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for many years had lived at Woodhall in Yorkshire; he was bred in Christ's College in Cambridge. He was a pious man, and an excellent preacher, as by some of his printed sermons doth appear. He translated all the works of master Perkins (his countryman and collegiate) into Latin, which were printed at Geneva. Doctor King, bishop of London, removed him from his native county, and bestowed a benefice on him nigh Harwich in Essex, where the change of the air was conceived to hasten his great change, which happened about the year 1616. I cannot forget how this worthy name of Drax may be resembled to the river Anas in Spain, which, having run many miles under ground, surgeth a greater channel than before. They have flourished at Woodhall aforesaid, in the parish of Darfield, ever since a co-heir of the noble family of Fitzwilliams brought that good manor (with the alternate gift of the mediety of the rich parsonage therein) in marriage into this family, as since by an heir-general it hath been alienated. But, after many various changes, this name hath recovered and increased its lustre in Sir James Drax, a direct descendant from the heirs-male, who, by God's blessing on his industry and ingenuity, hath merited much of the English nation, in bringing the sugars and other commodities of the Barbadoes to their present perfection.
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE was born at Stratford on Avon in this county; in whom three eminent poets may seem in some sort to be compounded. 1. Martial, in the warlike sound of his surname (whence some may conjecture him of a military extraction) Hasti-vibrans, or Shake-speare. 2. Ovid, the most natural and witty of all poets; and hence it was that queen Elizabeth, coming into a grammar-school, made this extemporary verse,
"Persius a crab-staffe, bawdy Martial, Ovid a fine wag." 3. Plautus, who was an exact comedian, yet never any scholar, as our Shakspeare (if alive) would confess himself. Add to all these, that though his genius generally was jocular, and inclining him to festivity, yet he could (when so disposed) be solemn and serious, as appears by his tragedies; so that Heraclitus himself (I mean if secret and unseen) might afford to smile at his comedies, they were so merry; and Democritus scarce forbear to sigh at his tragedies, they were so mournful.
He was an eminent instance of the truth of that rule, "Poeta non fit sed nascitur," (one is not made but born a poet.) Indeed his learning was very little; so that, as Cornish diamonds are not polished by any lapidary, but are pointed and smoothed even as they are taken out of the earth, so Nature itself was all the art which was used upon him.
Many were the wat-combats betwixt him and Ben Jonson; which two I behold like a Spanish great galleon and an English man-of-war master Jonson (like the former) was built far
higher in learning; solid, but slow, in his performances. Shakespeare, with the English. man-of-war, lesser in bulk, but lighter in sailing, could turn with all tides, tack about, and take advantage of all winds, by the quickness of his wit and invention. He died anno Domini 1616,* and was buried at Stratfordupon-Avon, the town of his nativity.
MICHAEL DRAYTON, born in this county at Atherston, as appeareth in his poetical address thereunto:
"My native country,
If there be virtue yet remaining in thy earth,
Or any good of thine thou breath'st into my birth,
He was a pious poet, his conscience having always the command of his fancy; very temperate in his life, slow of speech, and inoffensive in company. He changed his laurel for a crown of glory, anno 1631; and is buried in Westminster abbey, near the south door, with this epitaph:
"Do, pious marble, let thy readers know,
Protect his memory, and preserve his story,
He was born within a few miles of William Shakespeare, his countryman and fellow poet; and buried within fewer paces of Jeffrey Chaucer and Edmund Spenser.
Sir FULKE GREVIL Knight, son to Sir Fulke Grevil the elder, of Becham Court in this county. He was bred first in the university of Cambridge. He came to the court, backed with a full and fair estate; and queen Elizabeth loved such substantial courtiers as could plentifully subsist of themselves. He was a good scholar, loving much to employ (and sometimes to advance) learned men, to whom worthy bishop Overal chiefly owed his preferment, and Mr. Camden (by his own confession) tasted largely of his liberality.‡
His studies were most in poetry and history, as his works do witness. His style, conceived by some to be swelling, is allowed for lofty and full by others. King James created him baron Brook of Beauchamp Court, as descended from the sole daughter and heir of Edward Willoughby, the last lord Brook, in the reign of king Henry the Seventh.
This date was left partly blank by Dr. Fuller.-ED.
+ Song xiii. p. 213.
His sad death, or murder rather, happened on this occasion. His discontented servant, conceiving his deserts not soon or well enough rewarded, wounded him mortally; and then (to save the law the labour) killed himself, verifying the observation, "that he may when he pleaseth be master of another man's life, who contemneth his own."
He lieth buried in Warwick church, under a monument of black and white marble, whereon he is styled "servant to queen Elizabeth, counsellor to king James, and friend to Sir Philip Sidney." Dying September 30, 1628, without issue, and unmarried, his barony, by virtue of entail in the patent, descended on his kinsman Robert Grevil lord Brook, father to the right honourable Robert lord Brook.
NICHOLAS BYFIELD was born in this county (as his son* hath informed me) bred (as I remember) in Queen's College in Oxford. After he had entered into the ministry, he was invited into Ireland, to a place of good profit and eminency; in passage whereunto, staying wind-bound at Chester, his inn proved his home for a long time unto him, preaching a sermon there with such approbation, that he was chosen minister in the city; not without an especial providence, seeing the place promised in Ireland would have failed him, and his going over had been a labour in vain. The Cestrians can give the best account of his profitable preaching and pious life, most strict in keeping the Lord's-day, on which occasion pens were brandished betwixt him and Mr. Breerwood.
