Holyday, Barten (DNB00)

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HOLYDAY or HOLIDAY, BARTEN (1593–1661), dramatist, translator, and divine, son of Thomas Holiday, a tailor, was born in All Saints’ parish, Oxford, in 1593. He matriculated at Christ Church, 13 Dec. 1605, and was admitted B.A. 14 May 1612 and M.A. 15 June 1615 (Oxf. Univ. Reg., Oxf. Hist. Soc., II. iii. 311). Taking orders, he was esteemed a ‘most eloquent and quaint preacher,’ and two benefices in the diocese of Oxford were conferred upon him. In 1618 he went to Spain as chaplain to Sir Francis Steuart, who was in attendance on Gondomar. His ‘facete and pleasant way,’ says Wood, won Gondomar’s favour. Afterwards he was chaplain to Charles I, before 1626 became archdeacon of Oxford, and in 1642 was created D.D. by the king’s letters. At the time of the Commonwealth he submitted to ‘the examination of the triers or rather Spanish inquisitors’ (Wood), and was inducted into the rectory of Chilton, Berkshire. He gave up this living at the Restoration and returned to Iffley, near Oxford, where he lived on his archdeaconry. Wood, who knew him well, says that ‘had he not acted the vain man’ he might have had a bishopric, or at least a rich deanery. He died 2 Nov. 1661, and was buried in Christ Church Cathedral.

Holiday published in 1616, 8vo, a verse translation of Persius’s ‘Satires;’ it was republished in 1617, 1635, and 1673. The posthumous edition of 1673, fol., was accompanied by a new translation of Juvenal, line for line, and contains voluminous notes (Dryden's Works, ed. Scott and Saintsbury, xii. 96). ‘Τεχνογαμία, or the Marriages of the Arts. A Comedie,’ London, 1618, 4to (2nd edit. 1630), was acted in Christ Church Hall on 13 Feb. 1617-18. It was afterwards acted at Woodstock, 26 Aug. 1621, before James I, who found the performance very tedious. Whether the actors had taken too much wine before they began, or whether the subject of the play was distasteful, his majesty made several attempts to leave after sitting out the first two acts, but was finally induced to stay till the end. Some epigrams on the Woodstock performance were circulated by Cambridge wits, and Holiday’s Oxford friends (among them Henry King, afterwards bishop of Chichester) retorted. In 1653 he published: ‘All Horace his Lyrics, or His Four Books of Odes and his Book of Epodes Englished,’ 8vo. Wood remarks: ‘This translation is so near that of Sir Thomas Hawkins, or that of Hawkins so near this, that whether of the two is the author remains to be discovered.’ Holiday’s last work was ‘A Survey of the World in Ten Books,’ Oxford, 1661, 8vo, each of the ten books containing a hundred couplets. He published a Latin tractate, ‘Philisophiæ Polito-Barbaræ Specimen,’ 1633, 4to, and several sermons. Commendatory verses by Holyday are prefixed to the 1640 collection of Ben Jonson’s poems. A satirical epigram on him is printed in Huth’s ‘Inedited Poetical Miscellanies.’

[Wood’s Athenæ, ed. Bliss, i. xxiv, xliii, l, iii. 520-4; Hunter’s Chorus Vatum (Add. MS. 24489, ff. 56-8); Langbaine’s Dramatick Poets; Hearnes’s Diary, ed. Doble, i. 267; Nichol’s Progresses of James I.]

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