Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Linche, Richard

LINCHE or LYNCHE, RICHARD (fl. 1596–1601), poet, was the author of: 1. ‘The Fountaine of English Fiction, wherein is lively depictured the Images and Statues of the Gods of the Ancients, with their proper and particular Expositions, done out of Italian into English by Richard Linche, gent., for Adam Islip,’ 1599, 4to (Brit. Mus.). In this ‘strange borne child of idlenesse,’ as he calls it, the author takes each of the Latin gods in turn, and then collates from classical writers the passages in which his attributes are described. It is dedicated to Peter ‘Dauison, esq.’ 2. ‘An Historical Treatise of the Travels of Noah into Europe, containing the first inhabitation and peopling thereof. As also a briefe Recapitulation of the Kings, Governors, and Rulers commanding in the same, even untill the first building of Troy by Dardanus. Done into English by Richard Lynche, gent., London, by Adam Islip,’ 1601. Dedicated to ‘My very good friend, Maister Peter Manwood, Esq.’ Both of these so-called translations are interspersed with verses and with tags of Italian. These circumstances, combined with a general similarity of style and colouring, strongly favour the conjecture that Linche is the ‘R. L. gentleman’ who in 1596 gave to the world ‘Diella; certain Sonnets adioyned to the amorous Poeme of Dom Diego and Gineura. London, for Henry Olney,’ the publisher of Sidney's ‘Apologie for Poetrie.’ Heber (Cat. of Engl. Poetry, p. 171) describes the volume as of extraordinary rarity; but besides the one in his possession there are copies both in the British Museum and Bodleian Libraries; the latter, although dated 1596, bears a different imprint. The printer's dedication is addressed to Lady Ann Glemnham, eldest daughter of Thomas Sackville, earl of Dorset, and wife of Sir Henry Glemnham or Glemham, knight. Despite the writer's ‘immaturity’ (to which allusion is made in the preface) the sonnets display some genuine, though ill-sustained inspiration. The story of Dom Diego is taken bodily from the ‘Tragicall Discourses’ (1567) of Geoffrey Fenton [q. v.] The thirty-eight sonnets alone were reprinted in 1841 at the Beldornie Press for Edward V. Utterson (sixteen copies only), and also in E. Goldsmid's ‘Bookworms Garner,’ and together with ‘Dom Diego’ in the seventh volume of Mr. Arber's ‘English Garner,’ 1883. The whole work was edited in 1877, with introduction and notes, by the Rev. A. B. Grosart, who is convinced of the identity of R. L. with Richard Linche. The attribution of ‘Diella’ to Richard Lylesse, scholar of King's College, Cambridge, advanced by Messrs. Cooper (Athenæ Cantabr. ii. 223) has certainly less to recommend it.

Linche may have been the subject of the sonnet which Richard Barnefield addressed to his ‘friend, Maister R. L., in praise of Musique and Poetrie,’ in ‘Poems in Diuers Humors,’ 1598. A poem in the ‘Paradise of Dainty Devices,’ entitled ‘Being in Love he complaineth,’ bears the same signature.

[Dr. Grosart's edit. of Diella, 1877; Add. MS. 24489, f. 104 (Hunter's Chorus Vatum); Hazlitt's Handbook, 1867, p. 335; Collections and Notes, 1876, p. 257; Ames's Typographical Antiq. ed. Herbert, pp. 1287, 1381; Brydges's Restituta and Censura, vi. 135; Ritson's Bibl. Poet. p. 265; Warton's English Poetry, 1871, iv. 346, 351; Lowndes's Bibl. Man. p. 1363; Cat. of Malone's Books in the Bodleian Library; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

T. S.