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Blomfield, Edward Valentine (DNB00)

BLOMFIELD, EDWARD VALENTINE (1788–1816), classical scholar, younger brother of Charles James Blomfield, the well-known bishop of London, was the second son of Charles Blomfield, a schoolmaster at Bury St. Edmunds, Edward acquired a high reputation for learning and general accomplishments, being a good modern linguist and draughtsman, as well as a brilliant scholar. The promise of his early manhood was disappointed by a premature death, but he lived long enough to do work of some little mark in its day. He was born on 14 Feb. 1788, was educated under Dr. Becher at the grammar school in Bury St. Edmunds, and thence proceeded to Caius College, Cambridge, in 1807. In 1811 he took his B.A. degree, being placed thirteenth in the list of wranglers. He had, however, obtained such classical distinctions as were then open to competition; he was Browne's medallist in 1809 and 1810 (in the former year being beaten by one candidate, but receiving a prize of books from the vice-chancellor, Dr. Barnes), members' prizeman in 1812, and finally first chancellor's classical medallist. The fellowships in his own college being full, he was elected to a classical lectureship and fellowship at Emmanuel, which he retained till his death in 1816. He died from a fever contracted in a long vacation tour in Switzerland in that year. He managed, after being taken ill at Dover, to reach Cambridge, where he died on 3 Oct., and was buried in Emmanuel College Chapel; in the cloisters of which is a tablet to his memory, with an inscription by his brother, Charles James, in which his death is said to be suis non sibi immatura.

His chief work was a translation of Matthiæ's 'Greek Grammar,' a book still unrivalled in its way. He had completed it in the spring of 1816, intending to furnish it with indexes, &c., in the autumn. It was left for his brother Charles James to edit, who prefixed to it a short essay on the virtues and learning of the translator. Edward had met with this book in the course of a tour in Germany, undertaken in 1813, as soon as the events of that year had opened the continent to English travellers. Another fruit of this tour was a paper in the 'Museum Criticum' on 'The State of Classical Literature in Germany,' a subject which had then become almost unknown in England. Besides a few other papers contributed to the 'Museum' Blomfield had projected a Greek-English lexicon to take the place of the old Greek-Latin Lexicons of Scapula and Hedericus, which gave needless difficulty to students and were neither full nor accurate. He published a specimen of his Lexicon, which was well received, and his plans seem to have been rational and promising. Had he lived, some of the labours of Deans Liddell and Scott might have been anticipated. At any rate he showed that he knew what was wanted. Monk, the biographer of Bentley and Greek professor, who had been one of his intimate friends, paid a warm tribute to his learning and amiable qualities in the pages of the 'Museum Criticum.' He appears to have enjoyed a wide popularity among his contemporaries, and to have deserved it.

[Memoirs of Charles James Blomfield by his Son, 1863; Cambridge Museum Criticum, ii. 620 (by Monk); Preface to Matthiæ's Greek Grammar.]

E. S. S.