1753 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Habington

Anonymous, in Cibber-Shiels, Lives of the Poets of Great Britain and Ireland (1753) 11-12.



WILLIAM HABINGTON, son of Thomas Habington, Esq; was born at Hendlip in Worcestershire, on the 4th of November 1605, and received his education at St. Omers and Paris, where he was earnestly pressed to take upon him the habit of a Jesuit; but that sort of life not suiting with his genius, he excused himself and left them. After his return from Paris, he was instructed by his father in history, and other useful branches of literature, and became, says Wood, a very accomplished gentleman. This author has written,

1. Poems, 1683, in 8vo. under the title of Castara: they are divided into three parts under different titles, suitable to their subject. The first, which was written when he was courting his wife, Lucia, the beautiful daughter of William Lord Powis, is introduced by a character, written in prose, of a mistress. The second are copies to her after marriage, by the 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.

2. The Queen of Arragon, a Tragi-Comedy, which play he shewed to Philip Earl of Pembroke, who having a high opinion of it, caused it to be acted at court, and afterwards to be published, the contrary to the author's inclination.

3. Observations on History, Lond. 1641, 8vo.

4. History of Edward IV. Lond 1640, in a thin folio, written and published at the desire of King Charles I. which in the opinion of some critics of that age, was too florid for history, and fell short of that calm dignity which is peculiar to a good historian, and which in our nation has never been more happily attained than by the great Earl of Clarendon and Bishop Burnet. During the civil war, Mr. Habington, according to Wood, temporized with those in power, and was not unknown to Oliver Cromwell; but there is no account of his being raised to any preferment during the Protector's government. He died the 30th of November, 1654 [quotation omitted].