Rich, Barnabe (DNB00)

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RICH, BARNABE (1540?–1620?), author and soldier, born about 1540, doubtless of Essex origin, was distantly connected with the family of Lord-chancellor Rich. In his books he often dubbed himself ‘gentleman.’ Enlisting in boyhood in the army, he engaged in Queen Mary's war with France in 1557–8. Writing in 1585, he says: ‘It is now thirty yeares sith I became a souldier, from which time I have served the king in all occasions against his enemies in the fielde; the rest of the time I have continued in his garrisons. In this meane space I have spent what my friends left me, which was something; I have lost part of my bloud, which was more; and I have consumed my prime of youth and florishing yeares, which was moste’ (Adventures of Brusanus). In campaigns in the Low Countries in the early part of Elizabeth's reign he served with Thomas Churchyard, Gascoigne, and other adventurers of literary tastes, and emulated their example as writers. He rose to the rank of captain. Churchyard, in his ‘True Discourse of the Netherlands,’ makes frequent quotation from ‘Captain Barnabe Rich his Notes.’ At Antwerp Rich met Richard Stanyhurst [q. v.], of whom he formed an ill opinion. Afterwards he saw prolonged service in Ireland. On 17 July 1573 he sailed thither in the Black Bark in charge of the armour and other furniture of his kinsman, Lord Rich (Cal. Irish State Papers). Like Barnabe Googe [q. v.], he appears to have taken part in the efforts of Walter Devereux, first earl of Essex, to colonise Ulster, and the rest of his life was mainly passed in the neighbourhood of Dublin. But in 1574, during an interval of peace, he determined to try his fortune with his pen. He paid a brief visit to London, and fell in with some of his literary companions-in-arms, who introduced him to Thomas Lodge and other men of letters. With their encouragement and aid, he designed a long series of popular tracts. For nearly fifty years his leisure was thenceforth devoted to the production of romances imitating Lyly's ‘Euphues,’ or of pamphlets exposing the vices of the age, or reminiscences of his past life, or denunciations of papists and tobacco. On most of his title-pages he inscribed the prudent motto, ‘Malui me divitem esse quam vocari.’ He found a warm encourager of his literary ambition in Sir Christopher Hatton, whose house at Holdenby he minutely described in a work he brought out in 1581 under the title of ‘Riche his Farewell to Military Profession.’ This attractive collection of romances—from which Shakespeare borrowed the plot of ‘Twelfth Night’—was apparently intended as a valediction to his career as a soldier; but it proved premature. He soon resumed military duty in Ireland. After Sir John Perrot became lord deputy there in 1584, Rich had under his command one hundred soldiers at Coleraine. To descriptions of Ireland he subsequently devoted much of his literary energy, asserting with wearisome iteration that the rebellious temper of the Irish was due partly to their religion and partly to a lack of consistent firmness on the part of their English rulers. In 1593 Rich was reported to be without employment; but he continued in Ireland, he wrote later, ‘on a poor pay, the full recompence of forty-seven years' service’ (A New Description of Ireland, 1610). After James I's accession he sought assiduously Prince Henry's patronage. On 16 Oct. 1606 he was in receipt of a pension of half a crown a day from the Irish establishment, and in July 1616 he was presented with 100l. as a free gift, in consideration of his being the oldest captain of the kingdom (Cal. State Papers, 1611–18, p. 378). His latest work—the ‘Irish Hubbub,’ a general denunciation of contemporary society—he dedicated to the lord deputy, Sir Oliver St. John, from Dublin on 14 May 1617. He probably did not long survive its publication.

Rich, brought up, as he says, ‘in the fields among unlettered soldiers,’ was wholly self-educated. He extended his reading to French and Italian, and was acquainted with the classics mainly through translations. His verse is contemptible, but much literary feeling is often apparent in his prose. He boasted that he wrote thirty-six books, and his fluency injured a style that was by nature ‘masculine and sinewy’ (cf. Philip King's Surfeit, 1656; Hearne's Collections, ed. Bliss, iii. 248). His admirers in his own day were numerous, but were chiefly drawn from the less cultivated classes. Nashe represents his works as the favourite reading of Lichfield, the Cambridge barber (Have with you to Saffron Walden, 1596). To Lodge's ‘Alarum against Usurers’ (1584) Rich contributed commendatory verses.

