THIS STUDY OFFERS a catalogue raisonné of the symbolic imagery in the sacred poetry of Richard Crashaw. It embodies the results of an intensive rather than extensive analysis of the sacred poems attempting to discover the breadth of meaning that the religious symbols had for Crashaw and to show how the several symbols and poems interrelate. The dissection will no doubt seem often supererogatory, for completeness has been thought desirable even at the risks of repetition and of explicating the obvious.
The basic text for the inquiry has been L. C. Martin edition, The Poems English Latin and Greek of Richard Crashaw ( Second Edition. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957). The method of reference should be explained. For short poems: after the page number a large Roman numeral indicates the position of the poem on the page; no titles are given. For long poems: after the page number a small Roman numeral indicates the stanza, Arabic numerals (preceded by 1. or 11.) refer to lines; short titles are given.
Specific citations to the writings of Dionysius, St. Teresa, St. John of the Cross, Southwell, Donne, Herbert, and Vaughan are made (in brackets) to the standard editions. After a reference to the Book of Common Prayer, "etc." means "and later editions."
I have followed the printing conventions of the original editions (as found in Martin) though producing thereby an anomaly. The English printer of Crashaw's 1646 volume practiced modern stlying for i, j, u, v; the French printer of the 1652 volume practiced old styling. One change has been made: the italic type of the 1634 Latin collection and of a few English poems has been represented by roman.
The study was originally compiled as a master's thesis at the University of Virginia, teneræ ætatis flores. It has been revised and rewritten, but its scope and intent remain the same. I am indebted for considerable assistance to Professors Fredson Bowers and the late Dan Norton, the directors of the thesis. Mr. Bowers and Professor Cyrus Hoy have been good enough to read the final version; had I felt capable of following all their suggestions, the volume would have been worthier of their approval.