Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Mab, James

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MAB or MABBE, JAMES (1572–1642?), Spanish scholar, son of James Mab and Martha, daughter of William Denham of London, was born in Surrey in 1572. His grandfather, John Mab [q. v.], was chamberlain of London. He matriculated at Magdalen College, Oxford, 9 Feb. 1588, demy 1586–94, B.A. 8 Feb. 1594, fellow 1594–1633, M.A. 17 Oct. 1598. In 1605 he spoke an oration before Prince Henry upon the occasion of his matriculating at Magdalen College. He was junior proctor of the university in 1606, senior dean of arts 1607–8, junior dean of arts 1609–10. In 1609 he supplicated for the degree of D.C.L. He was bursar of his college in 1617, 1618, 1620, 1623, 1627, and 1630.

Mab accompanied Sir John Digby as his secretary when he went as ambassador to Madrid in 1611, and upon his return in 1613, although he was in orders, he was made one of the lay prebendaries of Wells. He was in residence at Magdalen College in 1626, but afterwards lived in the family of Sir John Strangwayes, at Abbotsbury in Dorset, where he died, and was buried about 1642. He employed as a pseudonym ‘Don Diego Puede-Ser’ (i.e. James May-be), and published the following translations from the Spanish: 1. ‘The Rogue, or the Life of Guzman de Alfarache,’ London, 1623 (some copies are dated 1622); reprinted, Oxford 1630, London 1634; to this were prefixed commendatory verses by Ben Jonson, William Browne, and others. 2. ‘Devout Contemplations Expressed in Two and Fortie Sermons Upon all the Quadragesimall Gospells Written in Spanish by Fr. Ch. de Fonseca, Englished by I. M. of Magdalen Colledge in Oxford,’ London, 1629. 3. ‘The Spanish Bawd Represented in Celestina: or the Tragicke-Comedy of Calisto and Melibea …,’ London, 1631; republished (not a new edition) with the third edition (1634) of ‘The Rogue’; reprinted in ‘Tudor Translations,’ 1894, and in Routledge's ‘Library of English Novelists,’ 1908. 4. ‘Exemplarie Novells; in Sixe Bookes. By Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra. .... Turned into English by Don Diego Puede-Ser,’ London, 1640. He also furnished an anagram and some Latin verses to Florio's ‘Queen Anna's New World of Words,’ 1611. According to Bolton Corney, he wrote commendatory verses signed I. M., prefixed to the first folio Shakespeare (Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. xi. 3); his authorship was accepted by Dyce, (Shakespeare, ed. Dyce, 2nd edition, i. 165). A folio MS. (Harl. MS. 5077), ‘Observations touching Some of the more solemn Tymes and festivall dayes of the yeare,’ is dedicated ‘To my worthy frend Mr. Jhon Browne’ (dedication dated from Magdalen College, ‘Decembr 27, 1626,’ and signed ‘James Mab’).

[Hunter's Chorus Vatum, Add. MS. 24488; Reg. Univ. Oxon., ed. Clark, vol. ii. pt. ii. p. 162; Bloxam's Magd. Coll. Reg., iv. 226; Fasti Oxon. ed. Bliss, i. 262, 278, 316, 334; Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iii. 53.]

G. T. D.