Rich published (the titles are abbreviated): 1. ‘A right exelent and pleasaunt Dialogue betwene Mercury and an English Souldier, contayning his Supplication to Mars,’ 8vo, 1574, b.l., dedicated to Ambrose Dudley, earl of Warwick, master of the ordnance. It opens with some curious dialogue in verse between the author and his book (Bodleian and British Museum). The first part is an exposure of the ill-usage of the English soldier, with a defence of archery. The second part supplies, quite inappropriately, a fanciful account of the court of Venus, and rehearses the story of the lady of Chabry, which, Rich says, he derived from Bandello. Geoffrey Fenton had already translated the story in his ‘Tragical Discourses,’ 1567. 2. ‘Allarme to England, foreshewing what perilles are procured where the people liue without regarde of Martiall Lawe,’ 1578 (London, by Henrie Middleton, for C. B.), written in Ireland, the wretched state of which is described; dedicated to Sir Christopher Hatton, with verses by Googe, Churchyard, and the author (two editions in the British Museum, one in the Bodleian, and one each in the Huth and Britwell Libraries, ‘imprinted by Christopher Barker’). 3. ‘Riche his Farewell to Militarie profession, conteining verie pleasaunt discourses fit for a peaceable tyme. … London, by Robert Walley,’ 1581, 4to (Bodleian; an imperfect copy at Britwell). There are two dedications, one addressed to ‘the right courteous gentlewomen, both of England and Ireland,’ and the other ‘to the noble souldiers both of England and Ireland,’ besides an interesting address ‘to the readers in general.’ The book was written in Ireland, ‘before the coming over of James FitzMaurice’ Fitzgerald [q. v.] in 1579. Of the eight stories, in some of which verse is interspersed, Rich appears to claim, as of his own invention, the first (‘Sappho, Duke of Mantona’), the plot of which was dramatised in ‘The weakest goeth to the wall,’ 1600; the second (‘Apolonius and Silla’), whence Shakespeare drew the plot of ‘Twelfth Night’ (reprinted in Collier's and Hazlitt's ‘Shakespeare's Library,’ pt. i. vol. i.); the fifth (‘Two brethren and their wives’); the seventh (‘Aramanthus, borne a leper’); and the eighth (‘Phylotus and Emilia,’ reprinted with ‘Phylotus,’ 1603, a Scottish comedy with cognate plot, by the Bannatyne Club in 1835). Rich's third story (‘Nicander and Lucilla’), his fourth (‘Fileo and Fiamma’), and the sixth (‘Gonsales and his vertuous wife Agatha’) are drawn, he says, from the Italian of ‘Maister L. B.,’ possibly an inaccurate reference to Matteo Bandello. In a concluding section Rich tilts against the extravagance of English women's dress, and incidentally tells a story of a king of Scotland somewhat resembling Macchiavelli's ‘Belphegor;’ this appendix caused James VI, when he read the book in 1595, so much displeasure that the attention of Bowes, the English agent, was called to the matter (Cal. State Papers, Scotl. ii. 683). An edition, newly augmented, appeared in 1606 (Bodleian and Britwell). A reprint from the Bodleian Library copy of the 1581 edition was published in 1846 by the Shakespeare Society. 4. ‘The straunge and wonderfull aduentures of Don Simonides, a gentilman Spaniarde. London, by Robert Walley,’ 1581, b.l., 4to (entered in ‘Stationers' Register,’ 23 Oct. 1581); dedicated to Sir Christopher Hatton; a prose romance, corrected by Lodge, with poetry interspersed. It is obviously inspired by Lyly's ‘Euphues.’ Warton believed he had seen an Italian original (copies in Bodleian, Britwell, and Bridgewater House Libraries). 5. ‘The true Report of a late Practice enterprised by a Papist with a yong Maiden in Wales [Eliz. Orton]. London, by Robert Walley,’ 1582, 4to, dedicated to Sir Francis Walsingham (British Museum and Lambeth). 6. ‘The Second Tome of the Trauailes and aduentures of Don Simonides. London, for Robert Walley,’ 1584, b.l., 4to, dedicated to Sir Christopher Hatton. One of the metrical pieces is in 170 lines of very monotonous blank verse. A chapter detailing the hero's visit to Philautus in London mainly consists of a panegyric on Queen Elizabeth (Bodleian, British Museum, Britwell, and Bridgewater House Libraries). 7. ‘A Pathway to Military Practise …, whereunto is annexed a Kalender of the Imbattelinge of Men. London, by John Charlewood,’ 1587, 4to. There are three dedications, one to Queen Elizabeth, another to ‘the most noble Captaines and renowned Souldiers of England,’ and the third—a long address—to ‘the friendly Readers in generall’ (Britwell, Lambeth, and British Museum). 8. ‘The Adventures of Brusanus, prince of Hungaria, pleasant for all to read, and profitable for some to follow. Written by Barnabe Rich seaven or eight yeares sithence, and now published by the great intreaty of divers of his freendes. Imprinted at London for Thomas Adames,’ 1592, 4to, b.l., dedicated to his cousin Jayes, daughter of Sir Edward Aston, knt. One of the characters, Gloriosus, a courtier of Epirus, resembles Armado in Shakespeare's ‘Love's Labour's Lost’ (a perfect copy is at Dulwich, imperfect ones at Britwell and Bridgewater House). 