Bond, John (1550-1612) (DNB00)

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BOND, JOHN (1550–1612), physician and classical scholar, was born at Trull, a village two miles from Taunton, in Somersetshire, and was educated in ‘grammatical of as Wood says, at Winchester; became a student at Oxford in 1569, and took a degree in arts four years after, being then either one of the clerks or chaplains of New College, and much noted for his proficiency in academical learning. In 1679 he proceeded in arts, and had soon after the mastership of the free school of Taunton in his own county conferred on him by the warden and society of New College. Gilbert Sheldon, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury, is said to have been one of his pupils for a short time. At length, being in a manner Worn out with the drudgery of a school-he speaks of it in one of his prefaces as a stone sustained by him for twenty years and more-he, for diversion, ‘I cannot say,’ writes his biographer, ‘for profit,’ practised physic, though he had taken no degree in that faculty at the university, and became at length eminent therein. Bond is probably to be identified with the John Bond who was chief secretary to the lord chancellor of England (Egerton). Thomas Coriat, in his letters, desires the recommendation of his dutiful respects to many lovers of virtue and literature, among which, next to that of Ben Jonson, is ‘Maister John Bond, my countreyman, chiefe secretarie unto my lorde chancellour’ One of Bond’s name occurs as member for Taunton in the parliaments of 1601 and 1603.

Bond’s chief works were his commentaries on Horace and Persius, the former dedicated to Henry, Prince of Wales, under date 7 Aug. 1606. Bond’s ‘Commentaries on Horace ’ appear in a miniature edition issued by the Elzevirs; they are to be found in all the principal editions of the Latin poet. His ‘commentaries on Persius’ were published after their authors death by Roger Prowse, who married his daughter Elizabeth. They were dedicated by Prowse to James Mountague, bishop of Bath and Wells. Prowse says he thought it a pity that Bond’s Persius, because his father-in-law had not put the last hand to it, should be left unedited, seeing that his Horace had won a wide reputation. Bond’s writings, says Wood, are used by the juniors of our universities and in many free schools, and more admired and printed beyond the seas than in England. He has written, says the same biographer, if not published, ‘other things- but sue I have not yet seen.’ At the time of his death, which happened on 3 Aug. 1612, he was possessed of several lands and tenements in Taunton, Wiltshire, and Newenton. He was buried in the church of Taunton, called St. Mary Migdalene, and over is grave was this epitap :-

Qui medicus doctus, prudentis nomins clarus,
Eloquii splendor, Pieridumque decus,
Virtutis cultor, pietatis vixit amicus;
Hoc jacet in tumulo, spiritus alta tenet.

No traces of the monument at present remain.

Bond was certainly one of the best scholiasts of his age. His notes are brief and pointed. Many of his observations are extracted from Lambinus. He tells his in the preface to his Horace that the work was the outcome of certain notes or scholia, which he caused his pupils to set down in writing, that they might better remember them. Achaintre, who highly praised Bond's notes, incorporated them with his Paris edition 1806 as the work of the most famous of the scholiasts, and noted that more than fifteen editions of his Horace had then left the press in France, Great Britain, Germany, and Belgium.

The full titles of Bond’s works are:

  1. ‘Quinti Horatii Flacci Poemata, scholiis sive annotationibus use brevis Commentarii vice esse possint il1ustrata,’ Lond. 1606; Leyden, 1606, 1630,1668; Frankfort, 1629; Hanover, 1621; Amst. 1686, 12mo (best edition); Leipzig, 1623, 1655 printed several times after both in London and abroad.
  2. 'Auli Persii Flacci Satyræ sex, cum posthumis Commentariis Joannis Bond,’ Lond. 1614; Pans, 1644; Amst. 1645, 1659; Nuremberg, 1625, 1631, 1633.

[Chaufepiés Dict. Hist. ii. 402 ; Watt's Bibl. Mus. Catal.; Wood's Ath. Oxon. ii. 193, 213; Tou1min’s History of Taunton, 201; Zedlar‘s Univ. Lex.; Birch's Life of Henry, Prince of Wales, 73; Coriat's From Court of Great Mogul, Lond. 1616, p. 45.]

J. M.