Born at Hadleigh, Suffolk, William Alabaster attended Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge (B.A. 1588, M.A. 1591, D.D. 1614). As the author of a tragedy, Roxana (before 1592) he enjoyed a reputation as a Latin poet. Alabaster was chaplain to Essex on the Cadiz expedition (1596); the following year he converted to Catholicism, but upon imprisonment returned to Anglicanism, eventually becoming a royal chaplain. He was rector of Therfield in Hertfordshire (1614) and Little Shelford in Cambridgeshire (1622). Spenser praises Alabaster for his anti-Catholic "Elisaeis;" Alabaster commemorated Spenser in a Latin epitaph.
Apparatus in revelationem Jesu Christi. 1607.
De bestia apocolyptica. 1621.
Roxana. Tragaedia, olim Cantabrigiae acta. 1632.
Ecce Sponsus venit. 1633.
Spiraculum tubarum. 1633.
Lexicon pentaglotton. 1635.
Sonnets, ed. G. M. Story and Helen Gardner. 1959.
Elisaeis, tr. Michael O'Connell. Studies in Philology Texts and Studies 76 (1979).