Richard Crashaw was the son of a staunch Puritan preacher. He was educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge, from where he graduated in 1634 going on to become a fellow of Peterhouse.
After the English Civil War he became a Roman Catholic and left England for France. Introduced to the French Queen, Henrietta Maria, by his friend Abraham Cowley, another
Crashaw's principal poetic work was the Steps to the Temple, a collection of religious poems published in 1646. Attached to this was a non-religious section entitled Delights of the Muses, which contains his best-known poem Wishes to his Supposed Mistress. After his death his friend Miles Pinkney published a more complete volume of his works, Carmen Deo Nostro.