Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Crosse, William

CROSSE, WILLIAM (fl. 1630), poet and translator, was born in Somersetshire about 1590, ‘the son of sufficient parents,’ and educated at St. Mary Hall, Oxford, where he graduated B.A. on 14 May 1610, M.A. on 9 July 1613, and took orders. Soon after this he left Oxford and repaired to the metropolis, ‘where,’ according to Wood, ‘he exercised his talents in history and translation, as he had before done in logic and poetry.’ In 1612 he had contributed to ‘Justa Oxoniensium’ verses on the death of Henry, prince of Wales, and in the following year to ‘ Epithalamia,’ a similar collection in honour of the marriage of the Princess Elizabeth to Frederick, count palatine. In 1625 he published a poem of small worth but of much pretension, divided into two books, and entitled ‘Belgiaes Trovbles and Trivmphs. Wherein are … related all the most famous Occurrences, which haue happened betweene the Spaniards and Hollanders in these last foure yeares Warres of the Netherlands,’ &c., 4to, London, 1625, forty leaves. Crosse had accompanied the army as chaplain to the regiment of Colonel Sir John Ogle, and in his poem he celebrates events of which he was himself an eye-witness. In the dedication of the second book he acknowledges, with some modesty, that he has written ‘rather a discourse then a poeme,’ and professes to have treated events ‘truely and historically,’ without unduly indulging in poetic license. Wood knew nothing of this performance. Crosse was engaged to supply ‘A Continuation of the Historie of the Netherlands, from … 1608 till … 1627,’ which appears at page 1276 of Edward Grimestone's ‘General Historie of the Netherlands,’ folio, London, 1627. Grimestone was at first inclined to grumble at this division of labour, ‘the printer's hast preuenting myne owne desire, having had alwayes an intent to continue what I had begun;’ but in a subsequent passage he speaks very handsomely of his coadjutor's share in the undertaking. Crosse's last known publication was a translation of Sallust, in three parts, 12mo [London], 1629. In the dedication prefixed to the second part he makes quaint allusion to the fact that ‘the royall pen of Queene Elizabeth hath beene formerly verst in this translation, but this being like to herselfe, and too good for the world, was neuer published.’ His life was passed in poverty, no better preferment having apparently fallen to his lot than wretchedly paid army chaplaincies. In 1626 he appears as ‘preacher to Sir Edward Horwood's regiment in the expedition to Cadiz;’ in 1630 as ‘preacher to the company of the Nonsuch in the last expedition to Rochelle.’ Lord Herbert of Cherbury refers to Crosse in his autobiography (ed. 1886), p. 119.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), ii. 481–2; Corser's Collectanea (Chetham Soc.), pt. iv. pp. 533–9; Collier's Rarest Books in the English Language, i. 165–7; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1625–6 p. 527, 1629–31 p. 227.]

G. G.