William Habington

Samuel Egerton Brydges, in "Character of, and extracts from Habington's Castara" Censura Literaria 7 (1808) 405-06.

As it has been insinuated, I think a little hardly, that my essays, having little relation to ancient literature, are not sufficiently connected with the primary object of this work, I shall fill the present paper with extracts from an old poet, whose compositions appear to me to have been most unjustly neglected.

William Habington, a Worcestershire gentleman, of noble alliances, flourished in the reign of Charles I. He was born at Hendlip, Nov. 4, 1605. His mother was Mary sister to William Parker, Lord Morley, and Monteagle; and is supposed to be the person who wrote the warning letter to her brother, which led to the discovery of the Gun-powder Plot. Her husband, and son were bigoted Catholics. William married Lucy daughter of William Herbert, Lord Powis, whose mother was a Percy: and this Lady, under the character of CASTARA, formed the principal subject of his poems, which were first published in 1635, 8vo. and again under the title of Castara; and had a third edition under the last title, 1640, 12mo.

They possess much elegance, much poetical fancy; and are almost everywhere tinged with a deep moral cast, which ought to have made their fame permanent. Indeed I cannot easily account for the neglect of them. I do not mean that they are not very commonly known among collectors; but the public is little acquainted with them.

The following extracts have not hitherto, I believe, been offered to the notice of modern readers. They are replete with those ethical charms which make them not ill-placed in a Ruminator.