Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The Late Learned John Oxlee

The Late Learned John Oxlee.

OXLEE, we wonder how a single brain,
During the few short years of life allow’d
For man to study here, could ever crowd
So much of learning there: or how to sustain
The load of languages when it was got. 5
Pliny, with wonder, told the Pontus’ king,
In twenty-two lands languages conversing;
Both Mithradates as well-nigh forgot;
Our Cleveland Walton’s name is dim by thine:
What was Bologna’s Cardinal to thee, 10
Who knew more books than other linguists see?*
Thy name o’er Mezzofanti’s e’en shall shine;
And, as the love of learning grows ’mongst men,
Thy fame it will increase beyond all mortal ken.
[Also Sonnet No. 5 in Cleveland Sonnets, Fifth Series Tractates
No. 38]
The above Sonnet originally appeared in the (London) Masonic
Magazine, edited by the late Rev. A. F. A. Woodford, M. A.,
Rector of Swillington, near Leeds, from 1847 to 1872, Past
Grand Chaplain to the Grand Lodge of England, and one of the
most sterling Freemasons I ever met: and the following
Footnote accompanied it:—“I have already noticed in the
Masonic Magazine the splendid library of this learned divine,
now in the possession of his son, my dear friend, the Rector of
Cowesby, in the North Riding of Yorkshire: a library too
valuable ever to be dispersed, and which ought to be secured
for the nation”

George Markham Tweddell


From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Oxlee (Where you can Read more)

John Oxlee, son of a well-to-do farmer in Yorkshire, was born at Guisborough in Cleveland, Yorkshire, on 25 September 1779, and was educated at Sunderland. After devoting himself to business for a short time he studied mathematics and Latin, and made such rapid progress in Latin that in 1842 Dr. Vicesimus Knox appointed him second master at Tunbridge grammar school. While at Tunbridge he lost, through inflammation, the use of an eye, yet commenced studying Hebrew, Chaldee, and Syriac.

In 1805 he was ordained to the curacy of Egton, near Whitby. In 1811 he removed to the curacy of Stonegrave, from 1815 to 1826 he held the rectory of Scawton, and in 1836 the archbishop of York presented him to the rectory of Molesworth in Huntingdonshire.

Oxlee's power of acquiring languages, considering that he was self-educated, has rarely been excelled. He obtained a knowledge more or less extensive of 120 languages and dialects. In prosecuting his studies he was often obliged to form his own grammar and dictionary. He left among his numerous unpublished writings a work entitled "One hundred and more Vocabularies of such Words as form the Stamina of Human Speech, commencing with the Hungarian and terminating with the Yoruba", 1837–40. A large portion of his time he spent in making himself thoroughly conversant with the Hebrew law and in studying the Talmud. His only recreation was pedestrian exercise, and he at times walked fifty miles to procure a book in Hebrew or other oriental language. He was a contributor to the Anti-Jacobin Review, Valpy's Classical Journal, the Christian Remembrancer, the Voice of Jacob, the Voice of Israel, the Jewish Chronicle, the Jewish Repository, the Yorkshireman, and Sermons for Sundays and Festivals.

He died at Molesworth rectory on 30 January 1854, leaving two children by his wife, a daughter of John R. A. Worsop of Howden Hall, Yorkshire: John Oxlee (d. 1892), vicar of Over Silton 1848, rector of Cowesby 1863 (both in Yorkshire), and an unmarried daughter, Mary Anna Oxlee.

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