Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Thorius, Raphael

THORIUS, RAPHAEL, M.D. (d. 1625), physician, son of Francis Thorius, M.D., a French physician and Latin poet, was born in the Low Countries. He studied medicine at Oxford, but graduated M.D. at Leyden. He then began practice in London, for which invasion of privilege he was fined by the College of Physicians, but afterwards presented himself for examination, and was admitted a licentiate on 23 Dec. 1596. He resided in the parish of St. Benet Finck in London, and attained considerable practice. He wrote a Latin ode in 1603, exhorting his wife and family to leave London on account of the plague. He was fond of literature, and in 1610 wrote his ‘Hymnus Tabaci.’ The poem, of which there are two books, is in hexameters, and as an elegant composition containing many felicitous expressions deserves a place among the metrical works of physicians beside the ‘Syphilis’ of Hieronymus Frascastorius, to which perhaps the inception of the ‘Hymnus’ is due. He addresses Sir William Paddy, in 1610, president of the College of Physicians, as Frascastorius addresses Peter Bembo in the beginning of his poem. The commencement of the ‘Hymnus,’

Innocuos calices, et amicam vatibus herbam,
Vimque datam folio, et læti miracula fumi Aggredior,

not improbably suggested to William Cowper [q. v.] a well-known passage in ‘The Task.’

Thorius completed a revision of the poem with some additions on 18 Feb. 1625 (letter to L. a Kinschot), and it was published in that year at Leyden. The first London edition appeared in 1627, and a convenient pocket edition was issued at Utrecht in 1644. On 26 Feb. 1625 he completed a poem of 142 hexameter lines entitled ‘Hyems,’ dedicated to Constantine Hygins, which is sometimes printed with the ‘Hymnus.’ A manuscript volume of his poems in the British Museum (Sloane MS. 1768) contains one copy of Greek verses and numerous Latin poems, of which the most interesting are lines on the execution of Sir Walter Ralegh, an address ‘ad regem Angliæ’ in 1619, ‘De pietate Merici Casauboni,’ an epitaph for William Camden the herald, an epistle to Baudius, verses for the albums of friends, verses on Rondeletius the naturalist and on Lobelius, an epitaph for the heart of Anna Sophia (daughter of Christopher Harley), and what is probably the original copy of Book I of his poem on tobacco. Lobelius the botanist, Nathaniel Baxter [q. v.], the poet, Sir Robert Ayton [q. v.], Meric Casaubon [q. v.], Sir Theodore Mayerne [q. v.], and William Halliday were his friends. He had a son John, besides three other children who died young. He died of the plague in his own house in London in the summer of 1625.

[Munk's Coll. of Phys. i. 109; Sloane MS. 1768 in British Museum; Works.]

N. M.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.264
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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284 ii 50-51 Thorius, Raphael: for Frascatorius read Fracastorius