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John Abbot

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John Abbot (1587/1588 – c. 1650) was an English Roman Catholic priest and poet. Nobody knows where he was born, he might have been from either London or Leicester. Abbot was from a strongly Protestant family because he was the nephew of George Abbot, the Archbishop of Canterbury, but after being educated at Balliol College, Oxford, he travelled to the European continent where he was converted to Roman Catholicism. On returning to England he was in Jesuit orders for a while, before working as a priest. In 1635 he was put in jail. He was released within a year, but in 1637 he was again arrested, and spent the rest of his life in prison.

His best known work is his poem Devout Rhapsodies (2 vols., 1647), about the war between Good and Evil and the temptation and fall of man.

Selected works

  • Jesus Praefigured (1623)
  • The Sad Condition of a Distracted Kingdome (1645)
  • Devout Rhapsodies (2 vols., 1647)


  • Jordan, Richard D., "Abbot, John", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (Oxford, 2004)