Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 46.djvu/16

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Specimen historiæ Arabum,’ in which an excerpt from the ‘Universal History’ (Mukh-tasar fi-d-duwal) of Abu-l-Faraj (Bar Hebræus) is used as a peg whereon are hung a series of elaborate essays on Arabian history, science, literature, and religion, based upon prolonged researches in over a hundred Arabic manuscripts, and forming an epoch in the development of eastern studies. All later orientalists, from Reland and Ockley to S. de Sacy, have borne their testimony to the immense erudition and sound scholarship of this remarkable work, of which a second edition was edited by Joseph White [q. v.] in 1806. The ‘Specimen’ is interesting also for the history of printing, for Twells asserts (i. 44), it is believed correctly, that Pococke's ‘Specimen’ and John Greaves's ‘Bainbrigii Canicularia,’ 1648, were the first two books in Arabic type which issued from the Oxford University press. (The first title-page of the ‘Specimen’ bears the imprint ‘Oxoniæ excudebat H. Hall impensis Humph. Robinson in Cemeterio Paulino, ad insigne trium Columbarum, 1650;’ but the ‘notæ’ appended to it have a distinct title, ‘Oxoniæ excudebat Hen. Hall, 1648,’ which is doubtless the date at which the whole work was first set up). Similarly the ‘Porta Mosis,’ or edition (Arabic in Hebrew characters) of the six prefatory discourses of Maimonides on the Mishna, with Latin translation and notes (especially on Septuagint readings), on which Pococke had been engaged since 1650, but which was not published till 1655, is believed to be the first Hebrew text printed at Oxford from type specially founded by the university at Dr. Langbaine's instance for Pococke's use (Twells, ib. The title-page of the ‘Porta Mosis’ has the imprint of H. Hall Academiæ Typographus, 1655, but the title-page of the Appendix is dated 1654). In 1658 (Migne, Patrol. Curs. iii. 888) another work of Pococke's appeared, the ‘Contextio Gemmarum,’ or Latin translation of the ‘Annals’ of Eutychius, which he had begun, somewhat reluctantly, in 1652 at the urgent request of Selden (who did not, as has been imagined, take any share in the labour; Twells, i. 42, &c.). The great event for oriental learning in 1657 was the publication by Dr. Brian Walton [q. v.] of his ‘Biblia Sacra Polyglotta,’ in which Pococke had taken a constant interest for five years, advising, criticising, lending manuscripts from his own collection, collating the Arabic version of the Pentateuch, and contributing a critical appendix to vol. vi. (‘De ratione variantium in Pent. Arab. lectionum’). He translated and published in 1659 a treatise ‘on the nature of the drink Kauhi or coffee … described by an Arabian physician.’ This was his last work completed at Childrey. The Restoration brought him into permanent residence at Christ Church; and, though he retained his rectory till his death, he appointed a curate to perform its duties. His memory is still preserved by a magnificent cedar in the rectory garden, said to have been imported and planted by him (information from the Rev. T. Fowler, president of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and the Rev. C. J. Cornish, rector of Childrey). Two cedars at Highclere, in Hampshire, are also believed to have been raised from cones brought from Syria by Pococke (Loudon, Arboretum, p. 2426).

In June 1660 Pococke attended the vice-chancellor of Oxford when he waited upon Charles II with felicitations on his happy restoration; and on the 20th of the same month his Hebrew professorship, together with the canonry and lodgings at Christ Church properly assigned thereto, was formally granted him by letters patent. He was installed on 27 July, and received the degree of D.D. by royal letters on 20 Sept. (Clark, Life and Times of A. Wood, i. 333). Henceforward he lived in studious ease at Christ Church in the lodgings of the Hebrew professor, in the garden of which is still seen the fig-tree, the famous ‘Arbor Pocockiana,’ imported by the professor from Syria, ‘prima sui generis,’ according to Dr. White's engraving preserved at Christ Church, and certainly the only ancient fig-tree on record still existing in England (Baxter in Trans. Hortic. Soc. iii. 433; Loudon, Arbor. p. 1367). In 1660 he published (at the cost of the Hon. Robert Boyle) an Arabic translation (with emendations and a new preface) of Grotius's tract, ‘De veritate religionis Christianæ,’ undertaken in the hope of converting Muslims (Wood, Athenæ, ed. Bliss, iv. 321). In 1661 appeared the text and translation of the Arabic poem, ‘Lamiato 'l Ajam, Carmen … Tograi,’ with grammatical and explanatory notes, produced at the Oxford press under the superintendence of Samuel Clarke [q. v.], architypographus to the university, who appended a treatise of his own on Arabic prosody (separate pagination and title 1661); and in 1663 Pococke brought out the Arabic text and Latin translation of the ‘Historia compendiosa dynastiarum’ of Abu-l-Faraj (Bar Hebræus), of which an excerpt had formed the text of the ‘Specimen’ thirteen years before. Though dedicated to the king, this memorable work attracted little notice at the time. A severe illness in 1663 left him permanently lame, but did not long arrest his energy. He lent Castell Ethiopic manuscripts for his great ‘Lexicon Heptaglotton,’ pub-