Stanley, Thomas (1625-1678) (DNB00)

STANLEY, THOMAS (1625–1678), author, born at Cumberlow, Hertfordshire, in 1625, was only son of Sir Thomas Stanley, knt., of that place, and of Leytonstone, Essex, by his second wife, Mary, daughter of Sir William Hammond of St. Albans, near Dover (cf. Carter, Analysis of Honour, 1660; Visitation of Essex, 1634, Harl. Soc. p. 493). His father was grandson of Thomas Stanley, a natural son of Edward Stanley, third earl of Derby [q. v.] His mother's family brought him into lineal relations with many accomplished writers of verse. Her brother was William Hammond [q. v.], and through her grandmother, Elizabeth Aucher of Bishopsbourne, Kent, she was cousin to the poet Richard Lovelace [q. v.] William Fairfax, son of Edward Fairfax, the translator of Tasso, directed his early education in his father's house, and he soon became not merely an excellent classical scholar, but an enthusiastic student of French, Spanish, and Italian poetry. On 22 June 1639, at the age of thirteen, he entered Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, as a gentleman commoner (College Reg.), matriculating 13 Dec. He graduated M.A. in 1641, and is said to have joined the University of Oxford on 14 July 1640. An early and prosperous marriage did not interrupt his devotion to study. After some years spent in foreign travel (mainly in France), he retired, towards the close of the civil war, to lodgings in the Middle Temple, and engaged in literary work. He cultivated literary society, and his wealth enabled him to aid many less fortunate men of letters. His closest literary friends were Sir Edward Sherburne [q. v.], John Hall (1627–1656) [q. v.] of Durham, and James Shirley [q. v.], the dramatist, all of whom he relieved in their necessity. Sherburne dedicated to him his ‘Salmacis’ (1651). To him and Sherburne conjointly, Edward Phillips (1630–1696?) [q. v.] dedicated his ‘Theatrum Poetarum’ (1675). Hall dedicated to him as ‘his dearest friend’ his ‘Poems’ in 1646, and inserted in the volume three pieces addressed to his friend and patron. Other intimate associates were his mother's brother William Hammond [q. v.], and his cousins Richard Lovelace [q. v.] and Dudley Posthumus Lovelace, the latter's brother; Hammond and Richard Lovelace each wrote a poem in honour of his wedding, while another appeared in Jordan's ‘Forest of Fancie’ (cf. Gamble, Second Book of Ayres, 1659).

Stanley's linguistic faculty and lyric gifts were shown to advantage in his initial volume, ‘Poems’ by Thomas Stanley, esq., 1647, dedicated to Love. Many of the verses celebrate Chariessa, Celia, Doris, and other imaginary mistresses. Succeeding pieces eulogise Hammond, Shirley the dramatist, and Sir Edward Sherburne. Among the foreign writers, translations of whose verse were included in the volume, are Guarini, Marino, Tasso, Lope de Vega, and Petrarch. One poem (p. 42) is in the metre of Tennyson's ‘In Memoriam.’ There followed in 1649 another volume of translations, entitled ‘Europa: Cupid Crucified [by Ausonius]: Venus Vigils’ (London, by W. W., for Humphrey Moseley, 1649). At the same date there appeared in yet a third volume two translations in prose interspersed with verse: ‘Aurora, Ismenia, and the Prince,’ by Don Juan Perez de Montalvan, and ‘Oronta, the Cyprian Virgin,’ by Signor Girolamo Preti; a second edition, with additions, was dated 1650. Finally, in 1651, Stanley reissued, in a fourth volume, all his previously published verse, with the addition of his classical rendering of Anacreon's odes and other translations. This charming volume was divided into five sections, each introduced by a new title-page. It opens with the title ‘Poems, by Thomas Stanley, esq.: printed in the year 1651’—a reprint of the volume of 1647. The second title-page runs: ‘Anacreon; Bion; Moschus; Kisses by Johannes Secundus; Cupid Crucified by Ausonius; Venus' Vigil Incerto Authore.’ The third title-page introduces ‘Excitations,’ a learned appendix of notes, chiefly textual, on the preceding translations, which Stanley avers ‘were never further intended but as private exercises of the languages from which they are deduced.’ The fourth title-page runs: ‘Sylvia's Park, by Theophil; Acanthus Complaint by Tristran; Oronta by Preti; Echo by Marino; Love's Embassy by Boscan; The Solitude by Gongara.’ The fifth and last title-page introduces ‘A Platonick Discourse upon Love written in Italian by John Picus Mirandola in explanation of a Sonnet by Hieronimo Benivieni.’ To some copies is appended a sixth title-page, introducing the prose novel of Montalvan which had been already published with Preti's ‘Oronta’ in 1649 and 1650.