In his declining age he was presented to the benefice of Isleworth in Middlesex, where for fifteen years together he preached twice every Lord's-day, and expounded Scripture every Wednesday and Friday, till five weeks before his death, notwithstanding there was mors in olla (a stone in his bladder), which, being taken out, weighed, and measured after his death, was found of these prodigious proportions: 1. In weight, thirty-three ounces and more: 2. In measure about the edge, fifteen inches and a half: 3. In measure about the length, thirteen inches and above: 4. In measure about the breadth, almost thirteen inches.† It was of a solid substance to look upon, like a flint. "Lo, here is the patience of the saints." All I will add is this, the Pharisee said proudly, "I thank thee, Lord, I am not as this Publican." Let writer and reader say humbly and thankfully to God, "We are not as this truly painful preacher; and let us labour, that, as our bodies are more healthful, our souls may be as holy as his," who died and was buried at Isleworth.
[S. N.] PHILEMON HOLLAND, where born is to me unknown, was bred in Trinity College in Cambridge a doctor in
* Mr. Adoniram Byfield, who promised to leave larger instructions of his father's life; but I received them not.-F.
† Dr. Gouge's Preface to Posthume Works of Mr. Byfield.
physic, and fixed himself in Coventry. He was the translator general in his age, so that those books alone of his turning into English will make a country gentleman a competent library for historians; insomuch that one saith,
"Holland with his translations doth so fill us,
He will not let Suetonius be Tranquillus."
Indeed some decry all translators as interlopers, spoiling the trade of learning, which should be driven amongst scholars alone. Such also allege, that the best translations are works rather of industry than judgment, and (in easy authors) of faithfulness rather than industry; that many be but bunglers, forcing the meaning of the authors they translate, "picking the lock when they cannot open it."
But their opinion presents too much of envy, that such gentlemen who cannot repair to the fountain should be debarred access to the stream. Besides, it is unjust to charge all with the faults of some; and a distinction must be made amongst translators, betwixt coblers and workmen, and our Holland had the true knack of translating.
Many of these his books he wrote with one pen, whereon he himself thus pleasantly versified :
"With one sole pen I writ this book,
Made of a grey goose quill;
This monumental pen he solemnly kept, and shewed to my reverend tutor Doctor Samuel Ward. It seems he leaned very lightly on the nib thereof, though weightily enough in another sense, performing not slightly but solidly what he undertook.
But what commendeth him most to the praise of posterity is, his translating Camden's Britannia, a translation more than a translation, with many excellent additions, not found in the Latin, done fifty years since in Master Camden's life-time, not only with his knowledge and consent, but also, no doubt, by his desire and help. Yet such additions (discoverable in the former part with asterisks in the margin) with some antiquaries obtain not equal authenticalness with the rest. This eminent translator was translated to a better life, anno Domini 1636.*
FRANCIS HOLYOAKE (Latining himself de sacrâ Quercu), and minister of Southam, born at Whitacre in this county. He set forth that stable-book which school-boys called "Rider's Dictionary." This Rider did borrow (to say no worse) both his saddle and bridle from Thomas Thomatius, who, being bred fellow of King's College in Cambridge, set forth that dictionary known by his name; than which, men have not a better and truer; children no plainer and briefer. But Rider, after
*The date left blank by Dr. Fuller.-ED.
Thomas's death, set forth his dictionary, the same in effect, under his own name, the property thereof being but little disguised with any additions.
Such plagiaryship ill becometh authors or printers; and the dove being the crest of the Stationers' arms, should mind them, not (like rooks) to filch copies one from another. The excutors of Thomas Thomasius entering an action against Rider, occasioned him, in his own defence, to make those numerous additions to his dictionary, that it seems to differ rather in kind than degree from his first edition.
I am forced to place this child, rather with his guardian than father; I mean, to mention this dictionary rather under the name of Master Holyoake than Rider, both because the residence of the latter is wholly unknown to me, and because Mr. Holyoake added many (as his learned son hath since more) wonders thereunto. This Master Holyoake died October 2, anno Domini 1661.
JAMES CRANFORD was born at Coventry in this county (where his father was a divine and school-master of great note); bred in Oxford, beneficed in Northamptonshire; and afterwards removed to London, to Saint Christopher's. A painful preacher and exact linguist, subtil disputant, orthodox in his judgment, sound against sectaries, well acquainted with the Fathers, not unknown to the schoolmen, and familiar with the modern divines. Much his humility, being James the Less in his own esteem, and therefore ought to be the greater in ours. He had, as I may say, a broad-chested soul, favourable to such who differed from him. His moderation increased with his age, charity with his moderation; and he had a kindness for all such who had any goodness in themselves. He had many choice books, and (not like to those who may lose themselves in their own libraries, being owners, not masters, of their books therein) had his books at such command as the captain has his soldiers, so that he could make them, at pleasure, go or come, and do what he desired. This lame and loyal Mephibosheth (as I may term him) sadly sympathising with the suffering of church and state, died rather infirm than old, anno 1657.
ROMISH EXILE WRITERS.
WILLIAM BISHOP was born in this county, saith my author,* ex nobili familia. Inquiring after his surname in this shire, I find one John Bishop, gentleman, patron of Brails in this county, who died anno 1601, aged 92, being a Protestant, as appeareth by his epitaph ;† who, according to proportion of time, might in all probability be his father, the rather because he is * Pits, de Illustribus Angliæ Scriptoribus, in anno 1612. † Mr. Dugdale, in his Illustrations of Warwickshire.