Grimald, Nicholas (DNB00)
GRIMALD, GRIMALDE, or GRIMOALD, NICHOLAS (1519–1562), poet, born in Huntingdonshire in 1519, was probably son of Giovanni Baptista Grimaldi, a clerk in the service of Empson and Dudley under Henry VII, and grandson of Giovanni Grimaldi of Genoa, a merchant who was made a denizen of England in 1485. His mother, on whose death he wrote a poem rich in autobiographic detail, was named Annes. He says that he spent his youth at a place called 'Brownshold.' He was educated at Christ's College, Cambridge, where he proceeded B.A. in 1539-40. But he soon removed to Oxford, where he was elected probationer-fellow of Merton College in 1541 (Brodrick, Memorials of Merton Coll. p. 259). On 22 March 1541-2 he was incorporated B.A. at Oxford, and two years later graduated M.A. there (Oxf. Univ. Reg., Oxf. Hist. Soc., i. 203). In 1547, on the reconstruction of Christ Church, Grimald was 'put in there (writes Wood) as a senior or theologist (accounted then only honorary),' and read public lectures in the refectory. He subsequently became chaplain to Bishop Ridley. On 2 Jan. 1551-1552 he was licensed as a preacher at Eccles by Richard Sampson, bishop of Lichfield, and on 18 Nov. 1552 Ridley wrote to Sir John Gates and Sir William Cecil, recommending him for preferment. In the early part of Mary's reign, Ridley, while in prison, directed Grimald, whom he held in high esteem, to translate Laurentius Valla's 'book … against the fable of Constantine's donation, and also Æneas Sylvius's "De Gestis Basiliensis Concilii," &c.' Ridley moreover sent Grimald copies of all that he wrote in prison. Grimald accordingly fell under the suspicion of Mary's government, and was sent to the Marshalsea in 1555. But he abandoned protestantism after Dr. Weston had conferred with him, and was pardoned. 'I fear me he escaped,' Ridley wrote to Grinclal, 'not without some becking and bowing (alas) of his knee unto Baal' (Ridley, Works, Parker Soc., p. 391). He is doubtfully said to have recanted secretly and to have acted as a spy upon protestant prisoners during the later years of Mary's reign. Foxe reports that a protestant martyr, Laurence Saunders, while at St. Albans, on his way to the stake at Coventry, met Grimald, 'a man who had more store of good gifts than of great constancy.' Saunders is said to have given Grimald 'a lesson meet for his lightness,' which he received with 'shrugging and shrinking' (Foxe, Actes, vi. 627). Grimald did not long survive Elizabeth's accession. His friend Barnabe Googe [q. v.] wrote an epitaph or elegy on Grimald before May 1562. This was published in Googe's 'Eclogs, Epytaphes, and Sonettes,' 1563, and is the sole clue to the date of Grimald's death.
Grimald is best remembered by his contributions of English verse to Tottel's 'Songs and Sonettes,' 1557. The first edition, issued 5 June 1557, contained forty poems by him, with his name attached to them. Henry Howard, earl of Surrey, supplied exactly the same number. In the second edition, issued 31 July 1557, thirty of Grimald's forty poems were suppressed, and the ten poems that remain have Grimald's initials only, not his name, appended to them. The cause of this change is difficult to understand. Grimald's verse is inferior to that of Howard and Wyatt, but is equal to most of the verse of 'uncertain authors' which is substituted for his own in Tottel's second edition. One of his pieces, 'The Death of Zoroas, an Egyptian astronomer, in the first fight that Alexander had with the Persians,' which appears in both editions, is an interesting venture in blank verse, and is stated to be from the Latin of Philip Gualtier. Four copies of English verse by Grimald are prefixed to Turner's 'Preseruatiue or Triall agaynst the Poyson of Pelagius,' 1551, 8vo.
