Barnes, Joshua

, a learned divine and professor of Greek at Cambridge, was the son of a tradesman of London, where he was born Jan. 10, 1654. He was educated in Christ’s hospital, where he distinguished himself by his early knowledge of Greek, and by some poems in Latin and English, written before he went to the University. On Dec. 11, 1671, he was admitted a servitor in Emanuel college, Cambridge. In 1675 he published at London, his “Gerania;” and in June 1678 was elected fellow of his college. The following year, he published his “Poetical paraphrase on the History of Esther.” In 1686 he took the degree of B. D. and in 1688, published his life of Edward III. dedicated to king James II. In 1694, came out his edition of Euripides, dedicated to Charles duke of Somerset; and in 1695, he was chosen Greek professor of the university of Cambridge. In 1705, he published at Cambridge, his edition of Anacreon, dedicated to the duke of Marlborough and in 1710 his Homer, the Iliad dedicated to the earl of Pembroke, and the Odyssey to the earl of Nottingham. He died Aug. 3, 1712, and was buried at Hemingford, where there is a monument erected to him by his widow.

Mr. Barnes’s character has been variously represented, but always with a preponderance of the good. He had a great deal of enthusiasm in his temper, which discovered itself in various circumstances of his life. He constantly maintained, that spiritual sins, such as pride, defamation, &c. were more offensive in the eyes of God, than those which arise from a too great indulgence of the senses. He believed, that charity seldom or never passes without its reward in this life. And this opinion prevailed so far with him, that he has given his only coat to a vagrant begging at the door; and he used to relate some extraordinary retributions conferred upon him by unknown persons for his charities of this kind. He was remarkable rather for the quickness of his wit, and the happiness of his memory, than for the solidity of his judgment; upon which somebody recommended this pun (which, by the way, Menage used in his satire upon Pierre Montmaur) to be inscribed upon his monument


Joshua Barnes,

Felicis Memoriær, Judicium expectans.

He bad a prodigious readiness in writing and speaking the Greek tongue and he himself tells us in the preface to his Esther, that “he found it much easier to him to write in that language, than* in Latin or even English, since the ornaments of poetry are almost peculiar to the Greeks, and since he had for many years been extremely conversant in Homer, the great father and source of the Greek Poetry However, that his verses were not mere Cantos from that poet, like Dr. Duport’s, but formed, as far as he was able, upon his style and manner since he had no desire to be considered as a rhapsodist of a rhapsody, but was ambitious of the title of a poet.” Dr. Bentley, we are told, used to say of Joshua Barnes, that “he understood as much Greek as a Greek cobler.” This bon mot, which was first related by Dr. Salter of the Charter-house, has been explained by an ingenious writer, as not insinuating, that Barnes had only some knowledge of the Greek language. Greek was so familiar to him that he could offhand have turned a paragraph in a newspaper, or a hawker’s bill, into any kind of Greek metre, and has often been known to do so among his Cambridge friends. But with this uncommon knowledge and facility in that language, being very deficient in taste and judgment, Bentley compared his attainments in Greek, not to the erudition of a scholar, but to the colloquial readiness of a vulgar mechanic. With respect to his learning, it seems agreed that he had read a great many books, retained a great many words, and could write Greek in what is called the Anacreontic measure readily, but was very far from being a judicious or an able critic. If he had some enemies at first, his abuse and vanity did not afterwards lessen their number, though it is probable, more men laughed at, than either envied or hated him. They said he was ovo$ trfo$ *v%<xv 9 Asinus ad Lyram and perhaps it is not the worst thing Barnes ever said in reply, that they who said this of him, had not understanding enough to be poets, or wanted the b vug Ts%Q$ huqav.

