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On the Baptized Ethiopian

Richard Crashaw 1612 (London) – 1649 (Loreto, Marche)

Let it no longer be a forlorn hope
To wash an Ethiop :
He's wash'd, his gloomy skin a peaceful shade
For his white soul is made :
And now, I doubt not, the Eternal Dove
A black-faced house will love.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Richard Crashaw

Richard Crashaw, was an English poet, styled "the divine," and known as one of the central figures associated with the Metaphysical poets in 17th Century English literature. The son of a prominent Puritan minister, Crashaw was educated at Charterhouse School and Pembroke College, Cambridge. After taking a degree, Crashaw began to publish religious poetry and to teach at Cambridge. During the English Civil War he was ejected from his college position and went into exile in Italy. While in exile he converted from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism. Crashaw's poetry is firmly within the Metaphysical tradition. Though his oeuvre is considered of uneven quality and among the weakest examples of the genre, his work is said to be marked by a focus toward "love with the smaller graces of life and the profounder truths of religion, while he seems forever preoccupied with the secret architecture of things." more…

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