Biography of Richard Crashaw
Richard was the only son of William Crashaw, a puritan preacher in London who had officiated at the burning of Mary, Queen of Scots. In defiance of his father's views on religion, Crashaw went to a High Church college at Cambridge, Pembroke. He later became a fellow of Peterhouse College but was forced to resign because of his Roman Catholic leanings.
Victory for Oliver Cromwell's Puritans in the Civil War made England a dangerous place for Catholic sympathisers like Crashaw, and in 1644 he fled to France. He became a Catholic sometime around 1645. His friend Abraham Cowley found him living in poverty in Paris, and introduced him to Charles I's Queen, Henrietta Maria. She sent Crashaw to Rome with a recommendation to the Pope. On his arrival in Italy however, Crashaw was simply allotted a position in a cardinal's household. Four months before he died, he was made a sub-canon of the Cathedral of Santa Casa in Loreto.
Crashaw was much influenced by the Italian poet Marino, as well as his reading of the Italian and Spanish mystics. Though his verse is somewhat uneven in quality, at its best it is characterised by brilliant use of extravagant baroque imagery.
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Richard Crashaw Poems
But Men Loved Darkness Rather Than Light
The world's light shines, shine as it will, The world will love its darkness still.
Divine Epigrams: To Our Lord, Upon The W...
Thou water turn'st to wine, fair friend of life, Thy foe, to cross the sweet arts of thy reign, Distills from thence the tears of wrath and strife,
Now westward Sol had spent the richest beams Of noon's high glory, when, hard by the streams Of Tiber, on the scene of a green plat,
Lord, when the sense of thy sweet grace Sends up my soul to seek thy face. Thy blessed eyes breed such desire, I dy in love’s delicious Fire.
THY restless feet now cannot go For us and our eternal good, As they were ever wont. What though They swim, alas! in their own flood?
The Flaming Heart
An Epitaph Upon Husband And Wife
TO these whom death again did wed This grave 's the second marriage-bed. For though the hand of Fate could force 'Twixt soul and body a divorce,
LO here a little volume, but great Book A nest of new-born sweets; Whose native fires disdaining To ly thus folded, and complaining
Below the bottom of the great Abyss, There where one centre reconciles all things, The world's profound heart pants; there placed is
HAIL, sister springs, Parents of silver-footed rills! Ever bubbling things, Thawing crystal, snowy hills!
Charitas Nimia; Or, The Dear Bargain
Lord, what is man? why should he cost Thee So dear? what had his ruin lost Thee? Lord, what is man, that Thou hast over-bought
In The Holy Nativity Of Our Lord
CHORUS Come we shepherds whose blest sight Hath met love's noon in nature's night; Come lift we up our loftier song
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
I would be married, but I'd have no wife ; I would be married to a single life.
THY restless feet now cannot go
For us and our eternal good,
As they were ever wont. What though
They swim, alas! in their own flood?
Thy hands to give Thou canst not lift,
Yet will Thy hand still giving be;
It gives, but O, itself's the gift!
It gives tho' bound, tho' bound 'tis free!