

With the advance of Cromwell's forces on Cambridge, Crashaw was forced to resign from his fellowship at Peterhouse. He and five of his colleagues were ousted because of their refusal to sign the Solemn League and Covenant.[16] This began his exile from "the contentfull little kingdom" at Peterhouse that he cherished. Shortly after Crashaw's departure from the city, Little St Mary's was ransacked on 29 and 30 December 1643 by William Dowsing, an iconoclast who was ordered by Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester, a parliamentary commander during the Civil War, to rid Anglican churches in Suffolk and Cambridgeshire of any ornaments or images connected to Roman Catholic "superstitions" or "popery". Dowsing faithfully kept a journal of his destructive efforts at over 250 churches, recording that at Little St Mary's "we brake downe 60 superstitious pictures, some popes, and crucifixes, and God the Father sitting in a chayer, and holding a globe in his hand".[17]

Crashaw's poetry took on decidedly catholic imagery, especially in his poems written about of Spanish mystic St Teresa of Avila. Teresa's writings were unknown in England and unavailable in English. However, Crashaw had been exposed to her work, and the three poems he wrote in her honor—"A Hymn to Sainte Teresa," "An Apologie for the fore-going Hymne," and "The Flaming Heart"— are, arguably, his most sublime works. Crashaw began writing poems influenced by the George Herbert's collection The Temple—an influence likely derived from Herbert's connection to Nicholas Ferrar. Several of these poems Crashaw later collected in a series titled Steps to the Temple and The Delights of the Muses by an anonymous friend and published in one volume in 1646. This collection included Crashaw's translation of Giambattista Marini's Sospetto d'Herode. In his preface, the collection's anonymous editor described the poems as having the potential to induce a considerable effect on the reader—it would "lift thee Reader, some yards above the ground."[14]

The sermons of the subject were powerful and well-attended, but have not come down to us.[18]

Exile, conversion, and death

Having been expelled from his fellowship in 1644, Crashaw fled into exile. Before departing he arranged for Ferrar Collet to assume his fellowship. Collete, one of his pupils at Peterhouse was the son of Mary Collet, the niece of Nicholas Ferrar. Crashaw then accompanied Mary Collet, whom he revered as his "gratious mother", into exile on the Continent settling first in Leiden.("Richard Crashaw and Mary Collett" Church Quarterly Review, vol. lxxiii)[14] It was at the onset of his exile that Crashaw is thought to have formally converted from Anglicanism to Catholicism. According to the Athanae Oxoniensis (1692), antiquarian Anthony à Wood explains the reasoning for Crashaw's conversion as the result of fearing the destruction of his beloved religion by the Puritans: "an infallible foresight that the Church of England would be quite ruined by the unlimited fury of the Presbyterians".[19] However, according to Husain,

"It was not the Roman Catholic dogma, or philosophy, but the Catholic ritual and the reading of the Catholic mystics, especially St. Teresa, which largely led him to seek repose in the bosom of the Catholic Church. Crashaw's conversion was the confirmation of a spiritual state which had already existed, and this state was mainly emotional, an artistic abandonment to the ecstasy of divine love expressed through sensuous symbolism."[20]

During this period, Queen Henrietta Maria, the wife of King Charles I and her court fled in exile—at first at Oxford, a royalist stronghold, and later to Paris in July 1644. At some point in 1645, Crashaw appeared in Paris, where he encountered Thomas Car, whose original name was Miles Pinkney,[21] the experienced confessor to English refugees. The poet's vagrant existence made a lasting impression on Car, as shown by "The Anagramme":

He seeks no downes, no sheetes, his bed's still made.
If he can find a chaire or stoole, he's layd,
When day peepes in, he quitts his restlesse rest.
And still, poore soule, before he's up he's dres't.

It was at this time Abraham Cowley discovered Crashaw living in abject poverty in Paris. Cowley sought the Queen's influence in securing Crashaw a position in Rome. Crashaw's friend and patron, Susan Feilding, Countess of Denbigh, also used her influence at court to persuade the Queen to recommend Crashaw to the Pope. Crashaw made his way as a pilgrim to Rome in November 1646 where he continued to struggle with poverty and ill health, and while waiting for some papal retainer. Crashaw was introduced to the Pope as "the learned son of a famous Heretic".[22] Coincidentally, according to literary historian Maureen Sabine, though the Puritans who forced Crashaw into exile would have described him as the heretical son of a learned performer.[23] After renewed diplomatic entreaties to the pope in 1647, Crashaw secured a post with the virtuous Cardinal Palotto who was closely associated with the English College.[24] and stayed at the Venerable English College.

