Florio, John

, the Resolute, as he used to style himself, was born in London in the reign of Henry VIII. and descended from the Florii of Sienna, in Tuscany. A little before that time his father and mother, who were Waldenses, had fled from the Valtoline into England, from the persecutions of popery; but when Edward the Sixth died, and the protestant religion became oppressed under Mary, they left England, and went to some other country, where John Florio received his juvenile literature. Upon the re-establishment of protestantism by Elizabeth, they returned; and Florio for a time lived in Oxford. About 1576, Barnes bishop of Durham, sending his son to Magdalencollege, Florio was appointed to attend him as preceptor in French, and Italian; at which time he was admitted a member of that college, and became a teacher of those languages in the university. After James came to the cvown, he was appointed tutor to prince Henry in those languages; and at length made one of the privychamber, and clerk of the closet to queen Anne, to whom he was also tutor. He was a very useful man in his profession, zealous for the protestant religion, and much | devoted to the English nation. Retiring to Fulham in Middlesex, to avoid the plague which was then in London, he was seized and carried off by it in 1625, aged about eighty.

He was the author of several works: 1. “First Fruits, which yield familiar speech, merry proverbs, witty sentences, and golden sayings,1578, 4to, and 1591, 8vo. 2. “Perfect Introduction to the Italian and English Tongues.” Printed with the former, and both dedicated to Robert earl of Leicester. 3. “Second Fruits to be gathered of twelve trees, of divers but delightsome tastes to the tongues of Italian and English men,” 151H, 8vo. 4. “Garden of Recreation, yielding six thousand Italian Proverbs;” printed with the former. 5. “Dictionary, Italian and English,1597, folio. It was after* ards augmented by him, and published in 1611, in folio, by way of compliment to his royal mistress, under this title, “Queen Anna’s New World of Words.” This was a work of great merit, being at that time by far the most perfect of the kind. The author, however, laboured to make it still more perfect, by collecting many thousand words and phrases, to be added to the next edition; but, not living to complete this, the care of it fell to one Gio. Torriano, an Italian, and professor of the Italian tongue in London; who, after revising, correcting, and supplying many more materials out of the Dictionary of the Academy della Crusca, printed them in 1659, folio, all in their proper places. 6. “The Essays of Montaigne,” translated into English, and dedicated to queen Anna, 1603, 1613, 1632, folio. Prefixed to this work we find rather a long copy of verses, addressed to him by Samuel Daniel, the poet and historiographer, whose sister Florio had married. Wood says, that he wrote other things, but he had not seen them. 1


Ath. Ox. vol. I.