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Arthur Golding

Arthur Golding (c. 1536 - c. 1605) was an English translator.

He was the son of John Golding of Belchamp St Paul and Halsted, Essex, an auditor of the Exchequer[?], and was born probably in London. His half-sister, Margaret, married John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford. By 1549 Arthur was in the service of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, then Lord Protector. The statement that he was educated at Queen's College, Cambridge[?], lacks corroboration. He seems to have resided for some time in the house of William Cecil, Lord Burghley, in The Strand[?], with his nephew, the poet, the 17th Earl of Oxford, whose receiver he was, for two of his dedications are dated from Cecil House.

His chief work is his translation of Ovid. The Fyrst Fower Bookes of P. Ovidius Nasos worke, entitled Metamorphosis, translated oute of Latin into Englishe meter (1565), was supplemented in 1567 by a translation of the fifteen books. Strangely enough the translator of Ovid was a man of strong Puritan sympathies, and he translated many of the works of Calvin. To his version of the Metamorphoses he prefixed a long metrical explanation of his reasons for considering it a work of edification. He sets forth the moral which he supposes to underlie certain of the stories, and shows how the pagan machinery may be brought into line with Christian thought.

It was from Golding's pages that many of the Elizabethans drew their knowledge of classical mythology, and there is little doubt that William Shakespeare was well acquainted with the book. Golding translated also the Commentaries of Caesar (1565), Calvin's commentaries on the Psalms (1571), his sermons on the Galatians and Ephesians, on Deuteronomy and the book of Job, Theodore Beza's Tragedie of Abrahams Sacrifice (1577) and the De Beneficiis of Seneca (1578).

He completed a translation begun by Sir Philip Sidney from Philippe de Mornay, A Worke concerning the Trewnesse of the Christian Religion (1604). His only original work is 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. The last trace we have of Golding is contained in an order dated July 25, 1605, giving him licence to print certain of his works.


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