Crashaw moral sensitivities caused him to express shock at some of the amoral behaviour of some of the Cardinal's entourage and express his complaints directly to the Cardinal. When some of these complaints became public, several in the cardinal's retinue protested about his presence and expressed outright animosity toward Crashaw. The Italians who had evil designs toward the subject prompted the Cardinal to discharge him for his safety.[25] Finally, in April 1649, the cardinal procured him a cathedral benefice at the Basilica della Santa Casa at Loreto, Marche. Weakened by his precarious existence in exile, Crashaw set out for Loreto in May and died there of a fever on 21 August 1649. There were suspicions that Crashaw was poisoned, possibly by persons within the Cardinal's circle.[24] Crashaw was buried in the lady chapel of the shrine at Loreto.


Writing and publication history

Three collections of Crashaw's poetry were published during his lifetime and one small volume posthumously—three years after his death. The posthumous collection, Carmen Del Nostro, included 33 poems.

For his first collection of poems, Crashaw turned to the epigrams composed during his schooling, assembling these efforts to form the core of his first book, Epigrammatum Sacrorum Liber (trans. "A Book of Sacred Epigrams"), published in 1634. Among its well-known lines is Crashaw's observation on the miracle of turning water into wine (John 2:1-11): Nympha pudica Deum vidit, et erubuit, often translated as "the modest water saw its God, and blushed".[a]

For instance, this quatrain, titled Dominus apud suos vilis from the collection, was based on a passage from the Gospel of Luke:[26]


Title page of Crashaw's Steps to the Temple (1646) which was published during Crashaw's exile
Title page of Crashaw's Steps to the Temple (1646) which was published during Crashaw's exile

Crashaw's work has as its focus the devotional pursuit of divine love. According to Sabine, his poems "reveal new springs of tenderness as he became absorbed in a Laudian theology of love, in the religious philanthropy practiced by his Pembroke master, Benjamin Laney, and preached by his tutor, John Tournay, and in the passionate poetic study of the Virgin Mother and Christ Child".[14] Sabine asserts that as a result of his Marian devotion and Catholic sensibilities, "In expressing his Christian love for all men, even the archenemy of his father and most English Protestants, Crashaw began to feel what it was like for Christ to be a stranger in his own land."[14] He depicts women, most notably the Virgin Mary, but also Teresa of Ávila and Mary Magdalene, as the embodiment of virtue, purity and salvation.[27] Indeed, Crashaw's three poems in honour of the mystical Saint Teresa of Avila--"A Hymn to Sainte Teresa," "An Apologie for the fore-going Hymne," and "The Flaming Heart" are considered his most sublime works.

According to Maureen Sabine, "In his finest contemplative verse, he would reach out from the evening stillness of the sanctuary to an embattled world that was deaf to the soothing sound of Jesus, the name which, to his mind, cradled the cosmos."[14]

According to Husain, Crashaw is not a mystic—and not by traditional definitions of mysticism—he is simply a devotee who had a mystic temperament because he "often appears to us as an ecstatic poet writing about the mystical experiences of a great saint (St. Teresa) rather than conveying the richness of his own mystical experience".[28] Husain continued to categorise Crashaw's poems into four topic areas:

  • (1) poems on Christ's life and His miracles;
  • (2) poems on the Catholic Church and its ceremonies;
  • (3) poems on the saints and martyrs of the Church; and
  • (4) poems on several sacred themes such as the translation of the Psalms, and letters to the Countess of Denbigh, and "On Mr. George Herbert's book intituled, The Temple of Sacred Poems sent to a Gentlewoman," which contain Crashaw's reflections on the problem of conversion and on the efficacy of prayer."[29]

While Crashaw is categorised as one of the metaphysical poets, his poetry differs from those of the other metaphysical poets by is cosmopolitan and continental influences. As a result of this eclectic mix of influences, literary scholar Maureen Sabine states that Crashaw is usually "regarded as the incongruous younger brother of the Metaphysicals who weakens the 'strong line' of their verse or the prodigal son who 'took his journey into a far country', namely the Continent and Catholicism."[14] Lorraine M. Roberts writes Crashaw "happily set out to follow in the steps of George Herbert" with the influence of The Temple (1633), and that "confidence in God's love prevails in his poetry and marks his voice as distinctly different from that of Donne in relation to sin and death and from that of Herbert in his struggle to submit his will to that of God."[30]

Critical reception

Much of the negative criticism of Crashaw's work stems from an anti-Catholic sentiment in English letters—especially among critics who claim that his verse suffered as a result of his religious conversion.[31] Conversely, the Protestant poet Abraham Cowley memorialised Crashaw in an elegy expresses a conciliatory opinion of Crashaw's Catholic character"

Today, Crashaw's work is largely unknown and unread[32]— if he is not the "most important" he is certainly one of the most distinguished of the metaphysical poets.[2] Crashaw's poetry has inspired or directly influenced the work of many poets in his own day, and throughout the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries.

