Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Fleming, Abraham
FLEMING, ABRAHAM (1552?-1607), antiquary and poet, born in London in or about 1552, was matriculated at Cambridge as a sizar of Peterhouse in November 1570, but did not go out B.A. until 1581-2. He took holy orders, and became chaplain to the Countess of Nottingham. Between 1589 and 1606 he preached eight times at St. Paul's Cross. On 19 Oct. 1593 he was collated by Archbishop Whitgift to the rectory of St. Pancras, Soper Lane, London. He died at Bottesford, Leicestershire, on 18 Sept. 1607, while on a visit to his brother Samuel, the rector of that parish, and was buried in the chancel of the church there.
Though a poor poet, Fleming was an excellent antiquary. Most, if not all, of his manuscript collections were in 1732 in the possession of Francis Peck [q. v.], who designed to print them in the second volume of his 'Desiderata Curiosa.' They cannot now be traced. A list of fifty-nine of his works will be found in Cooper's 'Athenæ Cantabrigienses,' Among these are:
- 'Virgil's Eclogues, translated into English Verse,' London, 1575, and with the 'Georgics,' 1589.
- 'The Bukolikes of P. Virgilius Maro … Drawne into plaine and familiar English Verse,' London, 1575, 4to.
- 'A Panoplie of Epistles, or, a Looking-Glasse for the Vnlearned. Conteyning a perfecte plattforme of inditing letters of all sorts,' London, 1576, 4to; a translation from the Latin.
- 'A Register of Hysterics,' from the Greek of Aelianus, London, 1576, 4to.
- 'Of English Dogges,' from the Latin of John Caius, London, 1576, 4to.
- 'A Straunge and Terrible Wunder wrought very late in the Parish Church of Bongay … the fourth of this August 1577, in a great tempest of violent raine, lightning, and thunder … With the appearance of a horrible-shaped Thing, sensibly perceived of the people then and there assembled,' London, 1577, 12mo; reprinted, London, 1826, 8vo.
- 'Of all Biasing Starrs in Generall,' from the Latin of Frederick Nause, bishop of Vienna, London, 1577, 4to.
- 'Historie of Leander and Hero,' written by Musaeus. Translation, published about 1577. This is mentioned in a marginal note to Fleming's translation of Virgil's 'Georgics,' 1589.
- 'Jerom of Ferrara his meditations, on the 51 & 31 Psalms; translated and augmented,' London, n. d., and 1588, 16mo. Licensed in 1578.
- 'A Paradoxe, proving by reason and example that baldnesse is much better than bushie haire, &c. Written by that excellent philosopher Synesius, or (as some say) Cyren. A prettie pamphlet to pervse, and replenished with recreation. Englished by Abraham Fleming. Herevnto is annexed the pleasant tale of Hemetes the Heremite, pronounced before the Queens Maiestie. Newly recognised both in Latine and Englishe, by the said A.F. ,' London, 1579, 8vo. The tale of Hermetes is, with a few verbal changes, that which George Gascoigne presented to Queen Elizabeth (Cooper, Athenæ Cantabr. i. 377).
- 'Fred. Nawse, his generall Doctrine of Earthquakes,' translated, London, 1580, 8vo. The translator has added a history of earthquakes in England from the time of William the Conqueror to the last earthquake on 6 April 1580.
- 'A Memoriall of the Famous Monumentes and Charitable Almes Deedes of the Right Worshipfull Mr. Willm. Lambe … who deceased the xxi. of Aprill 1580,' London, 1580, 8vo. 13. 'The Footpath to Felicitie,' London, 1581, 24mo, reprinted in 'The Diamond of Deuotion,' 1586.
- 'A Monomachie of Motives in the mind of man: Or a battell between Vertues & Vices of contrarie qualitie,' newly Englished, London, 1582, 24mo.
- 'Verborvm Latinorvm cvm Graecis Anglicisqve conivnctorvm locupletissimi Commentary,' London, 1583, fol.
- Poetical translations for Reginald Scot's 'Discoverie of Witchcraft,' 1584.
- 'A Shorte Dictionarie in Latine and English,' London, 1586 and 1594, 4to.
- 'The Diamond of Deuotion; cut and squared into sixe severall pointes: namelie (1) The Footpath of Felicitie; (2) A Guide to Godlines; (3) The Schoole of Skill; (4) A Swarme of Bees; (5) A Plant of Pleasure; (6) A Grove of Graces. Full of manie fruitfull lessons auailable vnto the leading of a godlie and reformed life,' London, 1586, 24mo.
- 'The Historie of England, … &c. By Raphael Holinshed. Now newlie digested, &c. by Abr. Fleming.' In the first volume of Holinshed's 'Chronicles,' 1587. The third volume of the same edition was enlarged by Fleming with interpolations from the collections of Francis Thynne, the abridgment of R. Grafton, and the summary of John Stow.
- 'The Bucoliks of Publius Virgilius Maro, Prince of all Latine Poets … Together with his Georgiks or Ruralls, otherwise called his husbandrie, conteyning foure books. All newly translated into English verse,' London, 1589, 4to, dedicated to Archbishop Whitgift. This version of the 'Bucolics' is not the same as that published by Fleming in 1575.
- Historical and miscellaneous articles in manuscript enumerated in Peck's 'Desiderata Curiosa.'