1842 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Camden

C. H. Timperley, in Encyclopaedia of Literary and Typographical Anecdote (1842) 2:474.



1623, Nov. 9. Died, WILLIAM CAMDEN, a learned antiquary and historian. He was born May 2, 1551, in the Old Bailey, London, of humble parents, and owed his education to charity. He received the rudiments of his education at Christ's hospital, London, and was afterwards of Magdalen college, Oxford, in 1565. In 1573 he took the degree of B.A., and in 1576 was appointed second master of Westminster school. In 1586 he published in Latin, the History of the Ancient Inhabitants of Britain, their Origin, Manners, and Laws; a third edition of this work appeared in 1590, at which time he had a prebend in Salisbury cathedral, but without being in orders. In 1593 he became head master of Westminster school, and next year published an enlarged edition of his Britannia. In 1597 he printed his Greek grammar, for the use of Westminster school; and the same year was made clarencieux king at arms. In 1600 came out his Catalogue of the Monuments in Westminster Abbey, and a new impression of his Britannia. In 1603 he published at Frankfort a collection of our ancient historians, in Latin; and in the year following appeared his Remains concerning Britain, in 4to. In 1615 be printed his Annals of Queen Elizabeth. But such was the literary despotism, that men of genius in this country were either suffering the vigorous limbs of their productions to be shamefully mutilated in public, or voluntarily committed a literary suicide on their own manuscripts. Camden declared that he was not suffered to print all his Elizabeth, and sent those passages over to De Thou, the French historian, who printed his history faithfully two years after Camden's first edition, 1615. He died at Chiselhurst, in Kent, and his remains were interred with great solemnity in Westminster abbey. He founded a history professorship at Oxford, and bequeathed all his books and papers to sir Robert Cotton.

William Camden was a man of singular modesty and integrity, profoundly learned in the history and antiquities of this kingdom, and a judicious and conscientious historian. He was reverenced and esteemed by the literati of all nations, and will be ever remembered as an honour to the age and country wherein he lived.