Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Simeon, Joseph

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SIMEON or SIMONS, JOSEPH (1594–1671), jesuit and dramatist, whose real name was Emmanuel Lobb, born at Portsmouth in 1594, was at the age of eleven sent to Portugal to learn the language with a view to mercantile life. There he was converted to the catholic faith by the jesuit father Henry Floyd. After a while he was sent to the college of the English jesuits at St. Omer, and he entered the English College at Rome, under the assumed name of Joseph Simeon, on 13 Oct. 1616. Having received minor orders in 1617, he left Rome for Belgium on 14 Sept. 1619, was received into the Society of Jesus at Liège, and was professed of the four vows on 25 Jan. 1632–3. After professing rhetoric and the belles-lettres in the English College at St. Omer for five years, he became professor of theology, philosophy, and sacred scripture in the English theologate of the Society of Jesus at Liège. In 1647 he was appointed rector of the English College at Rome, and in 1650 rector of the theologate at Liège. He was also instructor of the tertian fathers at Ghent. Being subsequently sent to the English mission he was at one period rector of the college of St. Ignatius. In 1667 he became the English provincial. When residing in London in 1669 he was consulted by the Duke of York, whom he afterwards reconciled to the Roman catholic church (Clarke, Life of James II, i. 440, 441; Sanders, Life of James II, 1704, p. 14). He died in London on 24 July 1671.

Simeon was author of the following tragedies, all of which are in five acts and in verse: 1. ‘Zeno, Tragœdia,’ Rome, 1648, 8vo, Antwerp, n.d. 12mo. 2. ‘Mercia, Tragœdia,’ Rome, 1648, 8vo. 3. ‘Theoctitus sive constans in Aula virtus,’ Liège, n.d. 12mo. 4. ‘Tragœdiæ quinque, quarum duæ postremæ nunc primum lucem vident,’ Liège, 1657, 12mo; Cologne, 1680 and 1697, 12mo. The two additional pieces are ‘Vitus, sive Christiana fortitudo,’ and ‘Leo Armenus, sive Impietas punita.’ These tragedies were frequently acted in Italy and Spain. The style is elegant and dignified, but the subjects are unattractive.

Oliver ascribes to him an ‘Answer to Dr. Pierce's Sermon preached before his Majesty 1 Feb. 1663. By J. S.,’ London, 1663, 12mo. Others ascribe the authorship to John Sergeant [q. v.]

[De Backer's Bibl. de la Compagnie de Jésus (1876), iii. 793; Dodd's Church Hist. iii. 317, 472; Foley's Records, i. 272 n., vi. 278, vii. 463; Oliver's Collections S. J., p. 191; Paquot's Hist. Littéraire des Pays-Bas (1765), p. 189; Southwell's Bibl. Scriptorum Soc. Jesu, p. 525.]

T. C.