Pricket, Robert (DNB00)

PRICKET, ROBERT (fl. 1603), poet, saw some military service in Elizabeth's reign, and afterwards sought a precarious livelihood as a verse-writer and pamphleteer against the catholics. His earliest production he describes as a ‘Love Song’ on the death of Queen Elizabeth, but it does not appear to have been printed (Times Anatomie). His first extant publication was a prose tract, panegyrising Queen Elizabeth and James I, and denouncing the pope and papists. It was entitled ‘Unto … his Sovereign Lord King James a poor Subject sendeth a Souldier's Resolution,’ London (by John Windet for Walter Barre), 1603. It was dedicated to the king, to whom Pricket presented a copy in person (Brit. Mus. and Bodleian Library). There followed in verse ‘A Souldier's Wish unto the Sovereign Lord King James,’ 4to, 1603 (by John Hanson), with some lines at the close dedicated to the lord mayor of London and his brethren (Brit. Mus. and Bodleian). In 1604 Pricket secured a wider fame by a poetic tribute to the memory of the second Earl of Essex, called ‘Honors Fame in Triumph riding. Or the Life and Death of the late Honourable Earle of Essex,’ London (by R. B. for Roger Jackson), 1604, 4to. It was dedicated to the Earls of Southampton and Devonshire and William, Lord Knollys. A copy of the rare volume is in the Bodleian Library, and it was reprinted in Dr. Grosart's ‘Miscellanies.’ Pricket referred with satisfaction to the disgrace of Cobham, Grey, and Raleigh, but the praise he bestowed on Essex led to his imprisonment by order of the privy council. He appealed to Lord Salisbury, who soon procured his release, and he sought to atone for his offence in ‘Times Anatomie. Containing the poore Man's Plaint, Britton's Trouble and her Triumph, the Pope's Pride, Rome's Treasons, and her Destruction. Made by Robert Pricket, a Souldier,’ London (by George Eld), 1606, 4to. This was dedicated to the privy council. The first part had been written in 1604; it is a bitter attack on the catholics. The volume is throughout in heroic verse, and concludes with ‘a song rejoicing for our late deliverance from the Gunpowder Plot,’ in six stanzas. Pricket's protestant zeal steadily increased, and in 1607 he sent forth not only ‘The Jesuits Miracles, or New Popish Wonders,’ 4to, a diatribe in verse against Garnet and Parsons, with Garnet's portrait on the title-page, but also a pamphlet entitled ‘The Lord Coke his Speech and Charge, with a Discoverie of the Abuses and Corruptions of Officers,’ London, (by N. Butter). In the dedication to the latter, signed ‘R. P.’ and addressed to Coke's father-in-law, the Earl of Exeter, Pricket described himself as ‘a poore, despised, pouertiestricken, hated, scorned, and vnrespected souldier,’ and represented the pages that follow as a faithful report of a charge given by Coke to the grand jury at the Norwich assizes on 4 Aug. 1606. But Pricket, although he seems to have heard Coke deliver his charge, only embodied a few vague reminiscences, and is himself responsible for the tract, which is mainly an intemperate vilification of the catholics. Coke repudiated any share in the volume in the preface to the seventh part of his ‘Reports’ (Notes and Queries, 1st ser. viii. 376, 433–4).

About the same period Pricket, according to his own account, took holy orders. One ‘Robert Prickett, A. M.,’ was curate of St. Botolph, Aldgate, in the spring of 1611 (Newcourt, Diocese of London, i. 916). The author obtained some preferment in Ireland, whence he was driven by the rebellion of 1641. In great distress he sought refuge in Bath, and there, in 1645, wrote ‘Newes from the King's Bath,’ in verse. This he printed at his own charge. He must then have been well past sixty. On very slender grounds the anonymous ‘Stipendariæ Lachrymæ’ (Hague, 1654, 4to), an elegy on Charles I, has been assigned to him.

[Collier's Bibl. Cat. ii. 187–93; Brydges's Restituta, pp. 445–50; Cal. State Papers, 1603–1610, p. 4; Hunter's manuscript Chorus Vatum; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. ii. 469, 6th ser. ii. 235.]

S. L.