9. ‘Greenes Newes both from Heauen and Hell. Prohibited the first for writing of Bookes, and banished out of the last for displaying of Conny-catchers. Commended to the Presse by B. R. At London, printed,’ 1593, 4to, b.l. This tract, which purports to be printed from Greene's papers, contains many references to Ireland, and is dedicated in burlesque fashion to ‘Gregory Coolle, chiefe burgermaister of Clonarde … at his chaste chambers at Dublyne’ (British Museum, Christ Church, Oxford, and Huth and Britwell Libraries). 10. ‘A Martiall Conference, pleasantly discoursed between two Souldiers only practised in Finsbury Fields, in the modern Wars of the renowned Duke of Shoreditch, and the mighty Prince Arthur. Newly translated out of Essex into English by Barnaby Rich, gent., a servant to the Queenes most Excellent Matie. Printed for Jo. Oxenbridge, dwelling in St. Paul's Church Yard at the sign of the Parrot,’ 1598, 4to (see Bagford's Coll. in Harl. MS. 5900, f. 38, and Collier, Bibl. Cat. vol. i. p. xxxvi*). 11. ‘A Looking Glass for Ireland. London, for John Oxenbridge,’ 1599 (Lowndes). 12. ‘A Souldier's wishe to Briton's welfare; or a discourse fit to be read of all gentlemen and souldiers, written by a captaine of Experience,’ 4to, London, 1604; a dialogue between Captain Pill and Captain Skill; dedicated to Prince Henry (British Museum and Bodleian). 13. ‘The Fruites of long Experience. London by Thomas Creede for Jeffrey Chorlton,’ 1604, 4to, b.l.; a continuation of No. 12; dedicated to Prince Henry (British Museum, Dulwich College, and Britwell). 14. ‘Faultes, Faults, and nothing else but Faultes. At London, printed by Jeffrey Chorleton,’ &c., 1606, 4to; dedicated to Prince Henry (British Museum, Bodleian, Britwell, Huth and Bridgewater House Libraries). 15. ‘A short survey of Ireland, truely discovering who it is that hath so armed the Hearts of that People with Disobedience to their Prince. London, for B. Sutton and W. Barenger, 1609,’ 4to; dedicated to Robert Cecil, earl of Salisbury (Bodleian and Huth Libraries and British Museum). 16. ‘Roome for a Gentleman, or the Second Part of Faultes, collected and gathered for the true Meridian of Dublin in Ireland, and may serve fitly else whereabout, London, &c. London, by J. W. for Jeffrey Chorlton,’ 1609, 4to; dedicated to Sir Thomas Ridgeway, treasurer at war in Ireland (British Museum and Bridgewater House). 17. ‘A New Description of Ireland. London for Thomas Adams,’ 1610; dedicated to Robert Cecil, earl of Salisbury, and Alderman William Cokyne of London (British Museum, and Bodleian, Britwell, and Huth Libraries). This was reprinted without the dedication in 1624, under the title of ‘A New Irish Prognostication, or Popish Callender’ (British Museum and Bodleian). 18. ‘A true and a kinde Excuse, written in defence of that Booke intituled “A newe description of Irelande.” London, for Thomas Adams,’ 1612, 4to; dedicated to Sir Arthur Chichester, Sir Thomas Ridgeway, and to the Irish nation (British Museum and Bodleian, Huth, and Britwell Libraries). 19. ‘A Catholicke Conference betweene Syr Tady MacMareall, a popish priest of Waterforde, and Patricke Plaine, a yong Student in Trinity College, by Dublin, in Ireland. London, for Thomas Adams,’ 1612, 4to; dedicated to Cecilia, wife of Sir Thomas Ridgeway (British Museum and Bodleian and Huth Libraries). 20. ‘The Excellency of good women. London, by Thomas Dawson,’ 1613, 4to (Bodleian, British Museum, Bridgewater House, and Huth Libraries); dedicated to Princess Elizabeth, daughter of James I, with an address to the ‘numberles number of Honorable Ladies;’ there is an epilogue in verse. 21. ‘Opinion Diefied (sic). Discovering the Ingins, Traps, and Traynes that are set in this age, whereby to catch Opinion. London, for Thomas Adams,’ 1613, 4to (British Museum and Bodleian and Huth Libraries). Of three copies in the British Museum two are dedicated to Prince Charles, afterwards Charles I, and the third to Sir Thomas Ridgeway. 22. ‘The Honestie of this Age, proouing by good circumstance that the world was neuer honest till now. London for T. A.,’ 1614; dedicated to Sir Thomas Middleton, lord mayor of London (British Museum and Britwell). Rich in the epilogue calls this his twenty-fourth publication. Other editions are dated 1615 and 1616, and there is at Britwell a unique copy of an edition printed at Edinburgh by Andrew Hart about 1615. The 1614 edition was reprinted for the Percy Society in 1844, with an introduction and notes by Peter Cunningham. 23. ‘My Ladies Looking Glasse. Wherein may be discerned a wise man from a foole, a good woman from a bad, and the true resemblance of vice masked under the vizard of vertue. London, for Thomas Adams, 1616,’ 4to; dedicated to the wife of Sir Oliver St. John, lord-deputy of Ireland; an attack on catholics, largely repeating No. 14 (Bridgewater House, Bodleian, and Huth Libraries, and British Museum). 24. ‘The Irish Hubbub, or the English Hue and Crie. London, for John Marriot,’ 1617; dedicated to Sir Oliver St. John, lord-deputy of Ireland, from ‘Dublin, the 14 of May, 1617’ (British Museum, Bodleian, Huth, and Britwell Libraries). Other editions are dated 1619 and 1622. Rich here denounces tobacco-smoking with especial vigour.

