A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Southwell, Robert

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Southwell, Robert (1561?-1595). -- Poet, b. at Horsham St. Faith's, Norfolk, of good Roman Catholic family, and ed. at Douay, Paris, and Rome, he became a Jesuit, and showed such learning and ability as to be appointed Prefect of the English Coll. In 1586 he came to England with Garnett, the superior of the English province, and became chaplain to the Countess of Arundel. His being in England for more than 40 days then rendered him liable to the punishment of death and disembowelment, and in 1592 he was apprehended and imprisoned in the Tower for three years, during which he was tortured 13 times. He was then put on trial and executed, February 22, 1595. He was the author of St. Peter's Complaint and The Burning Babe, a short poem of great imaginative power, and of several prose religious works, including St. Mary Magdalene's Teares, A Short Rule of Good Life, The Triumphs over Death, etc.