John Evelyn describes Patrick Cary during his visit to Rome:

“….also to Mr. Patrick Cary, an Abbot, brother to our learned Lord Falkland, a witty young priest, who afterward came over to our church; …”

Saturday 5 November 1644

Note: Evelyn was incorrect – Patrick was not an abbot at this time.  Also Patrick’s brother  – the Lord Falkland (Lucius Cary) referred to in the diary- died the previous year in the Battle of Newbury.


CARY, PATRICK (fl. 1651), poet, was a younger son of Sir Henry Cary [q. v.], first viscount Falkland, by Elizabeth, only daughter and heiress of Sir Lawrence Tanfield, chief baron of the exchequer. At an early age he was sent to France, that he might be brought up in the catholic religion, to which his mother was a convert; and after staying there three years was removed to Italy, where he resided for twelve years. For some time he received a small but sufficient pension from Queen Henrietta Maria, and subsequently he was better provided for by Pope Urban VIII, who he says, ‘upon her majesty’s recommendation, conferred upon me an abbey and a priory in commendam; and besides, some pensions on other benefices, wherewith I subsisted well.’

Evelyn, being at Rome in 1644, notes that he was especially recommended to ‘Mr. Patrick Cary, an abbot, brother to our learned Lord Falkland, a witty young priest, who afterwards came over to our church.’ The diarist was mistaken, however, in supposing that the abbé was in holy orders. On 18 March 1650 Cary wrote from Brussels to Sir Edward Hyde, afterwards Earl of Clarendon, stating that he was in great distress, and that he was unwilling to take orders because of the death of his nephew, Lucius, third lord Falkland, but that if Sir Edward could not help him soon he must enter a convent. In his reply Hyde asked Cary to wait a little time. Afterwards Cary assumed the Benedictine habit at Douay, but threw it off’ within a year, his constitution not being able to bear the kind of diet which the rules enjoined. He then came to England, in the hope of obtaining a pension from his relations here. Being disappointed of this also, he desired Sir Edward Hyde’s interest to procure for him some military post in the Spanish service. His friend endeavoured, by very good arguments, to dissuade him from this course, and advised him to lie by a little while, in the expectation of some favourable change. After this it does not appear what became of him.

Mr. (afterwards Sir) Walter Scott edited, from a manuscript in the author’s autograph, ‘Trivial Poems and Triolets. Written in obedience to Mrs. Tomkin’s commands. By Patrick Carey, 20th Aug. 1651,’ London, 1820, 4to. The first part consists of ‘Trivial Ballads,’ and the second part, dated from Warnefurd. 1661, of ‘Triolets,’ hymns original and translated, and other religious poems. The author was clearly a catholic and a cavalier, and there is no reason to doubt that he was the son of the first Lord Falkland. Scott was not aware of this when he edited the poems, though he made the identification subsequently, as appears from a note in ‘Woodstock;’ neither was he aware that some of the poems had been previously published under the title of ‘Poems from a manuscript written in the time of Oliver Cromwell,’ London, 1771, 4to. This manuscript was in the possession of the Rev. Pierrepoint Cromp, and in the ‘advertisement’ to the poems it is said that ‘they appear to have been written about the middle of the last century by one Carey, a man whom we now know nothing of, and whose reputation possibly in his own time never went beyond the circle of private friendship.’ This first edition contains nine, and the second thirty-seven poems, some of which possess considerable merit.

— From Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 09 Cary, Patrick  by Thompson Cooper

Referring entries

Further reading


  • Diary,
  • DNB