In 1700, he married Mrs. Mason, a widow lady of Hemingford, near St. Ives, in Huntingdonshire, with a jointure of c200 per annum. The common report is, that this lady, who was between forty and fifty, having for some time been a great admirer of Mr. Barnes, came to | Cambridge, and desired leave to settle an hundred pounds a year upon him after her death which he politely refused, unless she would condescend to make him happy in her person^ which was none of the most engaging. The lady was too obliging to refuse any thing to “Joshua, for whom,” she said, “the sun stood still” and soon after they were married. This jointure was probably a help to him, but he had no church preferment, and bore a considerable part in the printing of some of his works, particularly his Homer. It appears that he was much involved with the expence of this work, and wrote two supplicating letters on the subject to the earl of Oxford, which are now in the British Museum, and weiae copied some years ago, and printed in the St. James’s Chronicle by George Steevens, esq. What the effect of them was, we know not but it is said that he at one time generously refused c2000 a year which was offered to be settled upon him. Upon the same authority we are told that a copy of verses which he wrote to prove that Solomon was the author of the Iliad, was not so much from the persuasion of his own mind, as to amuse his wife and by that means engage her to supply him with money towards defraying the expences of the edition. On his monument is a Latin inscription, and some Greek anacreontics by Dr. Savage, rather extravagant, but composed by way of pleasantry, and which his widow requested might be inscribed. The English translation, often reprinted, is professedly burlesque but one curious-fact is recorded on this monument, that he “read a small English Bible one hundred and twenty-one times at his leisure,” which, Mr. Cole remarks, is but once more than the learned duke de Montausier had read the Greek Testament. In one of the above-mentioned letters to Harley, he says, “I have lived in the university above thirty years fellow of a college, now above forty years standing, and fifty-eight years of age am bachelor of divinity, and have preached before kings.” How Mr. Barnes was neglected in church preferment cannot now be ascertained, but it seems not improbable that he did not seek it, his whole life being spent in study, and his only wants, those which arose from the expense of his publications. His pursuits were classical, and although from his constant perusal of the Bible, we may infer his piety, we know little of him as a divine. | The following is a Jist of Mr. Barnes’s works, published and unpublished; and from the latter, we may at least form a very high opinion of his industry. It is unnecessary, perhaps, to add that his editions of the classics are not now in the highest reputation. Their errors were pointed out in his life-time, and superior critics have in a great measure superseded the use of them. While at Christ-church he published, 1. "Sacred Poems, in five books, viz. I. Κοσμοποὖα, or the Creation of the World. II. The Fall of Adam and the Redemption by Christ. III. An Hymn to the Holy Trinity. IV. A Pastoral Eclogue upon the Restoration of King Charles II. and an Essay upon the Royal Exchange. V. Panegyris, or the Muses, &c.“These pieces are in English, with a Latin dedication, an. 1669. 2.” The Life of Oliver Cromwell, the Tyrant,“an English poem, 1670. 3. Several dramatic pieces, viz. Xerxes, Pythias and Damon, Holofernes, &c. some in English and some in Latin; the former written entirely by himself, the latter in conjunction with others. Also some tragedies of Seneca translated into English. 4.” Upon the Fire of London and the Plague,“a Latin poem in heroic verse. 5.A Latin Elegy upon the beheading of St. John the Baptist.“He afterwards published, 6.” Gerania, or a new discovery of a little sort of people called Pigmies," 1655, 12mo. 7. Αυλιχοχάτοπτρον, sive Esthers Historia, Poetica Paraphrasi, idque Græco carmine, cui versio Latina opponitur, exornata; una cum Scholiis, seu Annotationibus Græcis; in quibus (ad sacri textus dilucidationem) præter alia non pauca, Gentium Orientalium Antiquitates, Moresque reconditiores proferuntur. Additur Parodia Homerica de eadem hac Historia. Accessit Index rerum ac verborum copiosissimus,“1679, 8vo. 8.” The History of that most victorious monarch Edward III. king of England and France, and lord of Ireland, and first founder of the most noble order of the Garter; being a full and exact account of the Life and Death of the said King; together with that of his most renowned son, Edward Prince of Wales and Acquitain, surnamed the Black Prince; faithfully and carefully collected from the best and most ancient authors domestic and foreign, printed books, manuscripts, and records,“Cambridge, 1688, fol. a very elaborate collection of facts, but strangely intermixed with long speeches from his own imagination, which he thought was imitating Thucydides. | Of his judgment as an antiquary, it may be a sufficient specimen that he traced the institution of the order of the garter to the Phenicians, following his predecessor Aylet Sammes, who derives all our customs from the same ancient people. 9. HisEuripides,“1694, fol. 10.” His Anacreon,“1705 and 1721, 8vo, which he dedicated to the duke of Marlborough, who, it has been observed, knew nothing of Anacreon, or of Greek. 11. His Homer,” 2 vols. 1711, 4to. The verses he wrote proving that Solomon wrote the Iliad, are in ms. in the library of Emanuel college.

