Arthur Golding

Arthur Golding (c. 1536 – May 1606) was an English translator of more than 30 works from Latin into English. While primarily remembered today for his translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses because of its influence on William Shakespeare's works, in his own time he was most famous for his translation of Caesar's Commentaries, and his translations of the sermons of John Calvin were important in spreading the doctrines of the Protestant Reformation.

Ovid Golding translation 1593
Title page of The XV. Bookes of P. Ouidius Naso: Entituled, Metamorphosis. Translated out of Latin into English meeter by Arthvr Golding was first printed in 1567 and was reprinted five times by 1603. This title page is from the 1593 edition printed by John Danter.

Biography

Arthur Golding was born in East Anglia, before 25 May 1535/36, the second son of John Golding of Belchamp St Paul and Halstead, Essex, an auditor of the Exchequer, and his second wife, Ursula (d. c. 1564), daughter and co-heir of William Merston of Horton in Surrey, in a family of eleven children (four from John Golding's first wife, Elizabeth). In the 15th and 16th centuries, the Golding family had prospered in the cloth trade, and by marrying heiresses had become fairly wealthy and respectable by the time of Arthur's birth, probably in London.[1] When Golding was 11, his father died. In 1548 his half-sister Margery, by John's first wife, became the second wife of John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford, and by 1552 his brother Henry was steward for his brother-in-law's household. Another sister Dorothy married Edmund Docwra and was mother of the soldier and statesman Henry Docwra, 1st Baron Docwra of Culmore.

By 1549 Arthur was in the service of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, then Lord Protector. He matriculated as a fellow commoner at Jesus College, Cambridge in 1552.[2] Henry was elected to Parliament in 1558, probably because of Oxford's influence, and from the later 1550s Arthur worked on a translation of Pompeius Trogus that he planned to dedicate to Oxford. But Oxford died in August 1562, and his son Edward, the 17th earl, became a ward in the house of William Cecil, Lord Burghley, in The Strand. Cecil appears to have employed Golding as his nephew's receiver for several years, for two of his dedications are dated from Cecil House,[3] and in 1567 he dated a dedication from Barwicke, one of the de Vere manors near White Colne, Essex.

Golding married Usula (d. 1610), daughter of John Roydon of Chilham, Kent, sometime before 1575. They had eight children. The death in 1576 of an older brother, Henry, left him with some property, but it was heavily encumbered with debt and litigation with the heirs of his brother's widow proved expensive. Golding borrowed heavily in the 1580s and was in debtors' prison in the early 1590s. He died in May 1606 and was buried on 13 May at St Andrew's Church, Belchamp St Paul.[4]

Arthur Golding memorial
Memorial to Arthur Golding in St Andrew's Church, Belchamp St Paul

Translation of Ovid

Golding is remembered chiefly for his translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses. The first edition appeared in 1567 and was the first to be translated directly from Latin into English. A revised edition appeared in 1575 and there were further editions in 1587, 1603 and 1612.[5] Many other translations followed, including George Sandys's (1621) and Samuel Garth's (1717).[6] Golding's translation, however, was read by Shakespeare and Spenser and "conveys a spirited Ovid with all his range of emotion and diversity of plot".[7] Golding represents the stories he translates in a vivid way, "delivering every twist and turn in as whole-hearted a manner as possible".[7] His translations are clear, faithful and fluent, as seen in this excerpt where Ovid compares blood gushing from Pyramus' wound to water bursting from a pipe:[8]

And when he had bewept and kist the garment which he knew,
Receyve thou my bloud too (quoth he) and therewithal he drew
His sworde, the which among his guttes he thrust, and by and by
Did draw it from the bleeding wound beginning for to die,
And cast himself upon his backe, the bloud did spin on hie
As when a Conduite pipe is crackt, the water bursting out
Doth shote it selfe a great way off and pierce the Ayre about.[9] (4.143–9)

