1831 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Habington

Robert Southey, in British Poets, Chaucer to Jonson (1831) 975.



This amiable man, and irreproachable Poet, was born at Hindlip, in Worcester, on the 5th of November, 1605, — a most memorable day in the history of the Habington family; for they were Papists. The discovery of the gunpowder plot is believed to have come from his mother; and his father, who had been six years imprisoned for his supposed concern in Babington's conspiracy, was condemned to die for concealing some of the gunpowder traitors in his house. Whether or not he had actually been so far implicated in their legal guilt is not certain; but he owed his pardon to the intercession of his brother-in-law, Lord Morley.

They were a wealthy family. William was educated in the Jesuit College of St. Omer's, and afterwards at Paris, in the hope that he might enter into that society. But he preferred a wiser, and better, and happier, course of life; and, returning to his own country, married Lucy, daughter of William Herbert, first Lord Powis, the Castara of his poems. He died when he had just compleated his fortieth year, and was buried in the family vault at Hindlip. The poems were introduced, for the first time, into a general collection, by Mr. Chalmers, most properly. He appears in them to have thoroughly deserved the happiness which during his life he enjoyed.