Richard Corbet

Ivor Griffiths, Poet, Novelist & Short Story Writer

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Richard Corbet or Corbett (1582 - 1635) was an English poet of the metaphysical school who, although highly praised in his own lifetime, is relatively obscure today.

The son of a gardener, was educated at Westminster School and Oxford, and entered the Church, in which he obtained many preferments, and rose successively to be Bishop of Oxford and Bishop of Norwich .

Corbet was noted as a practical joker and considered rather scatter-brained. He was celebrated for his wit, which sometimes classed as buffoonery. Reportedly, he was to give a sermon before James I and was so entertained playing with a ring the King gave him that he forgot the sermon altogether.

He knew both John Donne and Ben Jonson. His poems, which are often mere doggerel, were not published until after his death. They include Journey to France, Iter Boreale, the account of a tour from Oxford to Newark, and the Farewell to the Fairies. He wrote numerous ballads, which he would also sing.

  • Kenner, Hugh, ed. Seventeenth Century Poetry. New York: Rinehart Editions, 1964.
  • Corbett, Richard. Poems. J.A.W. Bennett and H. R. Trevor-Roper, eds. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1955.
Preceded by
Francis White
Bishop of Norwich
Succeeded by
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