There is subjoined to the first edition of his Anacreon at Cambridge, 1705, a catalogue of works, which Mr. Barnes had either published, or intended to publish; which is omitted in the second edition of that poet, printed after his death in 1721, though it is mentioned in the contents and the prolegomena. In this catalogue, besides the books already mentioned, we find the following 1. The Warlike Lover, or the Generous Rival; an English dramatic piece upon the war between the English and Dutch, and the death of the earl of Sandwich, an. 1672. 2. ψονθομφανεὰχ, or Joseph the Patriarch a Greek heroic poem in one book. The author designed twelve books, but finished only one. 3. Ὀρειολογία, or our Saviour’s Sermon upon the Mount, the Decalogue, the Apostles Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the Magnificat, with other hymns from the Old and New Testament, in Greek verse. 4. Thuribuluna, or the hymns and festivals in Greek verse. 5. Miscellanies and epigrams in Latin and Greek verse. 6. Αγγλα Βελγομαχία, or the death of Edward Montague, earl of Sandwich, in Greek, Latin, and English verse. 7. Ἀγεκτρυομαχία, or a poem upon Cock-fighting, an, 1673. 8. The Song of Songs, containing an hundred Hexastics in English heroic verse, an. 1674. 9. SwEi^^bf@@; a ludicrous poem, in Greek macaronic verse, upon a battle between a Spider and a Toad, an. 1673. 10. $*jia3b$, or a supplement to the old ludicrous poem under that title, at Trinity-house in Cambridge, upon a battle between the Fleas and a Welshman. 11. A Poetical Lexicon, Greek and Latin to which is added a Lexicon of proper names, 1675, fol. 12. A treatise on the Greek Accents, in answer to Henry Christian Heninius and others, with a discourse upon the Points now in use. 13. Humorous Poems upon the 9th by ok of the; Iliad, and the ninth of | the Odyssey, in English published in 1681. 14. Franciados an heroic poem, in Latin, upon the Black Prince. The whole was to consist of twelve books, eight of which were finished. 15. The Art of War, in four books, in English prose, 1676. 16. Hengist, or the English Valour; an heroic poem in English, in seven books. 17. Landgarth, or the Amazon Queen of Norway and Denmark an English dramatic poem in heroic verse, designed in honour of the marriage between prince George of Denmark and princess Anne. 18. An Ecclesiastical History from the beginning of the world to the ascension of our Saviour, in Latin, to I. 19. Miscellaneous Poems in English. 20. Philosophical and Divine Poems, in Latin, published at different ‘times at Cambridge. 21. Poems, and sacred daily Meditations, continued for several years in English. 22. A dissertation upon Pillars, Obelisks, Pyramids, &c. in Latin, 1692. 23. A discourse upon the Sibyls, in three books, in Latin. 24. The Life of Pindar in four lectures, and thirty-two lectures upon his first Olympic Ode. 25. The Life of Theocritus, and lectures upon that poet. 26. The Lives of David, Scanderbeg, and Tamerlane. These lives, he tells us, he never actually begun, but only made considerable collections for them. 27. The Life of Edward the Black Prince. 28. The University- Calendar, or directions for young students of all degrees, with relation to their studies, and general rules of ethics, and a form of prayer, anno 1685. 29. Thirty-two lectures upon the first book of the Odyssey. 30. Above fifty lectures upon. Sophocles. 31. Lectures upon Bereshith, with an oration recommending the study of the Hebrew language. 32. Three Discourses in Jtnglish. I. The Fortunate Island, or the Inauguration of Queen Gloriana. II. The Advantage of England, or a sure way to victory. III. The Cause of the Church of England defended and explained published in 1703. 33. Concio ad Clerum, for his degree of bachelor of divinity, at St. Mary’s in Cambridge, 1686. 3*. Occasional Sermons, preached before the lord-mayor, &c. 35. An Oration, recommending the study of the Greek language, spoken in the public schools at Cambridge before the vice-chancellor, March 28, 1705. 36. A Greek Oration, addressed to the most reverend father Neophytus, archbishop of philippopolis, spoken in the Regent-house at Cambridge, September 13, 1701, | 37. A Prevaricator’s Speech, spoken at the commencement at Cambridge, 1680. 38. A Congratulatory Oration in Latin, spoken at St. Mary’s, September 9, 1683, upon the escape of king Charles Ji. and the duke of York from the conspiracy. 39. Sermons, orations, declamations, problems, translations, letters, and other exercises, in English, Latin, and Greek. 40. A Satire in English verse upon the poets and critics. 41. An imitation of Plautus’s Trinummi in English. 42. Interpretations, illustrations, emendations, and corrections of many passages, which have been falsely translated, with explications upon various passages of scripture, from Genesis to Revelations. 43. Common-places in divinity, philology, poetry, and criticism and emendations of various Greek and Latin authors, with fragments of many of the poets. 1


Biog. Brit.—Gent. Mag. 1779, p. 546, 640. Cole’s ms Athena in Brit. Mus. St. James’s Chronicle, Oct. 1781. Malone’s Dryckn, vol. I. p. 246, where are curious specimens of his English poetry. Tatlur, bvo edit, with notes, Vol. III. p. 193. —Saxii Onomasticon.