Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Ker, Patrick

KER, PATRICK (fl. 1691), poet, has been supposed, with some support from internal evidence, to have been a Scottish episcopalian who migrated to London during the reign of Charles II. ‘Flosculum Poeticum. Poems divine and humane. Panegyrical, satyrical, ironical, by P. K. …’ (London, 1684, 12mo), a volume of ultra-loyalist verse, though assigned by Lowndes to P. Kirk (Bibl. Man. ii. 1252), may be safely attributed to him. Facing the title-page appears the triangle symbolical of the Trinity, which appears in another work, ‘The Map of Mans Misery,’ with the author's name, P. Ker, in full. The ‘Flosculum’ includes a grotesque cut of Charles II in the oak, accompanied by verses equally grotesque (p. 19), and a number of scurrilous rhymes and anagrams on Oliver Cromwell. The Luttrell Collection of Broadsides at the British Museum contains two elegies on Charles II, one dated 9 Feb. 1685, and signed P. K., the other dated 15 Feb., as well as a ‘Panegyrick Poem on the Coronation of James II,’ all of which are by Ker. In 1690 appeared his ‘Map of Mans Misery, or the Poor Man's Pocket Book. Being a Perpetual Almanack of Spiritual Meditations, or Compleat Directory for our Endlesse Week. … To which is added a Poem, entituled The Glass of Vain Glory. For Jn. Lawrence at the Angel in the Poultry,’ 1690, 12mo. The author's tory tendencies are here suppressed the work being dedicated to Rachel, lady Russell, and subscribed P. Ker, 24 Jan. 1689 (O.S.) In the following year was published ‘Λογομαχία, or the Conquest of Eloquence: containing two witty orations (in doggerel verse) as they may be read in Ovid's “Metamorphoses,” lib. xiii. By P. K.’ This is attributed in Heber's ‘Catalogue’ (p. 169), followed by Lowndes, to P. Kirk, but there is no apparent foundation for this theory of authorship. The last work traceable to Ker appeared in 1691. It is called ‘Πολιτικὸs μέγας. The Grand Politician, or the Secret Art of State Policy discovered Written originally in Latin by Conradus Reinking, Chancellor to his Electoral Highness the Duke of Brandenburgh, and now done into English.’ The so-called translation is supplementary to Machiavelli's well-known treatise, being addressed for the most part to statesmen and instructing them ‘How to Dissemble,’ ‘How to abrogate Privileges,’ ‘How to reveal a secret without giving offence to him who did inform you of it,’ ‘How to collect taxes without offending the subjects.’ The writer dedicates his ‘small treatise or wandering meteor’ to the Earl of Nottingham, and subscribes himself ‘Pat. Ker.’ This volume was published by Thos. Howkins, the publisher of the ‘Λογομαχία,’ with which work it was in some cases originally bound up. There seems little reason for supposing that Patrick Ker was identical with a Rev. Dr. Kerr, an eminent schoolmaster of Highgate, who is referred to by Dunton (Life and Errors, passim).

[Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. i. 281, 4th ser. ii. 102; Hazlitt's Bibl. Collections, 3rd ser. p. 132; Ker's works in Brit. Mus. Library, catalogued under K., P.]

T. S.