According to literary scholars Lorraine Roberts and John Roberts, "those critics who expressed appreciation for Crashaw's poetry were primarily impressed not with its thought, but with its music and what they called 'tenderness and sweetness of language'"—including a roster of writers such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Amy Lowell, and A. Bronson Alcott.[31] During and after his life, friends and poets esteemed Crashaw as a saint—Abraham Cowley called him such in his elegy "On the Death of Mr. Crashaw" (1656);[33] and Sir John Beaumont's poem "Psyche" (1648) compares Crashaw with fourth-century poet and saint Gregory of Nazianzen.[34] Others referred to him in comparison with George Herbert, as "the other Herbert" or "the second Herbert of our late times".[35][36]

"His faith, perhaps, in some nice tenets might
Be wrong; his life, I'm sure, was in the right:
And I, myself, a Catholic will be,
So far at least, dear saint, to pray to thee"


Crashaw Prize

The Crashaw prize for poetry is awarded by Salt Publishing.[37]

Later plagiarism

Pope judged Crashaw "a worse sort of Cowley", adding that "Herbert is lower than Crashaw, Sir John Beaumont higher, and Donne, a good deal so."[31][38] Pope first identified the influence of Italian poets Petrarch and Marino on Crashaw, which he criticised as yielding thoughts "oftentimes far fetch'd and strain'd", but that one could "skim off the froth" to get to Crashaw's "own natural middle-way". However, contemporary critics were quick to point out that Pope owed Crashaw a debt and in several instances, plagiarised from him.[39] In 1785 Peregrine Philips disparaged those who borrowed from and imitated Crashaw without giving proper acknowledgement—singling out Pope, Milton, Young, and Gray—saying that they "dress themselves in his borrowed robes"[31][40] Early 20th century literary critic Austin Warren identified that Pope's The Rape of the Lock borrowed heavily from Crashaw's style and translation of Sospetto d'Herode.[41]

In a 1751 edition of in The Rambler, Critic Samuel Johnson called attention to a direct example of Pope's plagiaristic borrowing from Crashaw:[42]

Musical settings

Crashaw's verse has been set by or inspired musical compositions. Elliott Carter (1908–2012) was inspired by Crashaw's Latin poem "Bulla" ("Bubble") to compose his three-movement orchestral work Symphonia: sum fluxae pretium spei (1993–1996). The festival anthem Lo, the full, final sacrifice, Op. 26, composed in 1946 by British composer Gerald Finzi (1901–1956) is a setting of two Crashaw poems, "Adoro Te" and "Lauda Sion Salvatorem"—translations by Crashaw of two Latin hymns by St Thomas Aquinas(c. 1225-1274). "Come and let us live", a translation by Crashaw of a poem by Roman poet Catullus (84–54 BC), was set to music as a four-part choral glee by Samuel Webbe, Jr. (1770–1843).


"The Recommendation"

These houres, and that which hovers o’re my End,
Into thy hands, and hart, lord, I commend.

Take Both to Thine Account, that I and mine
In that Hour, and in these, may be all thine.

That as I dedicate my devoutest Breath
To make a kind of Life for my lord’s Death,

So from his living, and life-giving Death,
My dying Life may draw a new, and never fleeting Breath.

  • 1634: Epigrammatum Sacrorum Liber (trans. "A Book of Sacred Epigrams")[45]
  • 1646: Steps to the Temple. Sacred Poems, With other Delights of the Muses[46]
  • 1648: Steps to the Temple, Sacred Poems. With The Delights of the Muses[47] (an expanded second edition)
  • 1652: Carmen Deo Nostro (trans. "Hymns to Our Lord", published posthumously)[48]
  • 1653: A Letter from Mr. Crashaw to the Countess of Denbigh Against Irresolution and Delay in matters of Religion[49]
  • 1670: Richardi Crashawi Poemata et Epigrammata (trans. "Poems and Epigrams of Richard Crashaw")[50]

Modern editions

  • The Complete Works of Richard Crashaw, edited by Alexander B. Grosart, two volumes (London: printed for private circulation by Robson and Sons, 1872 & 1873).
  • The Poems, English, Latin, and Greek, of Richard Crashaw edited by L. C. Martin (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1927); second edition, revised, 1957).
  • The Complete Poetry of Richard Crashaw edited by George Walton Williams (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1970).


