William Habington

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William Habington (November 4, 1605 – November 30, 1654) was an English poet. He was born at Hindlip Hall, Worcestershire, and belonged to a well-known Catholic family. His father, Sir Thomas Habington, an antiquary and historical scholar, had been implicated in the plots on behalf of Mary, Queen of Scots; his uncle, Sir Edward Habington, was beheaded in 1586 on the charge of conspiring against Elizabeth I in connection with Sir Anthony Babington; while to his mother, Mary Habington, was attributed the revelation of the Gunpowder Plot.[1]

The poet received his education in Paris and Saint-Omer. The information given by Anthony à Wood in his Athenae that Habington returned to England "to escape the importunity of the Jesuits to join their order" rests only on a vague statement made by the ex-Catholic James Wadsworth in his English Spanish Pilgrim.[2] He married about 1632 Lucy, second daughter of Sir William Herbert, 1st Baron Powis. 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, 9th Earl of Shrewsbury. The third edition (1640) contains a third part consisting of a prose character of A Holy Man and twenty-two devotional poems.[1]

He also wrote a tragi-comedy, The Queen 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).[1]


  1. ^ a b c Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Habington, William". Encyclopædia Britannica. 12 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 787. 
  2. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "William Habington". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 
  • Samuel Johnson, "The works of the English poets, from Chaucer to Cowper: including the series edited with prefaces, biographical and critical, volume 6" (J. Johnson, 1810)