Cosworth, Michael (DNB00)

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COSWORTH or COSOWARTH, MICHAEL (fl. 1600), translator of the psalms, born in 1568, was the son of John Cosworth, a London mercer, of a Cornish family, by Dorothy, daughter of Sir William Locke, alderman of London, and widow of Ottiwell Hill, another London mercer. He matriculated as a pensioner at St. John's College, Cambridge, in December 1576, and proceeded B.A. in 1579–80. Richard Carew, the well-known topographer of Cornwall [q. v.], was Cosworth's cousin, and writes of him thus in his ‘Survey of Cornwall,’ p. 145: ‘He addicteth himself to an ecclesiastical life, and therein joining Poetry with Divinity, endeavoureth to imitate the holy prophet David, whose Psalmes of his translation into English metre receiveth general applause beyond a great many other well-deserving undertakings of the same type.’ These translated psalms were not printed by the author, but were apparently widely circulated in manuscript. A manuscript copy—a neatly written quarto volume—is among the Harleian MSS. at the British Museum (No. 6906). The author's cousins, Carew and Henry Locke, contribute commendatory verses. Only selected psalms are translated; the metres are various; and the work is not conspicuous for literary merit. Extracts have been printed in Farr's ‘Selected Poetry’ (Parker Soc.), and in Brydges's ‘Excerpta Tudoriana,’ i. 48–51. Cosworth also contributed verses to Henry Locke's ‘Ecclesiastes’ (1597).

Cosworth and his family appear to have removed to Cornwall, their true home, in the seventeenth century. The well-known judge, Sir John Bramston the elder [q. v.], whose wife was distantly related to the Cosworths, had a clerk of that name, who retired to Cornwall before 1640, and resided there with a brother, a justice of the peace with a good estate (Sir John Bramston the younger's Autobiography (Camd. Soc.), p. 13). Cosworth, the translator, has been conjecturally identified with both Bramston's clerk and his brother, the Cornish justice. Henry Locke, the translator's cousin, wrote to the Earl of Salisbury (8 Nov. 1605) that ‘Mr. Cosowarth,’ justice of the peace for Cornwall, was ready to place at the earl's disposal the representation of a borough there.

[Hunter's MS. Chorus Vatum in Brit. Mus. Add. MS. 24489, p. 386; Cooper's Athenæ Cantab. ii. 430; Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Cornub. i. 88; Holland's Psalmist, i. 229; Cal. State Papers (Dom.), 1603–10, p. 244.]

S. L. L.