  1. ^ The literal translation is "[The] chaste nymph saw God, and blushed".


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Crashaw, Richard". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  1. ^ Editors, "Richard Crashaw", Encyclopædia Britannica (online edition, last updated 21 February 2013). Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e Cornelius Clifford, "Richard Crashaw", The Catholic Encyclopedia Volume 4. (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908). Retrieved 11 January 2015.
  3. ^ Albert J. Gerlitz, "Richard Crashaw, c. 1613-1649", The Age of Milton: An Encyclopedia of Major 17th-century British and American Authors edited by Alan Hagar. (Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004), 93.
  4. ^ a b Edmund W. Gosse, "Richard Crashaw", in Eliakim Littell and Robert S. Littell (editors), Littell's Living Age, Volume 157, No. 2027 (Boston: Littell & Co., 28 April 1883), 195–204.
  5. ^ Stephen, Leslie, ed. (1888). "Crashaw, William" . Dictionary of National Biography. 13. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  6. ^ a b c "Crashaw, William (CRSW588W)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  7. ^ Itrat Husain, The Mystical Element in the Metaphysical Poets of the Seventeenth Century (New York: Biblo & Tannen Publishers, 1948), 159–192, at 160.
  8. ^ LC Martin, 1957, xvi
  9. ^ Jack Dalglish, Eight Metaphysical Poets (Oxford: Harcourt/Heinemann Education Publishers, 1961), 155.
  10. ^ Austin Warren, Richard Crashaw: A Study in Baroque Sensibility (London: Faber and Faber, 1939), 210–11. fn. 2
  11. ^ (Martin, 1957, xx, 415)
  12. ^ Grosart, "Essay on the Life and Poetry of Crashaw", in The Complete Works of Richard Crashaw (1873), vol. 2, p. xlii.
  13. ^ Husain, at 159
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h Maureen Sabine. "Richard Crashaw, 1612-1649" Poetry Foundation. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  15. ^ David Lloyd, Memoires (1668)
  16. ^ Edward Hutton, The Cities of Romagna and the Marches (New York: Macmillan, 1913), 177.
  17. ^ Edmund Carter, The History of the Country of Cambridge (Cambridge: T. James, printer, 1753), 37; William Dowsing, "The Journal of William Dowsing", William Dowsing (website). Retrieved 14 January 2015; and Dowsing, The Journal of William Dowsing: Iconoclasm in East Anglia During the English Civil War, edited by Trevor Cooper (Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell Press, 2001), 192-194.
  18. ^ Warren, Austin. “Richard Crashaw, ‘Catechist and Curate.’” Modern Philology, vol. 32, no. 3, 1935, pp. 261–269. JSTOR website Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  19. ^ Anthony à Wood, Fasti Oxonienses, in Athanae Oxonienses (London: Printed for Thomas Bennet, 1692), 2:688.
  20. ^ Husain, at 163
  21. ^ "Crashaw, Richard", in British Authors before 1800: A Biographical Dictionary (1952), New York: Wilson.
  22. ^ (Martin 1957, xxxvn4)
  23. ^ Maureen Sabine, "Crashaw and Abjection: Reading the Unthinkable in His Devotional Verse", in John Donne and the Metaphysical Poets, edited by Harold Bloom. (New York: Bloom's Literary Criticism/Infobase Publishing, 2010), 111-129.
  24. ^ a b Pope Alexander the Seventh and the College of Cardinals by John Bargrave, edited by James Craigie Robertson (reprint; 2009)
  25. ^ "Richard Crashaw". (1959-1960 reprint of 1885-1901 edition). Dictionary of National Biography [Edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, etc.]. London: Oxford University Press. v. 13, p.34. Google Books website Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  26. ^ Richard Crashaw, translated by Clement Barksdale, "III. Dominus apud suos vilis" ("The Lord despised and rejected by his own people"). See Alexander B. Grosart (ed), The Complete Works of Richard Crashaw, (London: printed for private circulation by Robson and Sons, 1873), vol. 2, p. 37.
  27. ^ Paul A. Parrish, "Crashaw's Life and Art", The Muses Common-Weale: Poetry and Politics in the Seventeenth Century, edited by Claude J. Summers and Ted-Larry Pebworth (Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1988), 162.
