1691 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Habington

Gerard Langbaine, in Account of the English Dramatick Poets (1691) 243-44.



A Gentleman that liv'd in the Time of the late Civil Wars; and slighting Bellona, gave himself up entirely to the Muses. He was equally famous for History, and Poetry, of which his Edward the Fourth, and Castara, are sufficient Testimonies. Mr. Kirkman (who was very knowing in Plays,) has ascribed a Dramatick Piece to him, which gives us occasion to speak of him; 'tis call'd,

Queen of Aragon, a Tragi-comedy, acted at Court, and the Black-Fryars; and printed fol. Lond. 1640. Tho' the Author's Name be not prefix'd to the Title-page, yet I have that confidence in Mr. Kirkman's Judgment as to believe this Play to be writ by him.

His other Poems are all printed together 8o and go under the Title of Castara; they are divided into three parts, under a different Title suitable to their Subject. The first, which was writ when he was a Suitor to his Wife, is usher'd in, by a Character writ in Prose, of a Mistress: The second, being Copies writ to her after Marriage, by a Character of a Wife: After which is a Character of a Friend, before several Funeral Elegies. The third part consists of Divine Poems, some of which are Paraphrases on several Texts out of Job and the Book of Psalms: before which is the Portraict of a Holy Man. I know not when those Poems were first printed, but the last Edition which I have by me augmented and corrected, was printed 8vo. Lond. 1640 and his Poetry is commended by his Friend and Kinsman, Mr. John Talbot.

I know nothing that he has writ in Prose, except his Chronicle of K. Edward the Fourth, printed in fol. Lond. 1640. Of what esteem it is in the World, is well known to Historians.