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William Habington

Born: 4-Nov-1605
Birthplace: Hendlip Hall, Worcestershire, England
Died: 30-Nov-1654
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Poet, Author

Nationality: England
Executive summary: Castara

English poet and author, born at Hendlip Hall, Worcestershire, on the 4th of November 1605. He belonged to a well-known Catholic family. His father, Thomas Habington, an antiquary and historical scholar, had been implicated in the plots on behalf of Mary Queen of Scots; his uncle, Edward Habington, was hanged in 1586 on the charge of conspiring against Elizabeth in connection with Anthony Babington; while to his mother, Mary Habington, was attributed the revelation of the Gunpowder Plot. The poet was sent to the college at St. Omer, but, pressure being brought to bear on him to induce him to become a Jesuit, he removed to Paris. He married about 1632 Lucy, second daughter of Sir William Herbert, first Baron Powys. This lady he had addressed in the volume of lyrical poems arranged in two parts and entitled Castara, published anonymously in 1634. In 1635 appeared a second edition enlarged by three prose characters, fourteen new lyrics and eight touching elegies on his friend and kinsman, George Talbot. The third edition (1640) contains a third part consisting of a prose character of "A Holy Man" and twenty-two devotional poems. Habington's lyrics are full of the farfetched "conceits" which were fashionable at court, but his verse is quite free from the prevailing looseness of morals. Indeed his reiterated praises of Castara's virtue grow wearisome. He is at his best in his reflective poems on the uncertainty of human life and kindred topics. He also wrote a Historie of Edward the Fourth (1640), based on notes provided by his father; a tragi-comedy, The Queene of Arragon (1640), published without his consent by his kinsman, the earl of Pembroke, and revived at the Restoration; and six essays on events in modern history, Observations upon History (1641). Anthony Wood insinuated that during the Commonwealth the poet "did run with the times, and was not unknown to Oliver the usurper." He died on the 30th of November 1654.

Father: Thomas Habington (scholar, b. 1560, d. 1647)
Mother: Mary Habington
Wife: Lucy Herbert (m. 1632)

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