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Barksdale, Clement (DNB00)

BARKSDALE, CLEMENT (1609–1687), author, was born at Winchcombe in Gloucestershire in November 1609. He received his earlier education in the grammar school of Abingdon, Berkshire. He entered Merton College, Oxford, as ‘a servitor,’ in Lent term 1625, but removed shortly to Gloucester Hall (afterwards Worcester College), where he took his degrees in arts. He entered holy orders, and in 1637 acted as chaplain of Lincoln College. In the same year he proceeded to Hereford, where he became master of the free school, vicar-choral, and soon after vicar of All Hallows in that city. When the garrison of Hereford was taken by the parliamentarymentary army in 1646, he retreated to Sudeley Castle by the intervention of the Chandos family. In this family he acted as chaplain during the opening years of the civil war. Later, he found shelter at Hawling in Cotswold, where he taught a private school with success and had several pupils of rank. It was here that he composed his ‘Nympha Libethris, or the Cotswold Muse, presenting some extempore Verses to the Imitation of yong Scholars,’ 1651. At the Restoration he was presented to the livings of Naunton, near Hawling, and of Stow-on-the-Wold in Gloucestershire. These he retained until his death in January 1687, in his seventy-ninth year, when (says Anthony à Wood) he left behind him ‘the character of a frequent and edifying preacher and a good neighbour.’ His chief works are:

  1. ‘Monumenta Literaria: sive Obitus et Elogia doctorum Virorum, ex Historiis Jac. Aug. Thuani,’ 1640.
  2. ‘A Short Practical Catechism out of Dr. Hammond, with a Paper Monument,’ 1649.
  3. ‘Adagilia Sacra Novi Testamenti … ab Andr. Schotto,’ 1651.
  4. ‘Nympha Libethris, or the Cotswold Muse,’ 4 parts, 1651.
  5. ‘Life of Hugo Grotius,’ 1652.
  6. ‘Noctes Hibernæ: Winter Nights' Exercise,’ 1653.
  7. ‘V. cl. Elogia Anglorum Camdeniana,’ 1653.
  8. ‘The Disputation at Whinchcombe, 9 Nov. 1653,’ 1653.
  9. ‘An Oxford Conference of Two Young Scholars touching their Studies,’ 1659.
  10. ‘A Modest Reply in Three Letters touching the Clergy and Universities,’ 1659.
  11. Sermons, separately published: ‘The Sacrifice,’ 1655; ‘King's Return,’ 1660; on 2 Samuel xv. 25, 1660; on Psalm cxxii. 6, 1680.
  12. ‘Of Contentment,’ 1660, 4th edit. 1679.
  13. ‘Defence of the Liturgy,’ 1661.
  14. ‘Memorials of Worthy Persons,’ 1661.
  15. ‘Remembrances of Excellent Men,’ 1670.
  16. ‘Masora: a Collection out of the learned Master J. Buxtorfius's Comment. Masoreticus,’ 1665.
  17. ‘Collection of Scripture illustrated by Mr. Richard Hooker,’ 1675.
  18. ‘Three Ministers, … their Collections and Notices touching several Texts at their Weekly Meeting,’ 1675.
  19. ‘Letter touching a College of Maids or a Virgin Society,’ 1675.
  20. ‘Hugonis Grotii Annot. Selectæ ad vii. cap. S. Matthæi,’ 1675.
  21. ‘Behold the Husbandman,’ 1677.
  22. ‘Learn to die,’ 1679.
  23. ‘Bezæ Epitaphia Selecta,’ 1680.
  24. ‘Sententiæ Sacræ,’ 1680.
  25. ‘Aurea Dicta: the King's gracious Words,’ 1681.
  26. ‘Memorials of Alderman Whitmore, Bp. Wilkins, Reynolds,’ &c. 1681.
  27. ‘Religion in Verse,’ 1683.
  28. ‘Old Gentleman's Wish,’ 1684.
  29. ‘Of Authors and Books,’ 1684.
  30. ‘Century of Sacred Distichs, or Religion in Verse,’ being No. 27 enlarged.
  31. ‘Grateful Mention of Deceased Bishops,’ 1686. Also translations of books and tractates by Cyprian, Grotius, Schurman, &c.

His only approach to poetic faculty is in his verse-translations of some of Crashaw's Latin epigrams. Otherwise he was a mere book-maker. As a biographer he is perfunctory and untrustworthy. His translations are usually paraphrastic and inelegant. His extempore verses in his ‘Nympha Libethris’ abound in allusions to contemporary persons and events.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), iv. 221–5; Corser's Collectanea Anglo-Poetica; Bliss's Catalogue, 141–8; Heber's Catalogue; Hunter's MS. Chorus Vatum, in Brit. Mus.; Barksdale's books.]

A. B. G.