Richard Corbet

(1582 - 1635 / England)

Biography of Richard Corbet

Was born in 1582, the son of a nurseryman at Eweli, Surrey. At Oxford, to which he proceeded from Westminster school in 1597, he was noted as a wit. On taking orders he continued to display this talent from the pulpit, and James I., in consideration of his “fine fancy and preaching,” made him one of the royal chaplains. In 1620 he became vicar of Stewkley, Berkshire, and in the same year was made dean of Christchurch, Oxford. In 1628 he was made bishop of Oxford, and in 1632 translated thence to the see of Norwich. Corbet was the author of many poems, for the most part of a lively, satirical order, his most serious production being the Fairies’ Farewell. His verses were first collected and published in 1647. His conviviality was famous, and many stories are told of his youthful merrymaking in London taverns in company with Ben Jonson, who always remained his close friend, and other dramatists. He died at Norwich on the 28th of July 1635.

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The Distracted Puritan

Am I mad, O noble Festus,
When zeal and godly knowledge
Have put me in hope
To deal with the Pope
As well as the best in the college?
Boldly I preach, I hate a cross, hate a surplice,
Mitres, copes, and rochets!
Come hear me pray nine times a day,
And fill your heads with crotchets.