Richard Crashaw



The Complete Works of Richard Crashaw, ed. Alexander B. Grosart, 2 vols (Fuller Worthies Library, privately printed, 1872-3) and Supplement (added to Vol. I as pp. 304-20; privately printed, 1887-8).


The Poems English Latin and Greek of Richard Crashaw, ed. L. C. Martin [first edition, Oxford, 1927]; second edition (Oxford, 1957).

Steps to the Temple (1970)

Richard Crashaw, Steps to the Temple 1646 Together with selected poems in manuscript A Scolar Press facsimile (Menston, 1970).


Poems by Richard Crashaw: Steps to the Temple, Delights of the Muses and other Poems, ed. A.R. Waller (Cambridge, 1904).


John Yoklavich, ‘A Manuscript of Crashaw's Poems from Loseley’, English Language Notes, 2 (1964-5), 92-7.


Autograph Manuscripts

Richard Crashaw has left behind very few examples of his hand. The only manuscript of any of his English poems to bear traces of his hand is that of A Hymn to the Name and Honor of the Admirable Sainte Teresa and supplementary Apologie in the Pierpont Morgan Library (*CrR 65, *CrR 11). Although the main body of the text is in the stylish hand of an accomplished scribe, the title-page is largely in Crashaw's italic hand, as are occasional revisions in the main text. What would appear to be a presentation manuscript to Benjamin Laney, Master of Pembroke Hall, of Crashaw's Latin Epigrammatum sacrorum liber, now in the British Library (*CrR 337), is, again, predominantly in the hand of a scribe (although it was at one time believed to be entirely autograph). The preliminary signed dedication in prose is, however, unmistakably in Crashaw's hand.

The authenticity of these two partly autograph manuscrips may be verified from several other records of Crashaw: namely, three signatures in the official records of Peterhouse, Cambridge, in 1636 and 1642 (*CrR 453-454.5); an autograph deposition signed in 1641 in Cambridge University Archives (*CrR 450); and four autograph entries, in 1648-49, in the Account Books of the Venerable English College in Rome (*CrR 452-2).

What purported to be a further example of the signature of ‘Crashaw, poet’ was sold, along with ‘other signatures’, at Puttick and Simpson's on 2 March 1870, Lot 150, to Bupiere (see, however, CrR 76 for an example of false identification of Crashaw's autograph at this time).


A further document of biographical importance is a lengthy letter in English by ‘R.C.’, evidently Crashaw, written from Leiden, to an unnamed person, 20 February 1643/4, which was once thought to be autograph, but is now accepted as being a copy (CrR 454). Apart from dedicatory epistles in published works, no other letters by Crashaw are in fact known to exist.

Manuscript Copies of Crashaw's Verse

The editions of Crashaw's poems published in his lifetime — namely, the Epigrammatum sacrorum liber (1634) and two editions of Steps to the Temple (1646 and 1648) — with the addition of the posthumous Carmen Deo Nostro (1652) prepared by his friend Thomas Car, are supplemented by a number of contemporary manuscript copies, many of which preserve earlier versions of the poems, as well as further poems which were not published in the 17th century. Of the more notable manuscript collections recorded, one (the Bull MS: CrR Δ 4) is, like the manuscript of Epigrammatum noted above, a pre-publication presentation copy, dedicated to an unnamed lady. The Bull MS is also, interestingly enough, in the same hand as an independent copy of Sospetto d'Herode which came to light in the British Library (CrR 232). Another manuscript (the Sancroft MS: CrR Δ 1 below) is specifically described as having been ‘transcrib'd fro[m Crashaw's] own Copie, before they were printed’. This manuscript is in the hand of William Sancroft, who lived in Cambridge throughout and beyond the period of Crashaw's residence there and was an avid collector of verse, as his manuscript compilations in the Bodleian testify. It is also clear that he went out of his way on occasions to get the best and most accurate texts, as is seen in his search for one of Earles's poems (see John Earles, Introduction below). For this reason, four other texts of individual poems by Crashaw are of interest since they are found in one of the composite volumes of Sancroft's collections (now Tanner MS 466); namely, copies in his own hand of Psalme 23 (CrR 218) and Psalme 137 (CrR 221) and two more quite separate texts in unidentified hands of Sospetto d'Herode (CrR 230-1).

Yet other texts of poems are found in miscellanies, the majority of them associated with Cambridge, indicating that a number of Crashaw's poems — most notably his occasional pieces — had some degree of manuscript circulation in Cambridge society in the 1630s and 1640s. One or two of the ‘principal’ manuscript collections listed below are of less interest in that their texts probably derive from printed editions. On the other hand, the potential significance of the untraced Lovelace volume (CrR Δ 8), a volume partly made up of proof-sheets and apparently associated with Dudley Lovelace (who is otherwise not known to have had any connection with the printing of Crashaw's works), must remain undetermined until such time as the volume resurfaces. So too must the connection between this volume and the Hailstone MS (CrR Δ 6 below), whose contents are similar in part but which is a textual curiosity insofar as the compiler has constructed completely garbled versions of the poems based on an apparently random selection of lines and passages according to his own fancy.

The principal manuscript collections of Crashaw's poems may be briefly listed as follows:

Bodleian, MS Tanner 465. (‘Sancroft MS’: CrR Δ 1.) Includes 94 Latin poems ascribed to Crashaw (including three of doubtful authorship) and 101 English poems (plus a second copy of one of them) attributed to him (including one of doubtful authorship) and one Greek poem attributed to him.

British Library, Add. MS 18044. (‘Rawdon MS’: CrR Δ 2.) Includes 12 poems by Crashaw.