As a Latin dramatist Grimald presents points of interest. He published 'Christus Redivivus Comœdia Tragica Sacra' at Cologne in 1543 (printed by Martin Gymnicus): one copy is in the library at Wolfenbiittel; a second is at Berlin; a third belongs to Prof. J. M. Hart of Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. Prof. Hart reprinted his copy in the publications of the Modern Languages Association of America, 1899. His 'Archi-propheta, tragœdia iam recens in lucem edita,' probably written for academical representation, deals with the story of St. John the Baptist. Composed in 1547, it was printed, with a dedication to Richard Cox [q. v.], by Martin Gymnicus at Cologne in 1548. A manuscript of it is at the British Museum (Royal MS. 12 A, xlvi.) There is lyric power in the choruses, and a classical flavour throughout. Grimald's friend Bale probably arranged for the two pieces' publication at Cologne. (cf. Goedeke, Grundriss, § 113, No. 30; Herford, Lit. Relations of England and Germany, p. 113). Bale ascribes to Grimald two comedies, entifled respectively ' Fama ' and 'Troilus ex Chaucero,' but nothing is known of them beyond Bale's notice. Other works on biblical subjects—the birth of Christ, the Protomartyr, and Athanasius— which appear in Bale's memoir may have been dramas. Of his classical scholarship Grimald has left other valuable proofs. The first edition of his translation into English of Cicero's 'De Officiis,' entitled 'M. T. Ciceroe's Three Bookes of Dueties,' dedicated to Thomas Thirleby, bishop of Ely, London, 8vo, seems to have appeared in 1553, and a second edition in 1556 (Ames), but we have been unable to discover copies of either. The editions of 1558, 1574, 1583, and 1596 (?) are in the British Museum. As late as 1591 was issued a scholarly Latin paraphrase of Virgil's 'Georgies,' under the title 'Nicolai Grimoaldi viri doctiss. in P. V. Maronis quatuor libros Georgicorum in oratione soluta paraphrasis elegantissima Oxonii in æde Christi anno Eduardi sexti secundo confecta,' London, G. Bishop and R. Newbery, 1591. Googe refers to Grimald's labours on Virgil in his epitaph on Phayre, and implies that he attempted an English translation. The only other extant book with certainty attributable to Grimald is 'Oratio ad Pontifices, Londini in æde Paulina anno Dom. 1553 17 Idus Aprilis habita in Synodo publica per Nicolaum Grimoaldum,' London, H. Binneman, 1583 (Bodl. Libr.) Bale attributes to Grimald an anonymous work issued in 1549, entitled 'Vox Populi, or The People's Complaint,' which was, writes Wood, 'against rectors, vicars, archdeacons, deans, &c., for living remote from their flocks, and for not performing the duty belonging to their respective offices.' Hunter suggests, on no very obvious grounds, that Grimald may be the anonymous translator of Dr. Lawrence Humfrey's 'Of Nobles and of Nobility, … late englished with a similar treatise by Philo the Jew' (London, by Thomas March, 1563), and the anonymous author of 'The Institution of a Gentleman,' dedicated to Lord Fitz-Walter (London, by T. March, 1555).
Besides the pieces assumed to be dramatic which we have already mentioned, Bale's list of Grimald's unpublished works includes speeches, sermons, religious tracts, letters, and poems. There are verses on Protector Somerset's restoration to power in 1551, and to Bale himself; treatises 'in partitiones Tullii,' 'in Andriam Terentianam,' 'in epistolas Horatii,' and translations from the Greek of Xenophon's 'De Disciplina Cyri,' and 'Hesiodi Ascrea.' Grimald is said to have made emendations for an edition of Matthew of Vendôme's 'Tobias,' and to have contemplated an edition of Joseph of Exeter's Latin poem on the Trojan war.[Wood's Athenæ, ed. Bliss, i. 407-11; Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. i. 230-1; Bale's De Script. Angl.; Tanner's Bibl. Brit. p. 344; Strype's Cranmer, iii. 128-30 ; Ritson's Bibliographia Poetica; Ridley's Works (Parker Soc.), pp. 337, 372; the Rev. A. B. Grimaldi's Cat. of Printed Books, &c., by Writers of the name of Grimaldi, London, 1883 (privately printed); notes supplied by the Rev. A. B. Grimaldi; Arber's reprint of Tottel's Miscellany; Hunter's MS. Chorus Vatum in Add. MS. 24487, pp. 228-231; Herford's Lit. Relations of England and Germany (1886). Professor Arber's argument that the poet is distinct from Ridley's chaplain (whose name is spelt Grimbold by Strype) is controverted by the references in Foxe and in Ridley's correspondence.]