Written in rhyming couplets of iambic heptameter (fourteeners), the book's full title was The Fyrst Fower Bookes of P. Ovidius Nasos Worke, Entitled Metamorphosis, Translated Oute of Latin into Englishe Meter (1565). In 1567 Golding completed all fifteen books of Ovid's poem. The influence of this book and ultimately its translation did not go unnoticed and was influential to many great writers. Its influence has been detected in Spenser's Faerie Queene, in John Studley's translations of Seneca, in Christopher Marlowe's Tamburlaine and Edward II, and many more. Even William Shakespeare knew of Golding's Ovid and recalls it in a number of his plays. However, Shakespeare did have knowledge of versions other than Golding's—for instance, a passage in Shakespeare's The Tempest seems to have a closer resemblance to the original Latin text than to Golding's English version.[6] Golding's translation, though, is without any question the most influential version on Shakespeare, and Shakespeare's use of it has become an important part of the history of the translation itself. As a man of strong Puritan sympathies,[3] he intended the work to be read as a moral allegory, and a verse on the title page cautioned the reader that:

With skill heede and judgment thys work must bee red
For else to the reader it stands in small stead.

He prefixed a long metrical explanation of his reasons for considering it a work of edification, in which he asked his readers to look past the heretical content of the pagan poem, set forth the morals which he supposed to underlie the stories, and attempted to show how the pagan machinery might be brought into line with Christian thought.[10]

It was from Golding's pages that many of the Elizabethans drew their knowledge of classical mythology.[10] In his ABC of Reading the poet Ezra Pound reproduced passages of the translation, noting: "Though it is the most beautiful book in the English language, I am not citing it for its decorative purposes but its narrative quality."[11]

Other translations

Most of Golding's work consists of prose translations that were from Latin and French texts. A Calvinist, he translated contemporary Protestant leaders: Heinrich Bullinger, William, Prince of Orange, Theodore de Beze, and Philippe de Mornay.[12] He translated also Leonardo Bruni's History of the War Against the Goths, Froissart's Chronicles in Sleidan's epitome, and Aesop's fables.[12] Further translations were: the Commentaries of Caesar (1563, 1565, 1590), the history of Junianus Justinus (1564), the theological writings of Niels Hemmingsen (1569) and David Chytraeus (1570), Theodore Beza's Tragedie of Abrahams Sacrifice (1575), the De Beneficiis of Seneca the Younger (1578), the geography of Pomponius Mela (1585), the Polyhistor of Gaius Julius Solinus (1587), Calvin's commentaries on the Psalms (1571), his sermons on the Galatians and Ephesians, on Deuteronomy and the Book of Job.[10]

Golding was given the job of completing John Brende's translation of Caesar's Gallic War when Brende died. Sir William Cecil passed the manuscript to Golding for completion sometime between Brende's death in 1560 or 1561 (the exact year he died is not certain) and 1564. At same time Golding was working on the first four books of Ovid's Metamorphosis, which he finished in December 1564. He completed a translation begun by Philip Sidney from Philippe de Mornay, A Worke concerning the Trewnesse of the Christian Religion (1604).

He produced few original works. One was the account of a murder in 1577 and another of a prose Discourse on the earthquake of 1580, in which he saw a judgment of God on the wickedness of his time. He inherited three considerable estates in Essex, the greater part of which he sold in 1595.[13] The last record of Golding in an order dated 25 July 1605, giving him license to print some of his works.[10]

Golding, in translation of The sermons of J. Calvin upon Deuteronomie, has the first known recorded instance of the idiom: "neither here nor there."

Over the course of his lifetime, Golding translated up to 5.5 million words.[12]

Legacy

Golding's "puritan cast of mind" [13] is an important aspect of his writing. During his time it was more uncommon to translate works that reflect pagan society, such as works by Ovid. Golding, however, did not allow conformity to sway his work. Ovid's Metamorphosis, for example, does not mention Christian symbols; in fact it was written before Christ's time. What makes Arthur Golding an influential and important character to study is his desire to pull Christian symbolism from the text and write in such a way as to make the work accessible to his peers. Undoubtedly, Golding spent time translating works by Calvin that would further his reputation as a decent Puritan,[13] but by challenging the authority that condemns so called "pagan" texts such as The Metamorphoses, Golding forged a path for subsequent writers. Golding's influence upon Shakespeare's knowledge of Ovid cannot be diminished. Without Golding's translation, common knowledge of the ancient text would not have been understood in the same clear light. In essence, Golding's contribution to English literature was his translation of the Metamorphosis because not only does he create an accessible work for many to understand, but he also translates in such a way as to infuse the work with Christian theology.