British Library, Add. MS 22118. (‘Thorpe MS’: CrR Δ 3.) Includes 11 poems by Crashaw (ten English, one Latin).

British Library, Add. MS 33219. (‘Bull MS’: CrR Δ 4.) Includes 87 poems by Crashaw.

British Library, Sloane MS 1925. (‘Sloane MS’: CrR Δ 5.) Includes portions of 17 English poems by Crashaw.

Folger, MS V.a.148. (‘Hailstone MS’: CrR Δ 6.) Includes versions of c.42 English poems by Crashaw.

Folger, MS L.b.708. (‘Loseley MS’: CrR Δ 7.) Includes 14 English poems and 4 Latin poems by Crashaw.

Untraced, [Lovelace/Crashaw volume]. (‘Lovelace volume’: CrR Δ 8.) Includes allegedly ‘18 numbered “Epigrams” which would seem to belong to Crashaw, though not assigned to him’.

The Canon

The canon accepted ifor present purposes is based entirely on Martin. That edition incorporates the poems ‘not printed’ which occur in the principal manuscripts. Although suggestions may arise as to possible additions to the canon in the area of printed Latin verse (see, for instance, Hilton Kelliher, ‘The Latin Poems added to Steps to the Temple in 1648’, in Essays on Richard Crashaw, ed. Robert M. Cooper (University of Salzburg, 1979), pp. 14-34), it seems to be not possible to add to Martin's version of the canon any further poems (as opposed to variant versions) found in manuscript sources. In addition to three doubtfully ascribed Latin epigrams (CrR 443-5), a Cambridge poem which Martin relegates to the category of dubia and which is found in manuscript sources — Vpon a gnatt burnt in a candle — is similarly categorized below (CrR 446-9). It is assigned to Crashaw only in the index to the Sancroft manuscript, but is elsewhere assigned to Thomas Vincent or, in one interesting instance, to Thomas Randolph.

The inclusion in the canon of four elegies and an epitaph on William Henshaw, William Carre, Lady Parker and Christopher Rouse (CrR 26, CrR 28-9, CrR 32-3, CrR 34-6, CrR 171-2) has been questioned in John Yoklavich, ‘Not by Crashaw, but Cornwallis’, MLR, 59 (1964), 517-18. Yoklavich draws attention to copies of two of the poems in the Loseley manuscripts, where they are ascribed to Philip Cornwallis (of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in 1631-4) [i.e. CrR 29, CrR 35], on the basis of which he suggests that all five poems were probably written by Cornwallis. However, against these views, the argument that the poems in question are thoroughly characteristic of Crashaw and that Cornwallis's name may have been invoked because Crashaw wrote them on his behalf (Cornwallis not being known to have written anything otherwise) would seem considerably more convincing. The matter is discussed in Sebastian Knowles, ‘“Only connect...”: Crashaw and Four Elegies in Bodleian MS. Tanner 465’, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, 81/4 (December 1987), 433-50.

Prose Works

Apart from his published dedications, no text of any of Crashaw's religious prose is known to have survived. Thus we have only the word of the biographer David Lloyd (1635-92) about ‘those thronged Sermons on each Sunday and Holiday, that ravished more like Poems…scattering not so much Sentences [as] Extasies’ (Memoires of the Lives, Actions, Sufferings & Deaths of those…Personages that Suffered…for the Protestant Religion (London, 1668), p. 618: quoted in Martin, pp. 415-16).


An exemplum of Carmen Deo Nostro (Paris, 1652) once in the library of the Feilding family, Earls of Denbigh, at Newnham Paddox in Warwickshire is mentioned in Martin, p. xi. This volume — which is of some interest in view of the fact that the work was dedicated by Thomas Car to Crashaw's patroness, Susan Feilding, first Countess of Denbigh — was sold in the Viscount Feilding sale at Christie's, 4 July 1938, lot 52, to Dormer.

An exemplum of the fourth edition of the Complete Bible in Greek (Basle, 1545), which was described as being once owned by Richard Crashaw (‘who has written his motto, Servire Deo regnare est, on the title’), was sold at Sotheby's on 12 March 1956 (J.W. Hely-Hutchinson sale), lot 81, to Quaritch. This volume, which once belonged to King Edward VI, in fact derives from the extensive library of the poet's father, William Crashaw (or Crashawe: 1572-1626) — a library discussed notably in P.J. Wallis, ‘The Library of William Crashawe’, TCBS, 2 (1954-8), 213-28, and in R.M. Fisher, ‘William Crashawe's Library at the Temple 1605-1615’, The Library, 5th Ser. 30 (1975), 116-24; and see also Andrew G. Watson, The Manuscripts of Henry Savile of Banke (London, 1969), Nos. 276, 286 and 298.

Other documents of purely biographical interest relating to Richard Crashaw, including further academic records and accounts of his stay in Italy, are cited in Martin. The letter by Queen Henrietta Maria introducing Crashaw to the Pope in 1646 is edited from an official transcript in Martin, p. xxxiii.

For Cowley's elegy on Crashaw, see Abraham Cowley, CoA 127-9, and for their verse dialogue On Hope, CoA 2-6.

An exemplum of the 1901 edition of Crashaw's English Poems annotated by George Thorn-Drury, KC (1860-1931), literary scholar and editor, is in the Bodleian Library, Thorn-Drury d. 31.

Part of the papers of Louise Imogen Guiney (1861-1920), poet and essayist, relating to ‘recusant’ poets including Crashaw, is at Holy Cross College, Worcester, Massachusetts.

Peter Beal