Boys, John

, one of the translators of the Bible in the reign of James I. was son of William Bois, rector of West-Stowe, near St. Edmundsbury, in Suffolk, and bora at Nettlestead in that county, Jan. -3, 1560. He was taught the first rudiments of learning by his father; and his capacity was such, that at the age of five years he read the Bible in Hebrew, and before he was six could write it in an elegant hand. He went afterwards to Hadley school, and at fourteen was admitted of St. John’s college, Cambridge, where he distinguished himself by his skill in the Greek; and such was his diligence that we are told he would go to the university library in summer, at four in the morning, and remain till eight in the evening without any intermission. Happening to have the small-pox when, he was elected fellow, to preserve his seniority, he caused himself to be carried, wrapped up in blankets, to be admitted. He applied himself for some time to the study of medicine, but fancying himself affected with every disease he read of, he quitted that science. June 21, 1583, he was ordained deacon, and next day, by virtue of a dispensation, priest. He was ten years chief Greek lecturer in his college, and read every day. He voluntarily read a Greek lecture for some years, at four in the morning, in | liis own chamber, which was frequented by many of the fellows. On the death of his father, he succeeded him in the rectory of West Stowe; but his mother going to live with her brother, he resigned that preferment, though he might have kept it with his fellowship. At the age of thirty-six, he married the daughter of Mr. Holt, rector of Boxworth, in Cambridgeshire, whom he succeeded in that living, 1596. On quitting the university, the college gave him one hundred pounds. His young wife, who was bequeathed to him with the living, which was an advowson, proving a bad economist, and himself being wholly immersed in his studies, he soon became so much in debt, that he was forced to sell his choice collection of books to a prodigious disadvantage. The loss of his library afflicted him so much, that he thought of quitting his native country. He was, however, soon reconciled to his wife, and he even continued to leave all domestic affairs to her management. He entered into an agreement with twelve of the neighbouring clergy, to meet every “Friday at one of their houses by turns, to give an account of their studies. He usually kept some young scholar in his house, to instruct his own children, and the poorer sort of the town, as well as several gentlemen’s children, who were boarded with him. When a new translation of the Bible was, by James I. directed to be made, Mr. Bois was elected one of the Cambridge translators. He performed not only his own, but also the part assigned to another (part of the Apocrypha), with great reputation, though with little profit: for he had no allowance but his commons. The king indeed nominated him one of the fellows of his new college at Chelsea, but he never derived any benefit, as the scheme was not executed. He was also one of the six who met at Stationers-hall to revise the whole translation of the Bible, which task they went through in nine months, having each from the company of stationers during that time thirty shillings a week. He afterwards assisted sir Henry Saville in publishing the works of St. Chrysostom, and received a present of one copy of the book, for many years labour spent upon it: which however was owing to the death of sir Henry Saville, who intended to have made him fellow of Eton. In 1615, Dr. Lancelot Andrews, bishop of Ely, bestowed on him, unasked, a prebend in his church. He died 1643, in the 84th year af his age; leaving a great many manuscripts behind him, particularly a | collation of the text of the Gospels and Acts. When he was a young student at Cambridge, he received from the learned Dr. Whitaker these three rules, for avoiding those distempers which usually attend a sedentary life, to which he constantly adhered: the first was, to study always standing; the second, never to study in a window; the third, never to go to bed with his feet cold .*

*

The author of his life having shewn how indefatigable he was in his studies, enters into a very curious account of his manner of liring, which, for the sake of sedentary persons, deserves to be taken notice of. He made but two meals, dinner and supper, between which, if well, he never so much as drank. After meat he was very careful in picking and rubbing his teeth, by which means he carried them almost all to his grave. After dinner he either sat or walked an hour before he went into his study. Fasting he used occasionally, sometimes twice in a week, sometimes once in three weeks. Towards the latter end of his life he would not study after supper, but diverted himself. wiih cheerful conversation fcr two hours, at which time he would divert his friends with harmless and entertaining stories, of which he had a great fund. He had a saying in his mouth frequently, which he learned from Tully, viz. “a misspent youth leaves a spent body to old age.” According to this rule, his person, even at the time of his decease, gave evidence of his having lived virtuously and soberly in the days of his youth; for his brow was without wrinkles, his sight was quick, his hearing sharp, his countenance fresh, his head not bald, and his body perfectly sound, a rupture only excepted; which accident, when it first befel him, a person skilled in the cure of that distemper, told him he could not survive half a year, in hopes of getting a considerable sum out of him for renewing, which he pretended was in his power, of a lease so near expiring. But the doctor, either having no opinion of this man’s skill, or not thinking his own case so desperate, declined his assistance, and cl-feated his prediction, by living twenty years with. out any great inconvenience.

The work mentioned above, which Wolfius says is” Liber infrequentissimus etrarissime occurrens,“owing to very few copies having been printed, was entitled” Veteris interpretis cum Beza aliisque recentioribus Collatio in Quatuor Evangeliis et Apostolorum Actis, autore Johanne Boisio, Eccl. Eliensis Canonico, opus auspiciis rev. Praesulis Lancelot!, Winton. Episc. caeptum et perfectum," Lond. 1655, 12mo. 1
1

Biog. Brit.—Peck’s Desiderata, vol. II. where is his Life by Dr. Anthony Walker, a very curious and interesting work.—Peck’s Cromwell, Collections, p. 94.—Watson’s Halifax, p.460.—Wood’s Fasti, vol. I.