Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Colman, Walter

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COLMAN, WALTER (d. 1645), poet, was descended from an ancient family in Staffordshire. His parents, being Roman catholics, sent him to the English college at Douay, Flanders, and he subsequently studied in France. He then returned to England, but afterwards returned to Douay, and entered the convent of the English Franciscans of the Strict Observance. Soon after being ordained priest he was sent to the mission. On landing he was apprehended and searched, and beingfound to be without a shirt, according to the rule of his order, he was exposed to much ridicule. In the end he was committed to prison for refusing to take the oath of allegiance; but he procured his release through the influence of friends and money, and served the mission for several years. Being again apprehended, he was, after a long imprisonment, brought to trial at the Old Bailey, with six other priests, in December 1641, and received sentence of death. By the favour of Charles I he was reprieved from time to time, and he died a lingering death in Newgate in 1645, 'continuis aerumnis et loci psedore extinctus, prse media et squalore in carcere.' There is a fine engraved portrait of him in the 'Certamen Seraphicum.'

Colman is the author of a poem in 262 stanzas, entitled 'La Dance Machabre, or Deaths Duell, by W. C.,' London [1632 or 1633], sm. 8vo. The dedication to Henrietta Maria, consort of King Charles I, is in French. This is a work of great rarity, only three or four copies being known to exist.

[Brydges's Brit. Bibl. ii. 463; Challoner's Missionary Priests (1742), ii. 247; Collier's Bibl. Account of the Rarest Books, i. 150; Collier's Cat. of the Bridgewater House Library, 69; Corser's Collectanea Anglo-Poetica, iv. 414; Dodd's Church Hist. iii. Ill; Douce's Dance of Death, 185; Gillow's Bibl. Dict. i. 536; Granger's Biog. Hist, of England (1824), ii. 386; Harl. MS. 7035, p. 190; Cat. of the Huth Library, i. 335; Lowndes's Bibl. Man. (Bohn), 502; Mason's Certamen Seraphicum, 185-97 and preface; Oliver's Catholic Religion in Cornwall, 547; Stevens's Hist, of the Antient Abbeys, i. 108.]

T. C.