CHAPTER VIII
WILLIAM CRASHAW'S INFLUENCE ON HIS SON

THE WILL of Crashaw's father, William, a minister, as Anglican clergymen were then commonly called, of Yorkshire birth who held a Yorkshire living--Agburton-- and at the time of his death was rector of St. Mary Matfellon, Whitechapel, contains his final profession of anti-Catholic faith. "I account [popery] as now it is, the heap and chaos of all heresies and the channel whereinto the foulest impieties and heresies that have been in the Christian world have run and closely emptied themselves.""I believe the Pope's seat and power to be the power of the great Antichrist and the doctrine of the Pope, as now it is, to be the doctrine of Antichrist, yea, that doctrine of devils prophecied of by the Apostle, and that the true and absolute Papist so living and dying debars himself of salvation for aught that we know."

The latest notice we have of his son, the poet, is the record of his death at Loretto as a Canon of the Holy House "strengthened by Holy Unction" and the burial of his body "in the priests' sepulchre". A long road was traversed between the religion of his father, with which he began, to his end as a priest of the Church so hated by his father. It is not surprising that students of Crashaw have seen his entire course as a reaction against his father's religion--not only his final Catholicism, but his Anglicanism of the Laudian School--and have regarded his father as representing the opposite doctrinal pole to Catholicism, that is to say, as a Puritan such as those who--Presbyterian or Independent--later overthrew the Anglican Church in favour of their more radical forms of Protestantism. This view is a misconception. The poet departed from his father only as he began to turn away from Anglicanism, and his earlier Anglican religion, far from being a reaction against his father's Puritanism, was substantially in agreement with his belief. That is to say his father's religion was in fact not just a starting point from which his son immediately began to depart, but the determining influence

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