Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic]

ARTHUR JOHN

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ARTHUR JOHNSTON, one of modern Latin poets, was a desc of the Johnstons, of Caskieben, of Keith-hall and Kinkell, Ab the son of John Johnston, by Ch ter of William, seventh Lord F the year 1587, at the house of the poet has recorded this cu that, though six miles distant fr of Banochie, it is covered by th tain, at the time of the equino occasion.

Arthur, as he himself recor part of his education at the sc

Hic ego sum, memini mus

Et tiro didici verba Lati From school he was sent to Aberdeen ; but after a short ti pursued his studies at the where in 1610 he took the deg wards travelled over the greate at last settled in France. He try for about twenty years, dur married, and had a family of 1632, he returned to his native

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]

h he set no bounds to his and spoke with surprise earned had hitherto been sion of Buchanan. The st this joint attack of rodertaken by Mr. Love and ho not only covered the t, by their able expositions 1, raised his version of the te than it before possessed. a full sense of the folly into d; and, in chagrin at the

had made to gain a name ursuit entirely, and would ral years before he died. *

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

oured to rescue Benson from ne is too commonly spoken ays, “ faithfully, if not very k of the Georgics, with usegant editions of Johnston's course on versification ; he he disgrace of having no moiemory of Milton, in Westiraged and urged Pitt to trangave Dobson £1000 for his radise Lost." Notes on the ince of his liberality is record

In 1735, a book was pubure of Deism." The author, at that time confined in the t of £200. Benson, pleased

.

matineTV Webana, iz SEO

led in ante. paint

e contre

H

ARTHUR JOHNSTON.

Arthur Johnston, one of the most eminent of modern Latin poets, was a descendant of the family of the Johnstons, of Caskieben, in the united parishes of Keith-hall and Kinkell, Aberdeenshire. He was the son of John Johnston, by Christian Forbes, daughter of William, seventh Lord Forbes, and was born in the year 1587, at the house of Caskieben, of which the poet has recorded this curious circumstance, that, though six miles distant from the lofty mountain of Banochie, it is covered by the shadow of that mountain, at the time of the equinox, though on no other occasion.

Arthur, as he himself records, received the early part of his education at the school of Kintore.

Hic ego sum, memini musarum factus alumnus :

Et tiro didici verba Latina loqui. From school he was sent to the Marischal College, Aberdeen ; but after a short time, went abroad, and pursued his studies at the University of Padua, where in 1610 he took the degree of M.D. He afterwards travelled over the greater part of Europe, and at last settled in France. He remained in that country for about twenty years, during which he was twice married, and had a family of thirteen children. In 1632, he returned to his native country, and such was the reputation which he brought along with him, that he was almost immediately appointed physician to the king.

While in France, Dr. Johnston had acquired considerable eminence as a Latin poet ; and it was not long before he became as celebrated in this respect in his own country. In 1632, he published at Aberdeen, his “ Parerga” and “ Epigrammata,” both of which met with a most favorable reception among the learned, who thought that they saw in many parts of them, the style and spirit of the best of the Roman classics revived.

In the Parerga, Johnston took an opportunity to lash with merited severity, an attempt which had then recently been made by Dr. Eglesham, to depreciate the merit of Buchanan's Translation of the Psalms. Dr. Eglesham not content with writing a stupid criticism, to shew that Buchanan had entirely failed in catching, the spirit of the original, was vain enough to submit a version of the hundred and fourth psalm from his own pen, as a specimen of what might be done by a genius qualified for the task. He presented a fit subject for ridicule, and Johnston, who was a warm admirer of Buchanan, did not spare him.

It is curious enough, however, that while Johnston was thus lashing Eglesham, for attempting to rival Buchanan, he caught himself a double portion of the very weakness, if so it may be called, which he condemned in another. He resolved to try whether he could not excel both the writer he defended, and the writer he condemned. In the following year, he printed at London, a specimen of a new translation of the Psalms of David, which he dedicated to Bishop Laud; and encouraged by that prelate's'approbation, he completed a translation of the whole, which was printed at London in 1637, and at Aberdeen in the same year.

The merit of this translation, as compared with that of Buchanan, became immediately the subject of a celebrated controversy, in which, however, Johnston did not live to take himself any share; for, going to Oxford, in 1691, to visit one of his daughters, who was married to a divine of that place, he was seized with an illness, of which he died in a few days, in the fiftyfourth year

The controversy just alluded too, was commenced by Lauder, famous or rather infamous for his conspiracy to rob Milton of his laurels. Never in his element, except when stabbing a reputation, he eagerly seized the opportunity of attempting to raise a name for Johnston, on the ruin of Buchanan's; and found a zealous abetter, in a well intentioned, but simple English gentleman, of the name of Benson, an auditor of the imprests, who has got a niche in the Dunciad for his pains.

of his age.

“ On Poets tombs, see Benson's titles writ,”

“ On two unequal crutches propt he came, Milton's on this, on that one Johnston's nanje."

[ocr errors]

No less than three editions of Johnston's Psalms were printed at Benson's expense; one of them in quarto, on the plan of the Delphin classics, and with a fine head of Johnston, by Vertue, was designed for the use of the Prince of Wales. The auditor added a prefatory dis

« PreviousContinue »