Alabaster, William

(1567-1640)
   Dr. Johnson compared Alabaster's tragic poem "Roxana" (1632) with the later poems of John Milton. Because of his pamphlet Seven Motives, outlining the reasons for his conversion to Roman Catholicism, he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. And following another publication, he was sentenced by the Spanish Inquisition to five years in prison. On escaping to England and reconverting to Protestantism, he was once more in favor with King James I, who named him doctor of divinity at Cambridge in 1614. Alabaster became chaplain to the king in 1618. "Though all forsake thee, Lord, yet I will die"-based on Matthew 26:34-taps into how Peter might have felt at the trial of Christ when he denied Him.
   Sources: Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite DVD, 2006. Oldpoetry (www.oldpoetry.com). Sonnet Central (www.sonnets.org). The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry. Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000.

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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