Codrington, Robert (DNB00)
|←Codrington, Henry John||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 11
CODRINGTON, ROBERT (d. 1665), author, born 'of an ancient and genteel family in Gloucestershire,' was elected a demy of Magdalen College, Oxford, 29 July 1619, at the age of seventeen, and took the degree of M.A. in 1626 (Wood). After travelling, he returned home, married, and settled in Norfolk. In May 1641 he was imprisoned by the House of Commons for publishing an elegy on the Earl of Strafford (Letter of Codrington to Sir E. Dering, Proceedings in Kent, p. 49, Camden Society). Codrington was a voluminous writer and translator. His best known work is the 'Life and Death of Robert, Earl of Essex,' London, 4to, 1646, which is reprinted in the 'Harleian Miscellany' (i. 217, ed. Park). ' In this book,' says Wood, ' he shows himself a rank parliamenteer.' It is a compilation of small value, in which whole sentences are occasionally stolen from contemporary pamphleteers ; the author seems to have had no acquaintance with Essex, and no personal knowledge of his campaigns. In the latter part of his life Codrington lived in London, where he died of the plague in 1665. He was the author of the following works, in addition to the one above mentioned, viz. translations from the French : 1. ' Treatise of the Knowledge of God,' by Peter Du Moulin, London, 1634. 2. 'The Memorials of Margaret de Valois, first wife of Henry IV of France,' 8vo, 1641, 1658, 1662. 3. 'The fifth book of Caussin's Holy Court,' London, 1650, fol. 4. ' Heptameron, or the History of the Fortunate Lovers,' by Margaret de Valois, London, 1654, 8vo. 5. Shibboleth, or the Reformation of several places in the translation of the French and English Bibles,' by J. D'Esparre, 1655. The British Museum Catalogue also attributes to him the translation of ' A Declaration sent to the King of France and Spain from the Catholiques and Rebells in Ireland,' 1642.
From the Latin Codrington translated : 1. 'The History of Justin, taken out of the four and forty books of Trogus Pompeius,' London, 12mo, 1654, 1664, 1682. 2. Sanderson's 'Several Cases of Conscience discussed,' 1660. 3. 'Life and Death of Alexander the Great,' by Q. Curtius Rufus, London, 1661, 1670, 1673. 4. 'Ignoramus, a Comedy,' London, 1662, 4to. Hawkins, in his edition of this play (1787), after pointing out some of the defects of Codrington's translation, concludes 'that he has preserved more of the satire, and even of the wit and humour of the original, than could well be expected, and it would be difficult to render some passages with more accuracy, or into so good English' (Pref. lxxxiii). 5. 'Prophecies of Christopher Kotterus/ London, 1604, 8vo. He was also the author of the 'Life of Æsop' in French and Latin, prefixed to Philpot's 'Æsop's Fables,' 1666, folio, and translated 'The Troublesome and Hard Adventures in Love,' 1652, 4to, attributed to Cervantes.
Codrington's English works are as follows : 1. A revised edition of Lloyd's 'Pilgrimage of Princes,' under the title of 'The Marrow of
History, or the Pilgrimage of Kings and Princes,' 1653, 4to. 2. A second part added to Hawkins's 'Youth's Behaviour,' 1664 and 1672, together with a collection of proverbs, which was also published separately in 1672. 3. 'Prayers and Graces' attached to Seager's 'School of Virtue,' 1620 (Hazlitt). 4. 'His Majesty's Propriety and Dominion on the British Seas asserted, together with a true account of the Netherlander' insupportable Insolencies,' 1665. 'The Happy Mind, or a compendious direction to attain to the same,' London, 1640, is also attributed to him, and the following poems : 1. 'Seneca's Book of Consolation to Marcia,' translated into an English poem, 1635 (Hazlitt). 2. 'An Elegy to the Memory of Margaret, Lady Smith' (Hazlitt). 3. 'An Elegy to the Memory of Elizabeth, Lady Ducey' (MS. Hazlitt).
[Wood's Athenæ Oxon.; Hazlitt's Handbook to the Popular Poetical and Dramatic Literature of Great Britain, 1867; Brit. Mus. Cat.]