Quin, Walter (DNB00)

QUIN, WALTER (1575?–1634?), poet and preceptor of Charles I, born about 1575 in Dublin, travelled abroad and became a cultivated writer in English, French, Italian, and Latin. He was apparently studying at Edinburgh university, when, in 1595, he was presented to James VI, who was charmed with his manner. He further recommended himself to the king's favour by giving him some poetic anagrams of his own composition on James's name in Latin, Italian, English, and French, together with a poetical composition in French entitled ‘Discours sur le mesme anagramme en forme de dialogue entre vn Zelateur du bien public, et une Dame laquelle represente le royaume d'Angleterre’ (Cal. State Papers, Scotland, 1509–1603, ii. 700). The good impression which Quin made was confirmed by his presenting the king, on New Year's day 1596, with an oration about his title to the English throne (ib. pp. 703–4). The Edinburgh printer, Waldegrave, refused, however, to print a book on the subject which Quin prepared in February 1598. He was at the time reported to be ‘answering Spenser's book [i.e. the fourth book of Edmund Spenser's ‘Faerie Queene,’ where the king's mother, Mary Queen of Scots, was denounced under the name of Duessa], whereat the king is offended’ (ib. p. 747).

Meanwhile Quin had been taken into the service of James VI as tutor to his sons, and he gave abundant proof of his loyalty by publishing, in 1600, ‘Sertum Poeticum in honorem Jacobi Sexti serenissimi ac potentissimi Scotorum Regis. A Gualtero Quinno Dubliniensi contextum,’ Edinburgh (by Robert Waldegrave), 1600, 4to (Edinb. Univ. Libr.). A copy was sent to Sir Robert Cecil by one of his agents in December 1600 (ib. p. 791). The volume consists of some of Quin's early anagrams on the king's names, of Latin odes and epigrams, and English sonnets, addressed either to members of the royal family or to frequenters of the court who interested themselves in literature. An extravagantly eulogistic sonnet on Sir William Alexander (afterwards Earl of Stirling) reappeared in the first edition of the latter's ‘Tragedie of Darius’ (1603). Some extracts from the rare volume are given in Laing's ‘Fugitive Scottish Poetry’ (1825). In 1604 Quin celebrated the marriage of his friend, Sir William Alexander, in a poem which remains unprinted among the Hawthornden MSS. at Edinburgh University (Archæologia Scotica, vol. iv.).

Quin migrated with the Scottish king to England in 1603 on his accession to the English throne, and was employed in the household of Prince Henry at a salary of 50l. a year (Birch, Life of Prince Henry, p. 51). He lamented the prince's death in 1612 in two sonnets, respectively in English and Italian, in Latin verse, and in some stanzas in French; these elegies were printed in Joshua Sylvester's ‘Lachrymæ Lachrymarum’ (1612), and the two in English and Latin were reissued in ‘Mausoleum’ (Edinburgh, by Andro Hart, 1613). In 1611 he contributed Italian verses ‘in lode del autore’ to Coryat's ‘Odcombian Banquet.’

Quin became, after Prince Henry's death, preceptor to his brother Charles. For Charles's use he compiled ‘Corona Virtutum principe dignarum ex varijs Philosophorum, Historicorum, Oratorum, et Poetarum floribus contexta et concinnata,’ with accounts of the lives and virtues of Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius (London, by John Bell, 1613, 12mo, Bodl.; another edit., 1617, Brit. Mus.); this was reissued at Leyden in 1634, and in Stephen de Melle's ‘Syntagma Philosophicum’ (Paris, 1670, v. 336–481). Eulogistic mention was made of Quin in John Dunbar's ‘Epigrammata’ (1616). A more ambitious literary venture followed in ‘The Memorie of the most worthy and renowned Bernard Stuart, Lord D'Aubigni, renewed. Whereunto are added Wishes presented to the Prince at his Creation. By Walter Quin, servant to his Highnesse,’ London, by George Purslow, 1619, 4to; dedicated to ‘the Prince my most gracious master’ (Bodleian). In the preface, Quin states that he had collected materials in French for a prose life of his hero, Sir Bernard Stuart, but they proved inadequate for his purpose. ‘A Short Collection of the most Notable Places of Histories’ in prose is appended, together with a series of poems, entitled ‘Wishes,’ and addressed to Prince Charles.

On Charles I's marriage in 1625 Quin published a congratulatory poem in four languages, Latin, English, French, and Italian. It bore the title ‘In Nuptiis Principum incomparabilium, Caroli Britannici Imperii Monarchæ … et Henriettæ Mariæ Gratulatio quadrilinguis,’ London, by G. Purslow, 1625 (Brit. Mus.), 4to. Ten Latin lines signed ‘Walt. O—Quin Armig.’ are prefixed to Sir Thomas Herbert's ‘Travels’ in 1634. Quin doubtless died soon afterwards. An undated petition, assigned to 1635, from Quin's son John describes both Quin and his wife as ancient servants of the royal family, and prays that the pension of 100l. a year granted to Quin may be continued during life to the petitioner (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1635–6, p. 2).

Another son, James Quin (1621–1659), born in Middlesex, obtained a scholarship at Westminster, and was elected to Christ Church, Oxford, in 1639. He graduated B.A. in 1642, and M.A. in 1646, and was elected a senior student. As an avowed royalist he was ejected from his studentship by the parliamentary visitors in 1648. Anthony à Wood, who was acquainted with him, often heard him ‘sing with great admiration.’ His voice was a bass, ‘the best in England, and he had great command of it … but he wanted skill, and could scarce sing in consort.’ He contrived to obtain an introduction to Cromwell, who was so delighted with his musical talent that, ‘after liquoring him with sack,’ he restored him to his place at Christ Church. But in 1651 he was reported to be ‘non compos.’ He died in October 1659, in a crazed condition, in his bedmaker's house in Penny Farthing Street, and was buried in the cathedral of Christ Church. He contributed to the Oxford University collections of Latin verse issued on the return of the king from Scotland in 1641, and on the peace with Holland in 1654 (Welsh, Alumni Westmonast. p. 114; Foster, Alumni; Wood, Life and Times, ed. Clark, i. 287; Burrows, Reg. Camden Soc. p. 489).

[Brydges's Restituta, i. 520, iii. 431; Collier's Bibliographical Cat.; Quin's Works.]

S. L.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.229
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
111 ii 21f.e. Quin, Walter: after Spencer's book insert [i.e. Edmund Spenser's 'Faerie Queene,' where the king's mother, Mary, Queen of Scots, was denounced under the name of Duessa]