Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Middleton, Christopher (1560?-1628)

MIDDLETON, CHRISTOPHER (1560?–1628), translator and poet, may be identical with the Christopher Middleton of Cheshire who matriculated from Brasenose College, Oxford, 12 Dec. 1580, aged 20. A clergyman of the same name, who graduated B.D. from St. John's College, Cambridge, in 1619, was incorporated in that degree at Oxford on 13 July 1619, and was rector of Aston-le-Walls, Northamptonshire, from 1612 till his death there in 1628 (Foster, Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714).

Christopher Middleton was the author of: 1. 'A Short Introduction for to Learn to Swimme, gathered out of Master Digbies Booke of the Art of Swimming, and translated into English for the better instruction of those who understand not the Latin tongue, by Christopher Middleton,' 1595, 4to. This was illustrated with woodcuts of persons swimming. It was a translation of the 'De Arte Natandi libri duo,' 1587, of Everard Digby [q. v.] 2. ' The Historie of Heaven: containing the Poetical Fictions of all the Starres in the Firmament, gathered from amongst all the Poets and Astronomers, by Chrystopher Middleton. Printed for him 1596,' 4to (Bodl.) 3. 'The Famous Historie of Chinon of England, with his Strange Adventures for the love of Celestina, daughter to Lewis, King of France; with the worthy Atchivement of Sir Lancelot du Lake, and Sir Tristram du Lions for faire Laura, daughter to Cadar, Earle of Cornewall, beeing all Knights of King Arthur's Round Table. By Chr. Middleton. At London, printed by John Danter for Cuthbert Burbie,' 1597, b.l. 4to, forty-seven leaves. The dedication is by Danter (Brit. Mus.) 4. 'The Legend of Humphrey, Duke of Glocester, by Chr. Middleton. London, printed by E. A. for Nicholas Ling,' 1600, 4to. The author dedicates this poem to Sir Jarvis [i.e. Gervase] Clifton. It is preceded by a Latin hexastichon by Robert Allott, a sonnet by Michael Drayton, and two short poems by John Weever. The poem, consisting of 184 six-line stanzas, is written on the plan of the poems in the 'Mirror for Magistrates,' and 'need not shrink from a comparison with the majority of the poems in that collection.' (There are two copies of the original edition in the Museum and one in the Huth Library.) It is reprinted in the ' Harleian Miscellany ' (1813), x. 165.

[Harleian Miscellany, x. 164; Brydges's Censura Literaria, iii. 256; Hazlitt's Warton's Hist. of English Poetry, iv. 208–9, 211 ; Ames's Typographical Antiquities (Herbert), pp. 1029, 1033, 1342, 1382; Cooper's Athenae Cantabr. ii. 147; Bibliotheca Anglo-Poetica, p. 216.]

R. B.