Notes

  1. ^ Considine, John. "Golding, Arthur". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/10908. |access-date= requires |url= (help) (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ "Golding, Arthur (GLDN552A)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. The statement that he was educated at Queens' College, Cambridge, lacks corroboration.
  3. ^ a b Chisholm 1911.
  4. ^ Considine 2004
  5. ^ "Full text of "Shakespeare's Ovid : being Arthur Golding's translation of the Metamorphoses"". Archive.org. Retrieved 2013-11-12.
  6. ^ a b "Golding, Arthur." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 8th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1973. 75-77. Print.
  7. ^ a b The Cambridge Companion to Ovid. Ed. Philipe Hardie. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Print.
  8. ^ "Golding, Arthur." The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 7th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. 424. Print.
  9. ^ Ovid. The Fyrst Fower Bookes of P. Ovidius Nasos Worke, Entitled Metamorphosis, Translated Oute of Latin into Englishe Meter. Trans. Arthur Golding. Ed. J.M. Cohen. London: Willyam Seres, 1567. Print.
  10. ^ a b c d Wikisource Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Golding, Arthur" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 12 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 212.
  11. ^ Pound 1934, p. 127.
  12. ^ a b c Wortham, James. "Arthur Golding and the Translation of Prose." Literary Criticism from 1400 to 1800. Aug. 1949. 339-37. Gale Literature Resource Center. Web. 28 February 2012.
  13. ^ a b c "Golding, Arthur." The Cambridge Guide To English Literature. 3rd ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006 444-45. Print.

References

  • Considine, John. "Golding, Arthur (1535/6–1606)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, accessed 13 Oct 2010.
  • "Golding, Arthur." Oxford Dictionary Of National Biography. 8th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1973. 75-77. Print.
  • "Golding, Arthur." The Oxford Companion To English Literature. 7th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. 424. Print.
  • "Golding, Arthur." The Cambridge Guide To English Literature. 3rd ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006 444-45. Print.
  • Ovid. The Fyrst Fower Bookes of P. Ovidius Nasos worke, entitled Metamorphosis, translated oute of Latin into Englishe meter. Ed. J.M. Cohen. Trans. Arthur Golding. London: Willyam Seres, 1567. Print.
  • Pound, Ezra. ABC of Reading (1934) New Directions (reprint). ISBN 0-8112-1893-7
  • The Cambridge Companion To Ovid. Ed. Philipe Hardie. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Print.
  • Wortham, James. "Arthur Golding and the Translation of Prose." Literary Criticism from 1400 to 1800. Aug. 1949. 339-37. Gale Literature Resource Center. Web. 28 February 2012.

External links

1535 in poetry

Nationality words link to articles with information on the nation's poetry or literature (for instance, Irish or France).

1565 in poetry

Nationality words link to articles with information on the nation's poetry or literature (for instance, Irish or France).

1567 in poetry

Nationality words link to articles with information on the nation's poetry or literature (for instance, Irish or France).

1577 in literature

This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1577.

1606 in literature

This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1606.

1606 in poetry

Nationality words link to articles with information on the nation's poetry or literature (for instance, Irish or France).

Alcmene

In Greek mythology, Alcmene () or Alcmena (; Ancient Greek: Ἀλκμήνη or Doric: Ἀλκμάνα, Latin: Alcumena means "strong in wrath") was the wife of Amphitryon by whom she bore two children, Iphicles and Laonome. She is, however, better known as the mother of Heracles whose father was the god Zeus. Alcmene was also called Electryone (Ἠλεκτρυώνην), a patronymic name as a daughter of Electryon.

Belchamp St Paul

Belchamp St Paul is a village and civil parish in the Braintree distirct of Essex, England.

The village is approximately 5 miles (8 km) west from Sudbury, Suffolk and 23 miles (37 km) north-northeast from the county town of Chelmsford.

The parish is northwest of the adjoining parishes of Belchamp Otten and Belchamp Walter, is in the parliamentary constituency of Braintree, and is part of the Stour Valley North parish cluster. It had a population of 331 (2011 census). The parish includes the hamlet of Knowl Green.

Arthur Golding, the 16th-century poet, grew up at the manor and is buried in the churchyard of St Andrew's; a memorial to him is within the church. General Sir Timothy Creasey KCB OBE, a British Army officer who became General Officer Commanding of the British Army in Northern Ireland, and the commander of the Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces, is buried in the churchyard.

