Farnabie, Thomas

, a learned grammarian, was born in London about 1575. His father was a carpenter in that city his grandfather had been mayor of Truro in Cornwall and his great-grandfather was an Italian musician, who had settled in England.*


There was a Giles Farnaby, a musician, who was a contemporary with our author, and of whom some notice is taken in our musical histories, but could not be the person mentioned above.

After having received a proper grammatical education, he was admitted of Merton-college, Oxford, in the beginning of 1590, where he became servitor to Mr. Thomas French, fellow of that college, and soon distinguished himself as a youth of lively parts and great hopes. Being, however, of an unsettled disposition, he abruptly quitted the university, and, abandoning both his religion and his country, passed | over to Spain, and was for some time educated there in a college belonging to the Jesuits. At length, growing weary of the severe discipline of the institution, he found a way to leave it, and went with sir Francis Drake and sir John Hawkins in their last voyage, in 15^5. By the former of these great naval commanders he is said to have been held in some esteem. Mr. Farnabie is afterwards reported to have served as a soldier in the Low Countries. No advantage was gained by him in these expeditions; for, having been reduced to much distress, he landed in Cornwall, and from the urgency of his necessities was obliged to descend to the humble employment of teaching children their horn-book. Whilst he was in this low situation he did not cbuse to go by his own name, but changed it to Thomas Baimafe, the anagram of Farnabie. By degrees he rose to those higher occupations of a school-master for which he was so well qualified, and after some lime, he fixed at Martock in Somersetshire, where he taught a grammarschool with great success. In 1646, when Mr. Charles Darby was called to teach the same school, he found in that town, and the neighbourhood, many persons who had been Mr. Farnahie’s scholars, and who, in their grey hairs, were ingenious men and good grammarians. From Martock Mr. Farnabie removed to London, and opened a school in Goldsmiths’-rents, behind Red-Cross-street, near Cripplegate, where were large gardens and handsome houses, together with all the accommodations proper for the young noblemen and gentlemen committed to his care. So established was his reputation, that at one time the number of his scholars amounted to more than three hundred. Whilst he was at the head of this school, he was created master of arts in the university of Cambridge, and on the 24th of April, 1616, was incorporated to the same degree at Oxford.

After a course of years, on account of some differences with his landlords, and the frequent sicknesses which occurred in the city, Mr. Farnabie determined, in 1636, to quit London, and reside at Sevenoaks in Kent, in the neighbourhood of which town (at Otford) he had purchased an estate. Here he renewed his former occupation, and, from the number of noblemen’s and gentlemen’s sons who boarded with him, grew o rich as to add considerably to his landed property. One of the estates purchased by him was near Horsham in Sussex. His works, which have transmitted | his name with honour to posterity, were not only well received at home, but abroad, and have been applauded by several eminent foreign scholars. When the civil commotions broke out, in 1641, our author was esteemed to be ill-affected to the parliament, because, on occasion of the protestation’s being urged that year, he had said, that “it was better to have one king than five hundred.” Being afterwards suspected of having favoured the rising of the county for the king about Tunbridge, in 1643, he was imprisoned in Newgate, and thence carried on shipboard. It was even debated in the house of commons whether he should be sent to America; but this motion being rejected, he was removed to Ely-house in Holborn, where he remained for a considerable time. It is insinuated by Anthony Wood, that some of the members of both houses, who had been his scholars, were amongst those who urged his being treated with severity. Mr. Farnabie departed this life on the twelfth of June, 1647, aged seventy-two, and was interred in the chancel of the church ut Sevenoaks. He was twice married. His first wife was Susanna, daughter of John Pierce, of Launcells, in Cornwall, gent. By her he had a son named John, who becaoie a captain in king Charles’s army, and inherited his father’s estate in Sussex, where he lived in good esteem, and died about the beginning of 1673. Mr. Farnabie’s second wife was Anne, the daughter of Dr. John Howson, bishop of Durham, by whom he had several children. One of them, Francis", succeeded to his father’s estate at Kippington, in the parish of Sevenoaks. From this gentleman Anthony Wood derived his information concerning the particulars of our famous school-master’s life, and asserts that he was the chief grammarian, rhetorician, poet, Latinist, and Grecian, of his time. Wood adds, that his school was so much frequented, that more churchmen and statesmen issued from it, than from any school taught by one man in England.1