  28. ^ Husain, 164
  29. ^ Husain, at 166.
  30. ^ Lorraine M. Roberts, "Crashaw's Sacred Voice: A Commerce of Contrary Powers", (Roberts, New Perspectives, 70), 66–79.
  31. ^ a b c d Lorraine M. Roberts and John R. Roberts, "Crashavian Criticism: A Brief Interpretative History", New perspectives on the life and art of Richard Crashaw, edited by John R. Roberts (Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1990), 1–11.
  32. ^ Thomas F. Healy, Richard Crashaw (Leiden: Brill Archive, 1986), 1.
  33. ^ Abraham Cowley, "On the Death of Mr. Crashaw" from Poems: Viz I, II. The Mistress, or Love Verses. III. Pindarique Odes. And IV. Davideis, or a Sacred Poem on the Troubles of David (London: Printed for Humphrey Moseley, 1656), 29-30.
  34. ^ John Beaumont, "Psyche", IV, 94-95.
  35. ^ David Lloyd. "Mr. Richard Crashaw", in Memoires of the Lives, Actions, Sufferings & Deaths of Those Noble, Reverend, and Excellent Personages, That Suffered Death, Sequestration, Decimation, Or Otherwise, for the Protestant Religion (London: Printed for Samuel Speed, 1668), 619.
  36. ^ William Winstanley, "The Life of Lancelot Andrews, Bishop of Winchester" in England's Worthies. Select Lives of the most Eminent Person of the English Nation from Constantine the Great to the Death of Cromwell (London: Nathan Brocke, 1660, 295).
  37. ^ "Graduate hopes for poetry prize". Coventry Telegraph (Coventry (UK). 27 January 2010.
  38. ^ Alexander Pope, letter to Henry Cromwell, 17 Dec 1710, Letters of Mr. Pope And Several Eminent Persons. In the Years 1705 &c. to 1717 (London: printed for J. Roberts, 1735), 145-48.
  39. ^ Henry Headley, Select Beauties of Ancient English Poetry (London: Printed for T. Cadell, 1787); Robert Anderson, "The Poetical Works of Richard Crashaw", A Complete Edition of the Poets of Great Britain (Edinburgh: Mundell and Sons, 1793), 4:699-754.
  40. ^ Peregrine Philips (editor), Poetry by Richard Crashaw, with Some Account of the Author, and an Introductory Address to the Reader (London: Printed by Rickaby for the Editor, 1785)
  41. ^ Austin Warren, "The Reputation of Crashaw in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries," Studies in Philology, 31 (1934): 396, at 403.
  42. ^ Samuel Johnson, "The Criterions of Plagiarism", The Rambler No. 143, 30 July 1751; in The Works of Samuel Johnson in Sixteen Volumes (Troy, NY: Pafraets, 1903), 3:198.
  43. ^ Richard Crashaw, "Epitaph upon Mr. Ashton, a Conformable Citizen", in The English Poems of Richard Crashaw, edited by Edward Hutton (London: Methuen & Co., 1901), 177.
  44. ^ Alexander Pope, "Epitaph on Mr. Elijah Fenton, At Easthamsted, in Berks, 1730", in The Poetical Works of Alexander Pope, including his Translation of Homer, complete in one volume (London: Jones and Co., 1830) xxx, 90.
  45. ^ Richard Crashaw, Epigrammatum Sacrorum Liber (Cambridge: Printed by T. Buck & R. Daniel, 1634).
  46. ^ Richard Crashaw, Steps to the Temple. Sacred Poems, With other Delights of the Muses (London: Printed by T. W. for Humphrey Moseley, 1646).
  47. ^ Richard Crashaw, Steps to the Temple. Sacred Poems, With other Delights of the Muses (London: Printed for Humphrey Moseley, 1648). (second edition, expanded)
  48. ^ Richard Crashaw, Carmen Deo Nostro, Te Decet Hymnvs Sacred Poems, Collected, Corrected, Avgmented, Most humbly Presented. To My Lady The Countesse of Denbigh By Her most deuoted Seruant. R.C. In hearty acknowledgment of his immortall obligation to her Goodnes & Charity (Paris: Printed by Peter Targa, Printer to the Archbishope of Paris, 1652). (published posthumously)
  49. ^ Richard Crashaw, A Letter from Mr. Crashaw to the Countess of Denbigh Against Irresolution and Delay in matters of Religion (London: s.n., 1653). (published posthumously)
  50. ^ Richard Crashaw, Richardi Crashawi Poemata et Epigrammata (Cambridge: Ex Officina Joan. Hayes, 1670). (published posthumously)

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