Stanley subsequently wrote verses which were set to music by John Gamble (d. 1687), and published by him in his ‘Ayres and Dialogues’ (1656). A commendatory poem by Richard Lovelace was there inscribed to ‘My noble kinsman, Thomas Stanley, esq., on his lyrick poems,’ and another poem by Dudley Lovelace, Richard's youngest brother, ‘to my much honoured cozen Mr. Stanley.’ A song by Stanley, ‘O turn away those cruel eyes,’ figures in ‘The Second Book of Ayres’ by Henry Lawes, 1665. In 1657 Stanley prepared for publication extracts from the Eikōn Basilikē under the title of ‘Psalterium Carolinum: the Devotions of his Sacred Majestie in his Solitude and Sufferings, rendered in Verse.’

Stanley's original poems and translations from the Latin and Greek were collected and edited by Sir Samuel Egerton Brydges in two volumes, published respectively in 1814 and 1815. His translations of ‘Venus' Vigil’ and Johannes Secundus's ‘Kisses’ were reissued in Bohn's ‘Classical Library.’ Stanley's translation of ‘Anacreon’ with the Greek text, was reprinted by Mr. A. H. Bullen in 1893.

But Stanley soon turned from poetry to a serious study of Greek philosophy. At the suggestion of Sir John Marsham [q. v.], the chronologer, who married his mother's sister, he produced his ‘History of Philosophy,’ of which the first volume appeared in 1655 (dedicated to Marsham), the second in 1656, a third in 1660, and a fourth, entitled ‘The History of Chaldaick Philosophy,’ in 1662. The work consisted of a long series of biographies, chiefly of the Greek philosophers from Thales to Carneades. The greater part was derived from Diogenes Laertius; but the analysis of the Platonic philosophy was from Alcinous, and the account of the Peripatetic system was derived directly from Aristotle. The doctrine of the Stoics was elaborately worked up from various authorities. Stanley on the whole brought a good deal from an almost untrodden field; but he was an historian rather than a critic of philosophy (Hallam). The compilation long ranked as a standard authority. It was republished in one volume in 1687 (3rd ed. 1700, and 4th ed. with memoir of author, 1743). Portions of the work were printed in French at Paris in 1660. Vols. i–iii. of the first edition were translated into Latin with additions, by Godfrey Olearius (Leipzig, 1711, 4to). Vol. iv. was rendered into Latin by John Le Clerc and issued at Amsterdam, with Le Clerc's notes and a dedication to Bishop Burnet (1690, 8vo); it reappeared in Le Clerc's ‘Opera Philosophica,’ vol. ii.

