1866 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Habington

John Payne Collier, "Castara" in Bibliographical and Critical Account of the Rarest Books (1866) 2:99-102.



This is the first edition of a collection of poems deservedly admired for their purity and grace, rather than for their force or originality. The second edition was published in the next year, and the third in 1640. They are preceded by an address of five pages, headed "The Author," but Habington did not put his name to the volume. When he remarks of English poetry in general, "she hath in her too much air and (if without offence to our next transmarine neighbour) she wantons too much according to the French garb," he is referring to the poetry which had made its appearance within about ten years before he published Castara. The "second part," hardly as good as the first, begins upon sign. G 3.

Castara was Lucia, the daughter of Lord Powis, and she became Habington's wife. The year of their marriage is not known, but in one of his poems, as they appeared in the third impression, Habington speaks of Lucia as Castara. He was a Roman Catholic, was born on the day of the Gunpowder Plot, and died in his forty-ninth year.