Clarke, Robert (d.1675) (DNB00)

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CLARKE, ROBERT (d. 1675), Latin poet, was a native of London, his real name being Graine. He was educated in the English college at Douay, where he became professor of poetry and rhetoric, and he was ordained priest in the chapel of the palace of the Bishop of Arras, 20 March 1627–8. On 16 July 1629 a Latin tragi-comedy, ‘The Emperor Otho,’ composed by him, was performed in the college refectory; and on 13 Sept. the same year another drama of his composition, ‘The Return of St. Ignatius, bishop and martyr, from Exile,’ was acted there before Anthony Mary, viscount Montacute. On 19 Sept. 1629 he was sent to the English mission with the ordinary faculties. The college entry, recording the circumstance, describes him as ‘non solum in humanioribus literis (quas per aliquot annos laudabiliter docuit) verum etiam in philosophia ac theologia doctus et eruditus.’ Being unequal, through ill-health and other causes, to encounter the difficulties and dangers then inseparable from the career of a missionary priest, he returned to the continent, and went from Douay in 1632 to join the English Carthusians at Nieuport, and he was a strict observer of the severe rule of that order until his death on 31 Dec. 1675.

He was author of an elaborate sacred epic in Latin, completed in 1650, and published under the title of: 1. ‘Christiados, sive De Passione Domini, libri 17.’ Bruges, 1670, 8vo; Augsburg and Dillingen, 1708, 8vo; Ingolstadt, 1855, 8vo. This last edition was prepared by Aloys Kassian Walthierer, parish priest of Böhmfeld, who had previously published a German translation of the poem, Ingolstadt, 1853, 8vo. The manuscript of a metrical English translation of ‘Christias,’ by Baron Edmund de Harold, was in 1855 in the library of his nephew at Trostberg. Clarke's other works, none of which have been printed, are: 2. Four books on the Imitation of Christ, in Latin iambics. 3. ‘Miscellanea.’ 4. ‘Dissertatio de dignitate confessarii.’ 5. ‘The Crown of Thorns,’ an English poem. The original manuscript was in 1855 in the possession of Baron de Harold.

[Preface to reprint of Christias; Dodd's Church History, iii. 311; Cat. of Printed Books in Brit. Mus.]

T. C.