John Abbott

(1587/1588 – c. 1650 / London, England)

Biography of John Abbott

John Abbot was an English Roman Catholic clergyman and poet. His birthplace is uncertain, but may have been London or Leicester. Abbott is believed to be the nephew both of George Abbot, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Robert Abbot, the bishop of Salisbury. Abbot was thus from a strongly Protestant family. After being educated at Balliol College, Oxford, he travelled to the continent where he converted to Roman Catholicism. On returning to England he was in Jesuit orders for a while, before working as a secular priest. In 1635 he was imprisoned in the Gatehouse at the Palace of Westminster. He was released within a year, but in 1637 he was again arrested, and seems to have spent the rest of his life in prison. He was, along with other Catholic priests, condemned to death in 1641, but the conviction was never executed, and he appears to have died in prison in 1650.

His best known work is his poem Devout Rhapsodies (2 vols., 1647), about the war in heaven and the temptation and fall of man. The work can be seen a precursor of Milton's Paradise Lost

John Abbott's Works:

Jesus Praefigured (1623)
The Sad Condition of a Distracted Kingdome (1645)
Devout Rhapsodies (2 vols., 1647)

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The Force Of Contrition

In the first age, when world did new begin,
With many raines thou didst drowne man and sin:
Againe vnto the watery flouds giue scope,
Againe the cataracts of heauen let ope.
We not of Abana and Pharpar dreame,
We must be curd'e in onely Iordan's streame—
Blest streame, which from thy mercies' head doth rise,
And thence descending runneth through our eies.
Waters beginning from earthe's slimie vaines

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