Joseph Of Exeter

, or Josephus Iscanus, a writer of considerable taste and elegance, in an age generally reputed barbarous, was a native of Devonshire, and flourished in the close of the twelfth, and the commencement of the thirteenth centuries. He was an ecclesiastic, and patronized by Baldwin, archbishop of Canterbury. Some say that he was a priest of the cathedral of Exeter, from which he took his name. According to Camden, he accompanied Richard I. of England into the Holy Land, and was a great favourite with that prince. By archbishop Baldwin’s interest he was made archbishop of Bourdeaux, where he is supposed to have died in the reign of Henry III. and to have been buried in the cathedral of that city. He | was author of two epic poems in Latin heroics. The first, in six books, is on the Trojan war the other is entitled “Antiochesis,” the war of Antioch, or the Crusade; of this last only a fragment remains, in which the heroes of Britain are celebrated. His style is not only for the most part pure, but rich and ornamented, and his versification approaches the best models of antiquity. His diction is compounded chiefly of Ovid, Statius, and Claudian, the favourite poets of the age, and wants only Virgilian chastity. “Italy,” says Warton in his History of English Poetry, “had at that time produced no poet comparable to him.” He was also author of love verses, epigrams, and miscellaneous poems. His “De Bello Trojano, lib. V.” was published at Basil, 1541, 8vo; Lond. 1675, 8vo Francfcnt, 1620, 4to, and ibid. 1623; Amst. 1702, 4to. All that remains of his “Antiochesis” is printed in Warton’s “Ftistory of English Poetry.” His love-verses, &c. are lost. 1


Leland. Bale. Pits. Prince’s Worthies of Devon. —Warton’s Hist. of Poetry.