John Abbot (1623-1647 fl.) was an English poet and Roman Catholic clergyman.


Abbot was educated at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, earning a B.A. in 1606 or 1607, an M.A. in 1610, and B.D. a in 1617.[1]

Having embraced the Catholic religion, he retired to the Continent, and in 1623 was a member of the convent of St. John the Baptist at Antwerp.[1]

On returning to England he was in Jesuit orders for a while, before working as a secular priest. In 1635 he was imprisoned in the Gatehouse at the Palace of Westminster. He was released within a year, but in 1637 he was again arrested, and seems to have spent the rest of his life in prison. He was, along with other Catholic priests, condemned to death in 1641, but the conviction was never executed, and he appears to have died in prison in 1650.


Abbot is the author of a very scarce poetical work, entitled Jesus Præfigured; or, A poeme of the Holy Name of Jesus, in five bookes (the first and second bookes), by John Abbot, Permissu Superiorum, 1623, 4to. It is believed that no further portion of this almost unique poem was printed. The volume has 2 dedications: the primary dedication to Charles, Prince of Wales, in verse, signed with the author’s name; the 2nd in the Spanish language, addressed ‘Á la serenissima Señora Doña Maria de Austria, Infanta de España, Princessa de Gales,’ dated from the convent of St. John the Baptist at Antwerp, 12 Nov. 1623. The date is remarkable as tending to prove that the news of the rupture of the match had not reached the last-named city at that date, and readily accounts for the work not being continued through the other 3 books. (Charles left Madrid 8 Sept. O.S. 1623.)[1]

Abbot's best known work is his poem Devout Rhapsodies (2 vols., 1647), about the war in heaven and the temptation and fall of man. The work can be seen as a precursor of Milton's Paradise Lost.

Publications Edit

  • Iesus Praefigured; or, A poëme of the holy name of Iesus in five bookes: The first, and second booke. [Antwerp?], 1623.
  • The Sad Condition of a Distracted Kingdome: Expressed, in a fable of Philo the Jew.. London: B.A., 1645.
  • Devout Rhapsodies: In which, is treated, of the excellencie of divine Scriptures. (2 volumes), London: Thomas Harper, for Daniel Frere, 1647.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[2]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Cooper, 21.
  2. Search results = au:John Abbot, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, July 3, 2016.

External linksEdit

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