Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Waring, Robert

WARING, ROBERT (1614–1658), author, was descended from an old Staffordshire family settled at ‘the Lea’ in the time of Henry VIII. His father was Edmund Waring and his mother the daughter of Richard Broughton of Owlbury in the parish of Bishops Castle in Shropshire, and niece of the rabbinical scholar Hugh Broughton [q. v.]

Robert was born in 1614, and educated at Westminster school, whence he was elected to Oxford in 1630; he matriculated from Christ Church on 24 Feb. 1632; graduated B.A. on 20 June 1634 and M.A. on 26 April 1637. During the civil wars he bore arms for the king at Oxford. He was elected proctor on 29 April 1647 and Camden professor of ancient history on 2 Aug. of the same year. A protest against the election was raised by Charles Wheare, son of the previous professor, Degory Wheare [q. v.], who had been thrust into the place by the parliamentary visitors. According to the statutes Waring was not eligible, being in holy orders. He took an active part in resisting the proceedings of the visitors. Disregarding their order for his removal from his post of proctor, he was pronounced by them guilty of contempt of the authority of parliament on 14 Dec. 1647, and it was only owing to Selden's intercession that he escaped banishment from the university. He was summoned to London on 6 April 1648, was ordered into custody, but escaped to Oxford. On 14 Sept. following he was deprived of proctorship, professorship, and student's place. He retired to Apley in Shropshire, the seat of Sir William Whitmore, with whom he subsequently visited France. He died unmarried in Lincoln's Inn Fields on 10 May 1658, and was buried at St. Michael's, College Hill. His will was proved on 20 May 1658 by his sister and sole executrix, Anne Staunton.

According to Wood, Waring was a ‘most excellent Latin and English poet, but a better orator, and was reckoned among the great wits of the time in the university.’ Norris, in the introduction to his translation of the ‘Effigies Amoris,’ speaks of Waring as ‘an author who for sweetness of fancy, neatness of style, and lusciousness of hidden sense may compare, to say no more, to any extant.’

He published: 1. ‘A publike Conference betwixt the six Presbyterian Ministers and some Independent Commanders at Oxford, 12 Nov. 1646’ (anon.) n.p. 1646 (Bodleian Library). 2. ‘An Account of Mr. Pryn's Refutation of the University of Oxford's Plea,’ Oxford, 1648. 3. ‘Amoris Effigies’ (anon.) n.p. n.d. (Bodleian Library), London, 1649, 1664, 1668, 1671. In 1680 appeared an English translation of the work, apparently by a Robert Nightingale, which deviated in many points from the Latin original. To correct these variations John Norris, under the pseudonym of Phil-iconerus, published a fresh translation, London, 1682; 2nd edit., 1701; 4th edit., 1744. Waring also wrote various copies of Latin verse, including one in ‘Jonsonus Virbius’ (1639), which is more accurately printed in the 1668 and subsequent editions of the ‘Amoris Effigies,’ under the title of ‘Carmen Lapidorium’ (cf. Clement Barksdale, Nympha Libethris', or the Cotswold Muse, London, 1651).

[Foster's Alumni; Wood's Athenæ (Bliss), iii. cols. 453–4; Welch's Alumni Westmon. p. 102; Burrows's Reg. of the Visitors of Oxford (Camden Soc.), pp. lxxxii, 19, 185–6, 236; Wood's Hist. and Antiq. of Univ. of Oxford (Gutch), II. ii. 513, 544, 558; P. C. C. 323 Wotton; Blakeway's Sheriffs of Shropshire, pp. 131–2; Thoroton's Nottinghamshire, i. 39, 306; Hunter's Chorus Vatum (Addit. MS. 24490, f. 301); Hist. MSS. Comm. 5th Rep. p. 155.]

B. P.