BRATHWAIT, RICHARD (1588-1673), English poet, son of Thomas Brathwait, was born in 1588 at his father's manor of Burneshead, near Kendal, Westmorland. He entered Oriel College, Oxford, in 1604, and remained there for some years, pursuing the study of poetry and Roman history. He removed to Cambridge to study law and afterwards to London to the Inns of Court. Thomas Brathwait died in 1610, and the son went down to live on the estate he inherited from his father. In 1617 he married Frances Lawson of Nesham, near Darlington. On the death of his elder brother, Sir Thomas Brathwait, in 1618, Richard became the head of the family, and an important personage in the county, being deputy-lieutenant and justice of the peace. In 1633 his wife died, and in 1639 he married again. His only son by this second marriage, Sir Stafford Brathwait, was killed in a sea-fight against the Algerian pirates. Richard Brathwait's most famous work is Barnabae Itinerarium or Barnabees Journall , by "Corymbaeus," written in English and Latin rhyme. The title-page says it is written for the "travellers' solace" and is to be chanted to the old tune of "Barnabe." The story of "drunken Barnabee's" four journeys to the north of England contains much amusing topographical information, and its gaiety is unflagging. Barnabee rarely visits a town or village without some notice of an excellent inn or a charming hostess, but he hardly deserves the epithet "drunken." At Banbury he saw the Puritan who has become proverbial,
"Hanging of his cat on Monday
For killing of a Mouse on Sunday."
Brathwait's identity with "Corymbaeus" was first established by Joseph Haslewood. In his later years he removed to Catterick, where he died on the 4th of May 1673. Among his other works are: The Golden Fleece (1611), with a second title-page announcing "sonnets and madrigals," and a treatise on the Art of Poesy, which is not preserved; The Poets Willow; or the Passionate Shepheard (1614); The Prodigals Teares (1614); The Schollers Medley, or an intermixt Discourse upon Historicall and Poeticall relations (1614), known in later editions as a Survey of History (1638, etc.); a collection of epigrams and satires entitled A Strappado for the Divell (1615), with which was published incongruously Loves Labyrinth (edited, 1878, by J.W. Ebsworth); Natures Embassie; or, the wildemans measures; danced naked by twelve satyres (1621), thirty satires finding antique parallels for modern vices; with these are bound up The Shepheards Tales (1621), a collection of pastorals, one section of which was reprinted by Sir Egerton Brydges in 1815; two treatises on manners, The English Gentleman (1630) and The English Gentlewoman (1631); Anniversaries upon his Panarete (1634), a poem in memory of his wife; Essaies upon the Five Senses (1620); The Psalmes of David ... and other holy Prophets, paraphras'd in English (1638); A Comment upon Two Tales of ... Jeffray Chaucer (1665; edited for the Chaucer Soc. by C. Spurgeon, 1901). Thomas Hearne, on whose testimony (MS. collections for the year 1713, vol. 47, p. 127) the authorship of the Itinerarium chiefly rests, not inappropriately called him "the scribler of those times," and the list just given of his works, published under various pseudonyms, is by no means complete.
A full bibliography is given in Joseph Haslewood's edition of Barnabee's Journall (ed. W.C. Hazlitt, 1876). See also J. Corser, Collectanea (Chetham Soc., 1860, etc.).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)