Stanley, after completing his ‘History of Philosophy,’ worked with no less success on an edition of Æschylus. This appeared in 1663 in folio with Latin translation and notes, and was dedicated to Sir Henry Newton [q. v.] The date 1664 appears in some copies. Stanley's edition of Æschylus was superior to any that had preceded it; it was long regarded at home and abroad as the standard edition, and remains ‘a great monument of critical learning.’ It was republished in De Pauw's edition (2 vols. 4to, 1745). The text and Latin translation reappeared at Glasgow in 1746, and the text was twice corrected by Porson, for reissue in 1795 and 1806 respectively. The Latin version was reissued separately in 1819. The whole edition was revised and enlarged (1809–16 in 4 vols.) by Samuel Butler (1774–1839) [q. v.], and elicited some adverse criticism from Charles James Blomfield [q. v.], who charged Stanley with borrowing at least three hundred of his many emendations of the text from notes which he had derived from Casaubon, Dorat, and Scaliger. A controversy followed on this and other points connected with Butler's revision of Stanley's text, and in it J. H. Monk, as well as Blomfield and Butler, took part (cf. Blomfield in Edinburgh Review, 1809, 1812, and in Museum Criticum, ii. 498; Monk's letter to the Rev. S. Butler; Quarterly Review, 1821). Stanley's reputation was not appreciably injured.

Stanley died at his lodgings in Suffolk Street, Strand, on 12 April 1678, and was buried in the church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. His wife Dorothy was daughter and coheiress of Sir James Enyon, baronet, of Flower, Northamptonshire. By her he had a son Thomas, born in 1650, who was admitted a fellow-commoner at Pembroke College, Cambridge, on 6 April 1665, and published in the same year a translation of ‘Claudius Ælianus Various Histories,’ London, 1665, 8vo; this was dedicated, like his father's edition of Æschylus, to Sir Henry (Puckering) Newton [q. v.] Sir Edward Sherburne prefixed verses.

Stanley's genuine literary gifts and his versatile employment of them procured him a wide contemporary reputation. Winstanley calls him ‘the glory and admiration of his time.’ Pope invariably spoke of him with respect (Spence, Anecdotes, p. 198). William Wotton [q. v.] eulogised him at the end of his edition of Scævola St. Marthe's ‘Elogia Gallorum’ (1722). His classical scholarship was of a high order. His translation of ‘Anacreon’ satisfies almost every requirement. It is as agreeable reading as the version of Thomas Moore, and adheres far more closely to the original.

Stanley left in manuscript many volumes of notes on classical authors, which were acquired by Bishop Moore, and are now in the University Library at Cambridge. These include eight folio volumes of ‘Commentaries on Æschylus;’ adversaria on passages in Sophocles, Euripides, Callimachus, Hesychius, Juvenal, Persius, and others; prelections in Theophrastus's characters, and an essay on the first-fruits and tenths of the spoil said in the Epistle to the Hebrews to have been given by Abraham to Melchisedek. He obviously was especially interested in Callimachus. In the British Museum there is a copy of Callimachus's ‘Cyrenæi Hymni’ (1577), with manuscript notes by Stanley. Bentley was accused of using without acknowledgment Stanley's comments on Callimachus (see A Short Account of Dr. Bentley's Humanity and Justice to those Authors who have written before him, with an honest Vindication of Thomas Stanley, Esq., and his Notes on Callimachos, London, 1699, 8vo; addressed to Boyle).

Stanley's portrait, painted by Sir Peter Lely, is in the National Portrait Gallery; an engraving by William Faithorne forms the frontispiece of the ‘History of Philosophy.’

[Sir S. E. Brydges's Memoir prefixed to his reprint of Stanley's Poems and Translations in 1814; Memoir prefixed to Stanley's History of Philosophy, 1743; Anacreon, with Thomas Stanley's translation edited by Mr. A. H. Bullen, 1893; Park's British Bibliographer, iii. 360 seq.; Lovelace's Poems, ed. W. C. Hazlitt, pp. 227, 247; Hallam's Literature of Europe, iii. 250, 304; Wood's Fasti; Notes and Queries, 9th ser. ii. 122.]

S. L.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.257
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
79 i 15 Stanley, Thomas (1625-1678): for was incorporated in the same degree at read is said to have joined the university of
80 ii 15 for Enyon read Engan