Stanyhurst, Richard

, an historian, poet, and divine of the sixteenth century, was born in Dublii^ probably about 1545 or 1546. His father James Stanyhurst was a lawyer, recorder of Dublin, and speaker of the House of Commons in several parliaments. He published; in Latin, “Piae Orationes” “Ad Corsagiensem Decanum Epistoke,” and three speeches, in English, which he delivered as speaker, at the beginning of the parliaments of the 3d and 4th Philip and Mary, and the 2d and llth of Elizabeth. He died Dec. 27, 1573, leaving two sons, Walter and Richard. Of Walter our only information is, that he translated “Innocentins de contemptu Mundi.

Richard had some classical education at Dublin, under Peter White, a celebrated school-master, whence he was sent to Oxford in 1563, and admitted of University-college. After taking one degree in arts, he left Oxford, and undertook the study of the law with diligence, first at FurnivaPsnn, and then at Lincoln’s-inn, where he resided for some time. He then returned to Ireland, married, and turned Roman Catholic. Removing afterwards to the continent, he is said by A. Wood to have become famous for his learning in France, and the Low Countries. Losing his wife, while he was abroad, he entered into orders, and was made chaplain, at Brussels, to Albert archduke of Austria, who was then governor of the Spanish Netherlands. At this place he died in 1618, being universally esteemed as an excellent scholar in the learned languages, a good divine, philosopher, historian, and poet. He kept up a constant correspondence with Usher, afterwards the celebrated archbishop, who was his sister’s son. They were allied, says Dodd, “in their studies as well as blood; being both very curious in searching after the writings of the primitive ages. But their reading had not the same effect. The uncle became a catholic, and took no small pains to bring over the nephew.” Stanyhurst published several works, | tke first of which was written when he had been only two years at Oxford, and published about five years after. Ic was a learned commentary on Porphyry, and raised the greatest expectations of his powers, being mentioned with particular praise, as the work of so young a man, by Edmund Campion, the Jesuit, then a siudent of St. John’seollege. It is entitled “Harmonia, seu catena dialectics in Porphyrium,” Lond. 1570, folio. 2. “De rebus in Hibernia gestis, lib, iv.Antwerp, 1584, 4to. According t*v Keating, this work abounds, not only in errors, but misrepresentations, which Stanyhurst afterwards acknowledged. 3. “Descriptio Hiberniac,” inserted in Holinshed’s Chronicle. 4. “De vita S. Patricii, Hiberniae Apostoli, lib. ii.” Antw. 1587, 12mo. 5. “Hebdotnada Mariana,” Antw. 1609, 8vo. 6. “Hebdomacla Euclmristiea,Douay, 1614, 8vo. 7. “Brevis prsemonitio pro futura concertatione cum Jacobo Usserio,Douay, 1615, 8vo. 8. “The Principles of the Catholic Religion.” 9. “The four first books of Virgil’s Æneis, in English Hexameters,1583, small 8vo, black letter. To these are subjoined the four first Psalms the first in English Iambics, though he confesses, that “the lambical quantitie relisheth somwhat unsavorly in our language, being, in truth, not al togeather the toothsomest in the Latine.” The second is in elegiac verse, or English hexameter or pentameter. The third is a short specimen of the asclepiac verse; thus “Lord, my dirye foes, why do they multiply.” The fourth is in sapphics, with a prayer to the Trinity in the same measure. Then follow, “certayne poetical conceites,” in Latin and English: and after these some epitaphs. The English throughout is in Roman measures. The preface, in which he assigns his reasons for translating after Phaer, is a curious specimen of quaintness and pedantry. Mr. Warton, in his History of Poetry, seems not to have attended to these reasons, such as they are; but thus speaks of the attempt of Stanyhurst: “After the associated labours of Phaier end Twyne, it is hard to say what could induce Robert [Richard] Stanyhurst, a native of Dublin, to translate the four first books of the Æneid into English hexameters, which he printed at London, in 15S3, and dedicated to his brother Peter Plunket, the learned baron of Dusanay [Dunsanye], in Ireland. Stanyhurst was at that time living at Leyden, having left England for some time, on account of the [his] change of religion. In the choice of his measure he is more | unfortunate than his predecessors, and in other respects succeeded worse. Thomas Naishe, in his Apology of Pierce Pennilesse, printed in 1593, observes, that * jltany hurst, the otherwise learned, trod a foul, lumbring, boistrcus, wallowing measure, in his translation of Virgil. He had never been praised by Gabriel Harvey for his labour, it therein he had not been so famously absurd.’ Harvey, Spenser’s friend, was one of the chief patrons, if not the inventor of the English hexameter here used by Stanyhurst.” His translation, opens thus:

I that in old season wyth reed’s oten harmonye whistled

My rural sonnet; from forrest flitted, I forced

Thee sulcking swincker thee soile, though craggie to sunder,

A labor and a travaile too plowswains hartily welcom.

Now manhod and garboils I chant, and martial horror.

It is observable, that he lengthens tht into thee, and to into too, for the sake of his verse. Mr. Warton cites the beginning of the second book, and then adds, “with all this foolish pedantry, Stanyhnrst was certainly a scholar. But in this translation he calls Chorcebus, one of the Trojan chiefs, a Bedlamite; he says, that old Priam girded on his sword Morglay, the name of a sword in the Gothic romances; that Dido would have been glad to have been, brought to bed, even of a cockney, a Dandiprat hop - thumb and that Jupiter, in kissing her daughter, bust his pretty prating parrot.” Stanyhurst is styled by Camden, “Eruditissimus iile nobilis Richardus Stanihurstus.

Stanyhurst had a son William, born at Brussels in 1601. He became a Jesuit, and a writer of reputation among persons of his communion. He died in 1663. Sojwell has given a list of his works, of which we shall mention only “Album Marianum, in quo prosa et carmine Dei in Austriacos beneficia, et Austriacornm erga Deum obsequia recensentur.” Louvaine, 1641, folio, 1

1 Warton’s Hist, of Poetry. Philips’s Theatrum by sirE. Bridges. Censura Literaria, vol. II. and IV. —Ath. Ox. vol. 1. Dodd’s Ch. Hist. Harris’s Ware.