Holland, Philemon

, a noted translator, was descended from an ancient family of the Hollands of Lancashire, and was the son of John Holland, a pious divine, who, in queen Mary’s reign, was obliged to go abroad for the sake of religion; but afterwards returned, and became pastor of Dunmowin Essex, where he died in 1578. Philemon was born at Chelmsford in Essex, about the latter end of the reign of Edward VI. and after being instructed at the grammar-school of that place, was sent to Trinitycollege, Cambridge, where he was pupil to Dr. Hampton, and afterwards to Dr. Whitgift. He was admitted fellow of his college, but left the university after having taken the degree of M. A. in which degree he was incorporated at Oxford in 1587. He was appointed head master, of the free-school of Coventry, and in this laborious station he not only attended assiduously to the duties of his office, but served the interests of learning, by undertaking those numerous translations, which gained him the title of “Translator general of the age.” He likewise studied medicine, and practised with considerable reputation in his neighbourhood; and at length, when at the age of forty, became a doctor of physic in the university of Cambridge. He was a peaceable, quiet, and good man in all the relations of private life, and by his habits of temperance and regularity attained his 85th year, not only with the full possession of his intellects, but his sight was so good, that he never had occasion to wear spectacles. He continued to translate till his 80th year; and his translations, though devoid of elegance, are accounted faithful and accurate. Among these are, translations into English of “Livy,” written, it is said, with one pen, which a lady of his acquaintance so highly prized that she had it embellished with silver, and kept as a great curiosity. “Pliny’s Natural History,” “Plutarch’s Morals,” Suetonius,“Ammianus Marcellinus,“Xenophon’s Cyropaedia,“and” Camdeu’s Britannia,“to the last of which he made | several useful additions: and into Latin he translated the geographical part of” Speed’s Theatre of Great Britain,“and a French” Pharmacopoeia of Brice Bauderon." A quibbling epigram upon his translation of Suetonius has often been retailed in jest books:

"Philemon with translations does so fill us,

He will not let Suetonius be Tranquillus."

He died Feb. 9, 1636, and was buried in the church of Coventry. He married a Staffordshire lady, by whom he had seven sons and three daughters, all of whom he survived except one son and his daughters. One of his sons, Henry, appears to have been a bookseller in London, and was editor of the “Heroologia Anglicana,” a valuable collection of English portraits, with short lives, but the latter are not very correct, or satisfactory. These portraits were chiefly engraved by the family of Pass, and many of them are valued as originals, having never been engraved since but as copies from these. They are sixty-five in number. He also published “Monumenta Sepulchralia Ecclesiae S. Pauli, Lond.” 4to, and, “A Book of Kings, being a true and lively effigies of all our English kings from the Conquest,1618. When he died is not mentioned. 1

1 Ath, Ox. vol. I. Letters from the Bodleian, 3 vols. 8vo. 1813, Fuller’s Worthies. Censura Lictratia, vol. I.