In British Museum Lansdowne MS. 156, among the papers of Sir Julius Cæsar, are two autograph unprinted discourses on Ireland by Rich—the one endorsed by Cæsar ‘A Discourse of Capten Barnaby Riche, touching Ireland,’ dated 28 July 1612; the other, dated 15 Dec. 1615, is entitled by Rich ‘The Anothomy of Ireland, in the manr of a dyalogue, truly dyscoverynge the State of the Cuntrye, for His Mates especyall Servyce.’

To Rich has been doubtfully assigned ‘Greenes Funeralls (London, by John Danter, 1594);’ this is a collection of fourteen sonnets, signed by R. B., initials which Collier treated as Rich's reversed (Bibl. Cat. vol. i. p. xvii *). Rich has also been claimed as the translator of ‘The Famous Hystory of Herodotus, deuided into nine bookes. London, by Thomas Marshe,’ 1584, 4to, b. l. (entered at Stationers' Hall on 13 June 1581) (British Museum and Britwell). The dedication, which is addressed to Robert, son of Sir William Dormer, is signed B. R., but it is in all probability by some other author. The English is very colloquial and the rendering inaccurate, but the translator apparently claimed to know his original, while Rich made no pretence to be a Greek scholar. Only two books of Herodotus—Clio and Euterpe—are translated. The second—‘Euterpe’—was reprinted in 1888 with a preface by Mr. Andrew Lang.

[Cunningham's Introduction to Honesty of this Age (Percy Soc.), 1844; preface to Shakespeare Society's Reprint of Rich's Farewell; Collier's Bibl. Account, ii. 42 seq. and Bibl. Decameron, ii. 134 seq.; Jusserand's Novel in the Time of Shakespeare, English translation, pp. 81, 145–7; Rich's Works in British Museum; information kindly supplied by R. E. Graves, esq., of the British Museum.]

S. L.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.233
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
105 i 21 Rich, Barnabe: for 1620?) read 1617)
ii 14f.e.  for A second edition of his read His
10-9 f.e.  for 24 June 1618 ... its publication. read 14 May 1617. He died on 10 Nov. following, from which date his pension was ordered to be paid to one Bourne (Carte MSS. in Bodleian Library, vol. lxii. p. 290).
107 i 21-23  omit It was reissued . . . (British Museum).