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CROUCH, JOHN (fl. 1660–1681), royalist verse-writer, was probably brother of Humphrey Crouch the ballad-writer [q. v.] There were many booksellers and publishers named Crouch in London in the seventeenth century, and license was granted to one John Crouch (who is very probably the verse-writer himself) by the Stationers' Company on 26 May 1635 to publish Thomas Heywood's ‘Philocothonista’ and ‘The Christian Dictionary.’ Before the publication, however, Crouch disposed of his interest in both these works to John Raworth (Arber, Transcript, iv. 339). The Rev. Joseph Hunter, in ignorance of these facts, identified the verse-writer with a John Crouch of Lewes in Sussex, who was for a time a student at Oxford, and was in 1662 a candidate for holy orders, but sided with the ministers ejected in that year, and was therefore never ordained. ‘He never was pastor to any congregations, but sometimes preached occasionally in the country, and sometimes resided in London’ (Calamy and Palmer, Nonconf. Mem., iii. 337). The excess of loyalty to Charles II and his family displayed in all Crouch's poems makes this identification less than doubtful. In one piece of verse (dated 1680) Crouch describes himself as ‘once domestick servant’ to Robert Pierrepoint, marquis of Dorchester. Elsewhere he describes himself as ‘gent.’ His dedications to the Earl and Countess of Shrewsbury show some intimacy, and we know that he had a brother Gilbert, who was agent to the Earl of Shrewsbury in the early years of Charles II's reign (Cal. State Papers, Charles II, 1666–7, p. 422). A letter from Gilbert Crouch to Dugdale is printed in Dugdale's ‘Correspondence,’ p. 433. Crouch's usual publisher was Edward Crouch or Crowch, dwelling on Snow Hill, probably a relative. His ‘Mixt Poem,’ 1660, and ‘Muses' Joy,’ 1661, were both published by Thomas Betterton ‘at his shop in Westminster Hall,’ and he is very likely identical with the great actor. Crouch was prolific in eulogies on princes and noblemen. He wrote elegies (issued as broadsides) on the Countess of Shrewsbury (1657), on Henry, duke of Gloucester (1660), on Andrew Rutherford, earl of Teviot, killed at Tangiers (1664), and on Robert Pierrepoint, marquis of Dorchester (1681). His other works were the following little volumes of verse: 1. ‘A Mixt Poem, partly historicall, partly panegyricall, upon the happy return of his sacred majesty Charles the Second. … Not forgetting the Rump and its Appurtenances,’ Lond. (by Thomas Betterton) 1660. Dedicated to the author's brother, Captain Gilbert Crouch. 2. ‘The Muses' Joy for the Recovery of that weeping vine Henr[i]etta Maria,’ Lond. (by Thomas Betterton) 1661, dedicated to the Countess of Shrewsbury. 3. ‘Flowers strewed by the Muses against the coming of the most illustrious Infanta of Portugal, Catharina, Queen of England,’ Lond. 1662, dedicated to the Marquis of Dorchester. 4. ‘Census Poeticus, Poet's Tribute, paid in eight loyal poems,’ Lond. 1663. 5. ‘Belgica Caracteristica, or the Dutch Character, being News from Holland,’ 1665; also issued as ‘The Dutch Embargo upon their State Fleet.’ Copies usually met with bear the words ‘second impression improv'd’ on the title-page. 6. ‘Ποτήριον γλυκύπικρον, London's bitter-sweet Cup of Tears for her late Visitation and Joy for the King's return with a Complement (in the close) to France,’ 1666. 7. ‘Londinenses Lacrymæ, London's second Tears mingled with her Ashes, a Poem,’ 1666.

[Crouch's Works; W. C. Hazlitt's Handbook; Addit. MS. 24492, f. 72 (Hunter's Chorus Vatum); Brit. Mus. Cat.]

S. L. L.