The Half Moon public house was the location for a number of pub scenes in the BBC drama series Lovejoy.Belchamp St Paul is the scene of the climax of M.R. James' ghost story Count Magnus.

De Beneficiis

De Beneficiis (English: On Benefits) is a first-century work by Seneca the Younger. It forms part of a series of moral essays (or "Dialogues") composed by Seneca. De Beneficiis concerns the award and reception of gifts and favours within society, and examines the complex nature and role of gratitude within the context of Stoic ethics.

Fourteener (poetry)

In poetry, a fourteener is a line consisting of 14 syllables, which are usually made of seven iambic feet for which the style is also called iambic heptameter. It is most commonly found in English poetry produced in the 16th and 17th centuries. Fourteeners often appear as rhymed couplets, in which case they may be seen as ballad stanza or common metre hymn quatrains in two rather than four lines.

The term may also be used as a synonym for quatorzain, a 14-line poem, such as a sonnet.

Golding

Golding is an English surname.

Margery Golding

Margery Golding, Countess of Oxford (c. 1526 – 2 December 1568) was the second wife of John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford, the mother of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, and the half-sister of Arthur Golding, the English translator.

Mary de Vere

Mary de Vere (died c. 24 June 1624), whose married names were Bertie and Hart, was a noblewoman of the sixteenth century.

Peter Scupham

Peter Scupham (born 24 February 1933) is a British poet.

Pomponius Mela

Pomponius Mela, who wrote around AD 43, was the earliest Roman geographer. He was born in Tingentera (now Algeciras) and died c. AD 45.His short work (De situ orbis libri III.) remained in use nearly to the year 1500. It occupies less than one hundred pages of ordinary print, and is described by the Encyclopædia Britannica (1911) as "dry in style and deficient in method, but of pure Latinity, and occasionally relieved by pleasing word-pictures." Except for the geographical parts of Pliny's Historia naturalis (where Mela is cited as an important authority), the De situ orbis is the only formal treatise on the subject in Classical Latin.

Sandy Kenyon

Sandy Kenyon (born Sanford Klein, August 5, 1922 – February 20, 2010) was an American voice-over artist and character actor of film and television. He is perhaps best known for voicing Jon Arbuckle in the first Garfield animated television special, Here Comes Garfield.

The Elm and the Vine

The Elm and the Vine were associated particularly by Latin authors. Because pruned elm trees acted as vine supports, this was taken as a symbol of marriage and imagery connected with their pairing also became common in Renaissance literature. Various fables were created out of their association in both Classical and later times. Although Aesop was not credited with these formerly, later fables hint at his authorship.

Tmolus

For the butterfly genus, see Tmolus (butterfly).

Tmolus (Ancient Greek: Τμῶλος, Tmōlos) was a King of Lydia and husband to Omphale. Mount Tmolus (modern Bozdağ) is named for him. It lies in Lydia with the Lydian capital Sardis at its foot and Hypaepa on its southern slope. In Greek mythology he figures as a mountain god, a son of Ares and Theogone and he judged the musical contest between Pan and Apollo.

When Tmolus was gored to death by a bull on the mountain that bears his name, his widow, Omphale, became Queen-regnant of Lydia. Through her, Lydian reign passed into the hands of the Tylonid (Heraclid) dynasty.

The geography of Tmolus and the contest between Pan and Apollo are mentioned in Ovid's Metamorphoses, XI.168.

He is perhaps the Tmolus who, according to a scholion to Euripides Orestes 5, was the father of Tantalus by Plouto.

Workers in the Dawn

Workers in the Dawn is a novel by George Gissing, which was originally published in three volumes in 1880. It was the first of Gissing's published novels, although he had been working on another prior to this. The work focuses on the unhappy marriage of Arthur Golding, a rising artist from a poor background, and Carrie Mitchell, a prostitute. This plot was partly based on Gissing's negative experiences of marriage to his first wife. It also was designed to serve the function of political polemic, highlighting social issues that Gissing felt strongly about. Reviews of the novel generally recognised some potential in the author, but were critical of Workers in the Dawn. After reading the first known published review in the Athenaeum, Gissing was driven to describe critics as "unprincipled vagabonds".

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