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Harington, John (1592-1614) (DNB00)


HARINGTON JOHN, second Lord Harington of Exton (1592–1614), the surviving son of John Harington, first lord [q. v.], was born at Combe Abbey, near Coventry, Warwickshire, in April 1592. He was reputed a great scholar at Cambridge, where he probably entered Sidney Sussex College, which had been founded by Lady Frances Sidney, his mother's relative, and to which he and his father were 'bountiful' benefactors. Harington early acquired four languages—Latin, Greek, French, and Italian—and was 'well read' in logic and philosophy. He was the favourite friend and companion of Henry, prince of Wales. On 5 Jan. 1604 he was created with the Duke of York and others a knight of the Bath. In September he went a foreign tour with one Tovy, an 'aged man,' late master of the free school, Guildford. Abroad he corresponded regularly in French and Latin with Henry (see the letters in Harl. MSS. v. 7007, printed in the Appendix of Birch's Life of Prince Henry). After seven weeks in the Low Countries, where he visited the universities and the courts of three princes, besides military fortifications, Harington went to Italy in 1608. He wrote from Venice (28 May 1609) announcing his intention of returning through France to spend the rest of his life with his royal friend. Henry's death (6 Jan. 1613) greatly grieved him (Birch). He succeeded to his father's title and a heritage of debts in August 1613, and he vainly attempted to retrieve the family fortunes. He died at Kew on 27 Feb. 1613-4, and was buried at Exton. On 18 Feb. he had sold the lordship of Exton to Sir Braxton Hicks, and by his will, made at the same time, left the over-plus of the estates, after the creditors had been paid (according to his rrother the debts amounted to 40,000l.), to his two sisters, two-thirds to the Countess of Bedford, and one-third to Lady Chichester. The Countess of Bedford eventually sold the remaining family estates in Rutlandshire.

Harington's contemporaries write of him in the highest terms. Two sermons were published on his death, one preached at the funeral by R. Stock, pastor of All Hallows, Bread Street, entitled ' The Church's Lament for the Loss of the Godly,' London, 1614, 4to, British Museum, with a small woodprint portrait. The other, by T. P. of Sidney Sussex College, contains an epitaph and elegies by F. Herring and Sir Thomas Roe. At the same time a poem entitled 'Sorrows Lenitive, written upon occasion of the death of that hopeful and noble young gentleman,' &c. (British Museum and Bodleian Library), was written by Abraham Jackson, and dedicated to Harington's mother and sister Lucy. John Donne [q. v.] took leave of poetry in a funeral ode on Harington (published after his death in the volume of Poems, London, 1633, 8vo), and Thomas Gataker [q. v.], in his 'Discours Apologetical,' London, 1654, p. 36, styles him a 'mirror of nobility.' A portrait is in Holland's 'Herωologia.'

[See under Harington, John, first lord; Birch's Life of Prince Henry, pp. 117-19, 122, 125, 166-169, 176, 371, 390, Appendix; Anstie's Knighthood of the Bath, pp. 60, 61; The Marrow of Ecclesiastical History, by S. Clark, minister of Benet-Fink, ed. 1675, pt. ii. p. 58; Cunningham's Lives of Eminent Englishmen, ii. 250; Harington's Nugæ Antiquæ, ii. 307.]

E. T. B.