His works are: 1. “Notse ad Juveualis et Persu Satyras,” Lond. 1612, 8vo. The third edition was printed at London, in 1620, under the following title “Junii Juvenalis et Auli Persii Flacci Satyrse cum annotationibus ad marginem, quse obscurissima quseque dilucidare possint. Tertia Editio, prioribus multo emendatior et auctior.” book is dedicated to Henry prince of Wales, who received the author very kindly, and in some measure commanded | him to write such comments on all the Latin poets. 2. “Notae ad Seneca? Tragcedias,” Lond. 1613, 8vo. The third edition was printed at the same place, in 1634, under the following title: “L. et M, Annaei Senecte Trngccdisc. Post omnes omnium editiones recensionesque editio tertia auctior et emendatior, opera et studio Thorn te Farnabii.” To this edition is prefixed a privilege granted him from the king, dated October 1634, for the sole printing of that, and several other of his works, for one-and-twenty years. The book is accompanied with commendatory verses, by Daniel Heinsius, Richard Andrews, M. D. Hugh Holland, Laurence Whitaker, and Na, Tomkins. 3. “Notrc ad Martialis Epigrammata,” Lond. 1615, 8vo. Other editions in 12 mo, were afterwards printed, both at London and Geneva. These notes were dedicated to sir Robert Killegrew. 4. “Lucani Pharsalia, sive de Bello Civili Caesaris et Pompeii Libri X. Adjeclis ad marginem notis T. Farnabii, quae loca obscuriora illustrent,London, 1618, 8vo. Dedicated to sir Francis Stuart. To this edition are prefixed commendatory verses by R. A. M. D.and Mr. Selden. 5. “Index Rhetoricus Scholis et Institutioni tenerioris Ætatis accommodatus,” Lond. 1625, 8vo. To an edition published in the same city, in 1646, were added, “Formulae Oratoriae et Index Poeticus.” The fifth edition was printed at London, in 1654, under the following title: “Index Rhetoricus et Oratorius, Scholis et Institutioni tenerioris Ætatis accommodatus. Cui adjiciuntur Formula; Oratoriae et Index Poeticus. Opera et studio Thomae Farnabii. Editio quinta, prioribus emendation” This book is dedicated to Dominico Molino, Senator of Venice. The Index Poeticus, annexed to this, was first printed at London in 1634. In the preface to the “Index Rhetoricus,” Mr. Farnabie informs his readers, that he had published, about twenty years before, his Scheme of Tropes, in verse, without his nume which, meeting with success, was claimed by a certain plagiary upon which our author composed his “Index Rhetoricus.” Mons. Gibert speaks of this work with commendation, and observes that Mons. BaiHet has passed a favourable judgment upon it. Father Vavasseur, though he afiirms that Mr. Farnabie' s Latin is sometimes exceptionable, allows him, nevertheless, to have been a diligent and learned writer. 6. “Florilcgium Epigrammatum Graecorum, eorumque Latino versu a variis redditorum,London, 1629, 8vo, &c. 7. “Notae ad | Virgilium,London, 1634, 8vo. 8. Ci Systeraa Grammaticum,“London, 1641, 8vo. King Charles the First ordered Mr. Farnabie to write a Latin grammar, for the use of all the schools, when that which had been established by law, and against which many complaints had been made, was to be reformed. 9.” Notae in Ovidii Metamorphoses,“Paris, 1637, folio; and London, in 12mo, 1677, &c. 10.” Phrasiologia Anglo-Latina,“London, 8vo. 11.” Tabula? Graeca? Linguae,“London, 4to. 12.” Syntaxis,“London, 8vo. 13.” Notse in Terentium.“Our author had finished his notes upon Terence only as far as the fourth comedy, when he died. But Dr. Meric Casaubon completed the two last comedies, and published the whole at London, 1651, 12mo. Anthony Wood hath added to the catalogue,” Epistolac variae ad doctissimos Viros." But this article does not refer to a distinct publication, but to the letters occasionally written by Farnabie to learned men, and particularly to Vossius. 1

1 Biog. Brit. —Ath. Ox. vol. II. Gen. Dict. where his Life was first inserted. —Niceron, vol. XVI.