Griffin, B. (fl.1596) (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 23
Griffin, B. (fl.1596)

by Gordon Goodwin
Bartholomew Griffin in the ODNB.

GRIFFIN, B. (fl. 1596), poet, probably related to the Griffins of Dingley, Northamptonshire, has been identified with a Bartholomew Griffin of Coventry, who as buried on 15 Dec. 1602 at Holy Trinity in that town. From his will (P.C.C., 37 Bolein), proved on 13 May 1603 by his widow Katherine it appears that Bartholomew Griffin left a son called Rice, a frequent family name in the Griffins of Dingley. Griffin wrote a series of sixty-two charming sonnets entitled ‘Fidessa, more chaste than kinde,’ 8vo, London, 1596, of which only three copies are at present known, those in the Bodlein, Huth, and Lamport libraries. The dedication to William Essex of Lamborne, Berkshire is followed by an epistle to the gentlemen of the Inns of Court, from which it might be inferred that Griffin himself belonged to an Inn, but no trace of him can be found in the registers. He was more probably an attorney, as he styles himself ‘gentleman’ only. In the same epistle he mentions an unfinished pastoral, which he intended, ‘for varietie sake,’ to have appended to ‘Fidessa,’ but was obliged to postpone it until the next term. No trace of it has been found (Cat. of Huth Library, ii. 630). The third sonnet in ‘Fidessa,’ commencing ‘Venus and yong Adonis sitting by her,’ was reproduced with much textual alteration in the miscellany brought together in 1599 by W. Jaggard, and entitled ‘The Passionate Pilgrime. By W. Shakespeare.’ From the copy in the Bodleian Library one hundred copies of ‘Fidessa’ were reprinted by Bliss, 8vo, Chiswick, 1815; and fifty copies by A. B. Grosart in vol. ii. of ‘Occasional Issues,’ 4to, Manchester, 1876.

[Grosart's Memorial Introduction to Fidessa, 1876; Dowden's Introduction to the Passionate Pilgrim (Shakspere-Quarto Facsimiles, No. x. 1883). pp. xii-xiii, xx.]

G. G.