Clarke, Samuel (1625-1669) (DNB00)

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CLARKE, SAMUEL (1625–1669), ‘right famous for oriental learning’ (Wood), was a son of Thomas Clarke of Brackley in Northamptonshire, and at the age of fifteen entered at Merton College, Oxford, Lent term 1640. About four years later, when the city was being garrisoned in the royal cause, he left Oxford, but returned after the surrender, submitted to the parliamentary visitors, and took his M.A. degree (1648). In 1649 he was appointed the first architypographus of the university, adding the office of upper bedell of the civil law; but in 1650 we find him master of a school at Islington, and at the same time materially assisting Walton in the preparation of his polyglott Bible, notably in the Hebrew text, the Chaldean paraphrase, and the Latin translation of the Persian version of the Gospels. In 1658 he returned once more to Oxford, and was re-elected to both his former posts, which he retained till his death in Holywell, 27 Dec. 1669, and during this period showed himself ‘a most necessary and useful person in the concerns thereof belonging to the university’ (Wood). Besides his share in Walton's ‘Biblia Sacra Polyglotta’ (1657), he published ‘Scientia Metrica et Rhythmica, seu tractatus de Prosodia Arabica,’ Oxford, 1661, which appeared as an appendix (separately paged) to Pococke's ‘Lamiato 'l Ajam,’ and ‘Massereth Beracoth Titulus Talmudi- cus,’ Oxford, 1667, goes by his name. He also left in manuscript, at Cambridge, a ‘Septimum Bibliorum Polyglottum Volumen,’ and ‘Paraphrastes Chaldæus in librum Paralipomenon,’ which Castell used in the composition of his contemporary ‘Lexicon Heptaglotton.’ Fourteen of his manuscripts are preserved in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, including a transcript, in his own hand, with notes and various readings, of Abulfeda's Geography; a vocabulary of Arabic names of places; a transcript of the Psalms in Persian; and part of a Persian and Turkish dictionary—a list which sufficiently proves the breadth of his linguistic attainments, while their solidity and accuracy are attested by the united approbation of Walton and Castell. Two letters by Clarke (‘D. Samuel Clericus’) to Buxtorf the younger are included in the ‘Epistolæ clarorum virorum’ at the end of the latter's ‘Catalecta,’ and are dated Lond. 1656 and Oxon. 1662; but they present nothing of biographical importance.

[Wood's Athenæ, ed. Bliss, iii. 882–5; Buxtorfii Catalecta Philologico-theologica (1707), p. 450; Memorials of Merton Coll. (Oxford Hist. Soc.) 354; Bibl. Bodl. Codd. MSS. Orient Catal.]

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