Dibben, Thomas (DNB00)


DIBBEN, THOMAS, D.D. (d. 1741), Latin poet, a native of Manston, Dorsetshire, was admitted into Westminster School on the foundation in 1692, and thence elected in 1696 to a scholarship at Trinity College, Cambridge, of which he became a fellow in 1698 (B.A. 1699, M.A. 1703, B.D. 1710, D.D. 1721). On 16 July 1701 he was instituted to the rectory of Great Fontmell, Dorsetshire. He was chaplain to Dr. John Robinson, bishop of Bristol and lord privy seal, with whom he went to the congress of Utrecht, and who on being translated to the see of London collated him in 1714 to the precentorship of St. Paul's Cathedral. He represented the diocese of Bristol in the convocations of 1715 and 1727. Afterwards he became mentally deranged, left his house and friends, spent his fortune, and died in the Poultry compter, London, on 5 April 1741.

He published two sermons, one of which was preached at Utrecht before the plenipotentiaries 9–20 March 1711 on the anniversary of the queen's accession. As a Latin poet he acquired considerable celebrity. He wrote one of the poems printed at Cambridge on the return of William III from the continent in 1697, and translated Matthew Prior's ‘Carmen Seculare’ for 1700 into Latin verse. Of this translation Prior, in the preface to his ‘Poems’ (1733), says: ‘I take this occasion to thank my good friend and schoolfellow, Mr. Dibben, for his excellent version of the “Carmen Seculare,” though my gratitude may justly carry a little envy with it; for I believe the most accurate judges will find the translation exceed the original.’

[Addit. MS. 5867, f. 64; Hutchins's Dorsetshire (1813), iii. 161; London Mag. 1741, p. 206; Welch's Alumni Westmon. (Phillimore), pp. 222, 231, 232; Le Neve's Fasti (Hardy); Watt's Bibl. Brit.]

T. C.