Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Pecke, Thomas

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418632Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 44 — Pecke, Thomas1895George Thorn-Drury

PECKE, THOMAS (fl. 1664), verse-writer, son of James Pecke, a member of the well-known family of his name settled at Spixworth in Norfolk, was born at Wymondham in 1637. His mother's maiden name was Talbot. He was educated at the free school, Norwich, under Thomas Levering, to whom he addresses one of his epigrams, and was admitted a member of Gonville and Caius College, 8 Oct. 1655. He apparently owed his maintenance at the university to his uncle, Thomas Pecke of Spixworth, but seems to have left it without a degree. He entered at the Inner Temple on 22 June 1657, when he was described as of Edmon ton, and was called to the bar on 12 Feb. 1664 (Register Books of the Inner Temple), Pecke was a friend of Francis Osborne (1593–1659) [q. v.], the author of 'Advice to a Son,' and when Osborne was attacked by John Heydon [q. v.] in his 'Advice to a Daughter,' replied to the latter in 'Advice to Balaam's Ass,' 8vo, 1658. Heydon also gave currency to the report that Pecke was the author of 'A Dialogue of Polygamy,' a translation from the Italian of Bernardino Ochino [q. v.], published in 1657, and dedicated to Osborne.

Pecke also published 'An Elegie upon the never satisfactorily deplored Death of that rare Column of Parnassus, Mr. John Cleeveland,' a folio broadside, 1658 (Brit. Mus.); 'Parnassi Puerperium,' 8vo, 1659, a collection of epigrams, original and translated from Sir Thomas More and others, upon the title of which he describes himself as the 'Author of that celebrated Elegie upon Cleeveland,' and a congratulatory poem to Charles II, 4to, 1660.

There is a portrait of Pecke prefixed to 'Parnassi Puerperium.'

[Information kindly supplied by the master of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge.]

G. T. D.