Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 13.djvu/40
and in a poem prefixed to Shelford's ‘Five Pious and Learned Discourses’ (1635) Crashaw denounces those who dissociate art from religious worship, or attack the papacy as ‘a point of faith.’ The career of the Spanish saint Teresa, ‘foundresse of the reformation of the discalced Carmelites, both men and women,’ who died 14 Oct. 1582 and was canonised 12 March 1622, attracted him and confirmed in him Roman catholic tendencies. But probably more responsible for the development of his religious temper was his intimacy with Nicholas Ferrar, whose community at Little Gidding, called ‘the Protestant Nunnery,’ Crashaw often visited before Ferrar's death in 1637. In 1641 Wood states that Crashaw was incorporated at Oxford, but in what degree he does not state. Wood's authority is not the university register, but ‘the private observations of a certain master of arts that was this year living in the university.’ While his religious convictions were still unsettled, the civil war broke out; the chapel at Peterhouse, whose beauty inspired many poems, was sacked 21 Dec. 1643, and the parliamentary commissioners insisted on all the fellows taking the solemn league and covenant. Crashaw, with five other friends at Peterhouse, declined the oath and was expelled. One of them was Beaumont, who retired to Hadleigh to write his poem ‘Psyche,’ and regretted that Crashaw was not with him to revise it. Crashaw meanwhile spent a short time in Oxford and London, and then made his way to Paris. Abraham Cowley, who was in Paris at the time as secretary to Lord Jermyn, had made Crashaw's acquaintance some ten years before, and he discovered Crashaw in Paris in 1646 in great distress. There can be no doubt that the poet had then formally entered the Roman catholic church. He had just addressed letters in verse to his patroness, Susan Feilding, countess of Denbigh, sister of the great Duke of Buckingham, urging her to take a like step. Cowley introduced Crashaw to Queen Henrietta Maria, then in Paris, whom Crashaw had already addressed in complimentary poems published in university collections. She readily gave him introductions to Cardinal Palotta and other persons of influence at Rome, and according to Prynne a purse was made up for him by her and other ladies. To Italy Crashaw went in 1648 or 1649. The cardinal received him kindly, but gave him no higher office than that of attendant. John Bargrave [q. v.], writing some years later, says that about 1649, when he first went to Rome, ‘there were there four revolters to the Roman church that had been fellows of Peterhouse with myself. The name of one of them was Mr. R. Crashaw, who was one of the seguita (as the term is): that is, an attendant or [one] of the followers of the cardinal, for which he had a salary of crowns by the month (as the custom is), but no diet. Mr. Crashaw infinitely commended his cardinal, but complained extremely of the wickedness of those of his retinue, of which he, having the cardinal's ear, complained to him. Upon which the Italians fell so far out with him that the cardinal, to secure his life, was fain to put him from his service, and procuring him some small employ at the Lady's of Loretto, whither he went on pilgrimage in summer time, and overheating himself, died in four weeks after he came thither, and it was doubtful whether he was not poisoned’ (Bargrave, Alexander VII, Camden Soc.) On 24 April 1649 Crashaw, by the influence of Cardinal Palotta, was admitted as beneficiary or sub-canon of the Basilica-church of Our Lady of Loreto, but he died before 25 Aug. following, when another person was appointed in his place. He was buried at Loreto. There is nothing to confirm Bargrave's hint of poison. News of his death was slow in reaching England. Prynne, in his ‘Lignea Legenda,’ 1653, who wrote with bitter contempt of Crashaw's ‘sinful and notorious apostacy and revolt,’ speaks of him as still living when his book was published, and states, with little knowledge, that ‘he is only laughed at, or at most but pitied, by his few patrons [in Italy], who, conceiving him unworthy of any preferment in their church, have given him leave to live (like a lean swine almost ready to starve) in a poor mendicant quality.’ In Dr. Benjamin Carier's ‘Missive to King James,’ reissued by N. Strange in 1649, a list of the names of recent English converts to catholicism appears, and among other entries is the following: ‘Mr. Rich. Crashaw, master of arts, of Peterhouse, Cambridge, now secretary to a cardinal in Rome, well knowne in England for his excellent and ingenious poems’ (p. 29). Cowley wrote a fine elegy to his friend's memory.
In 1646, just before Crashaw left England, a volume of his verse was published in London. It was in two parts, consisting respectively of sacred and secular poems, each with a separate title-page. The first title ran, ‘Steps to the Temple. Sacred Poems. With other Delights of the Muses,’ London (printed for T. W. by Humphrey Moseley), 1646. The second title was, ‘The Delights of the Muses and other Poems, written on severall occasions,’ with the same imprint. ‘The Preface to the Reader,’ which opens the volume, is by an anonymous friend of Crashaw, and supplies some biographical de-